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Tantra is misunderstood and exploited both East and West. In the East it is at times misunderstood as black magick by the uneducated and superstitious, and in the West it is exploited due to ignorance and greed as sexual therapy (?$) and a mean to better orgasms.

The aim of Tantra is none of these things. Tantra is derived from two Sanskrit words - Tanoti, meaning to expand, and Trayate, meaning to liberate. Tantra is the ancient art and science of expanding and liberating consciousness through soliciting Shakti, the Primal Energy of the Universe.

The Universal aspect of Shakti is the power of creation, animation and evolution while the personal aspect of Shakti resides in the Kundalini Force which when awakened rises upon the Planes of Consciousness known as the Chakras to unite in Holy Matrimony with Her Divine, indivisible and integral counterpart Shiva residing in Mt Kailash (Sahasrara Chakra). This experience is called Self-realization, Cosmic Consciousness and God-realization.

Tantra, conversely to most other methodologies/processes, accepts the individual seeker as she/he is. It asks us to be loose and natural in order to be open to the mysteries of the Universe and of existence itself. Tantra sacrifices thinking for feeling and doing for being in order to facilitate the experience/existential state of ultimate universal unity.

Taking into consideration the different personality types and levels of realization within each individual, Tantra has prescribed different stages for the Spiritual Aspirant. These are called Acharas and are seven in number.

The seven modes of practice or Achara are:

1. Vedachara: this step is following the path explained in the Vedas. Its focus is on strengthening the Dharma of the individual and of the society by following a strict mode of conduct.

2. Vaishnavachara: this step is centered on Lord Vishnu and the Path of Devotion, Bhakti. Its focus is on surrender to the Divine.

3. Shaivachara: in this step, Lord Shiva is considered the presiding Deity. It involves the union of devotion and strong inner determination opening up to the Path of Knowledge (Raj Yoga / Sankhya) and the perception of Shiva as the Indwelling Self.

4. Dakshinachara: for this step, Dakshinakali (right foot on Shiva's chest) is the presiding Deity. It is the path of those who are accomplished in concentration (Dharana) and meditation (Dhyana) whose focused attention is on Sat Cit Ananda Brahma.

5. Vamachara: in this Sadhana, Kali MA (left foot on Shiva's chest) is worshiped. The aim is to liberate one from the bonds of Samsara. It is here that the reversal of the Shakti Force takes place from down and out to in and upward where male practitioners consider themselves Bhairava and female practitioners Bhairavi.

6. Siddhantachara: in this step, the Spiritual Aspirant is no longer involved in external rituals, time and energy are instead devoted to inner contemplation and realization. This step contains both Aghorachara and Yogachara. Aghora means not terrible and designates a person who is constantly living in higher realms of consciousness. The phenomenal world has turned to ashes and one becomes like Shiva. Yoga is the Tantra tool to perfect oneself through its eight limbs.

7. Kaulachara: In this last step, all attention is focused on the Kundalini Shakti which is also called Kula Kundalini. Through devotion to the Divine Mother, all can be attained. It is the full experience of Mukti and Bhukti, Liberation and Enjoyment where Samsara becomes Nirvana.

"Veda is superior to all; Vaihnava is superior to Veda; Shaiva is superior to Vaishnava; Dakshina is superior to Shaiva; Vama is superior to Dakshina; Siddhanta is superior to Vama; Kaula is superior to Siddhanta; and there is nothing superior to Kaula". Kularnava Tantra, Ullasha 2, Verses 7,8

Baba Yogi Kalinath has practiced and been initiated in all seven Acharas.

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