Veda & Tantra
Broadly speaking there are two ancient traditions in India , both of which are independent as well as inter-mixed at times- the Tantric and the Vedic. Though later Tantric writers made deliberate attempts to base their doctrines on the Vedas, certain orthodox sections within the Vedic tradition emphasize the anti-vedic character of the Tantras. Historically both the paths seem to converge at certain times when it is recognized that they are the same, giving rise to statements that the Veda and Tantra are very much the same or that the teachings of tantra are vedic at heart. But it cannot be denied that during the periods of divergence, the tantric path seems to have been at divergence so much that certain i deas and practices of tantra come across as not merely non-vedic, but anti-vedic in nature. In addition to these two traditions there is a third source which is also a tradition in one sense- the Puranic tradition or Mythological tradition. While it is not exactly an independent tradition it deals with the same ideas as propounded by the vedic and tantric traditions but predominantly employs the language of myth and metaphor. There are two versions in vogue about the antiquity of these traditions. According to the first version, the three traditions - the Vedic, Puranic and Tantric/Agamic - are equally old and co-existent. It is just that they reveal Truth in various ways. The other version prevalent is that the Vedic tradition is the oldest followed by the Purnaic. Whatever may be the case, one thing is certain. Historically ancient wisdom seems to have been through various phases with each phase adopting/emphasizing one of the three traditions predominantly. In other words the Veda, the Purana and Tantra rose to popularity during various periods historically. For more on these traditions see my article 'Jyotisha through the ages'. The articles in this section explore various facets of vedic, tantric and puranic paths sometimes from an academic perspective and at other times through a practitioner's perspective. The subjective narrative style of the practitioner ( sadhaka ) has been employed at some places in order to give the reader a taste of the living wisdom as it is experienced by the practitioner.