Kashmir, where Shavite Tantrism was practiced was not too far from Swat, the area where another tantric, Padmasambhava lived before going into Tibet.
One can find an article about Swat and Padmasambhava and the regions Buddhist history in Alice Albinia's book, Empires of the Indus
. Albinia noted that Swat had a spooky reputation in the old days, precisely because it was an area where ritual tantra was practiced. And this was where Padmasambhava came from. After Padmasambhava became famous in Tibet, pilgrims visited Swat, looking for ways to honor him, and the locals, seeing tourist potential, created alleged sites where Buddha had visited, and were Padmasambhava had lived. ( In the US, we like to claim connections with celebrities - same process)
Now, lets look at Hindu Kashmiri Shaivism, as represented by Abvinagupta and brought, disastrously, to the US by Swami Muktananda. We can read this and those who have been studying the TB situation can see whether there are any similarities.
We need to keep in mind that what made early Buddhism revolutionary was its teachings that ritual had no use in gaining liberation from delusion and suffering.
And that caste meant nothing, that what mattered was virtue. A Brahmin could be a fool and a brute, a poor person could be kind and honorable. That was what mattered, sila - ethics, not caste.
Sarah Caldwell had been a disciple of Muktananda. In her article, The Heart of the Secret, a Personal and Scholarly Approach to Tantra she writes about vajroli mudra - with holding semen, a central part of the Kashmiri Shaivite tantric ritual and also comsidered necessary by Vajrayana practitioners.
She was shocked because in his early teachings Muktananda had put the emphasis on chastity/celibacy and had kept his tantric commitment secret.
A footnote to thepublished talk, which appeared in the October 1982 issue of the ashrampublication, the Siddha Path
, (along with the eerie announcement thatBaba had “taken mahasamadhi
,” i.e., died, on 2 October), informs usthat “[t]his is known in the scriptures as mahavajroli mudra—an esoteric yoga technique by which an accomplished yogi reabsorbs his seminalfluid, after emission.”17 I had already learned about vajroli mudra
fromconsulting my book on Abhinavagupta. Amazed, I had read about thedetails of the practice of withholding semen by the male practitioner ofthe Kaula sexual rite.
yoga technique by which an accomplished yogi reabsorbs his seminalfluid, after emission.”17 I had already learned about vajroli mudra fromconsulting my book on Abhinavagupta.
Amazed, I had read about thedetails of the practice of withholding semen by the male practitioner ofthe Kaula sexual rite. Mr. Yande’s talk, delivered less than two monthsbefore Baba’s death, seemed a thinly veiled admission, a challenge. Babaseemed to have thrown caution to the winds, to be urging us to seethings differently than we ever had before, and was laughing all thetime. The sense of secrecy, mystery, and evanescent inner circles ofwhich I could never quite be a part, utterly captivated and maddenedme. I wanted to know.No doubt one reason for the complexity of my response to theseevents was my own troubled sexual background. Just prior to joiningthe ashram, I had suffered serious psychological distress due to a seriesof abusive incestuous contacts with male family members that had cul-minated in my leaving Yale University suddenly in my sophomore year.In the ashram, with its perfectly predictable, regulated routines, puri-tanical codes of behavior, and celibate safety, I could concentrate myintense emotions into the love of a remote, brilliant, elderly guru, andthe icy, inaccessible mystico-erotic deity, Shiva, for whom I developed aperfect passion.
After five years of celibacy in my early twenties, I foundthat my erotic imagination was beginning to get the best of me. With guru bhakti
(intense devotion) held up as a model for my inner life,combined with the practice of self-discipline and physical restraint, sexdid indeed seem to hold some extraordinary taboo power.
(Then Sarah Caldwell tells us this of herself.)
My back-ground of sexual abuse, which I certainly could not have recognized or named at that time, added dimensions of fear, mistrust, and denial to the heady mix.
The discovery of the “left-handed” sexual practices ofKaula Tantrism through the Abhinavagupta volume held out a new pathfrom any I had yet seen. The sublime passages describing the ecstatic,brilliant bliss of realization that were the real goal of such rituals seemedto redeem sex as I had known it.
The promise of transforming thisugliness into something liberating and transcendent was too enticing. Iwas hooked on Shakta Tantra.
Before my fantasies of participating in the secret rituals could go toofar, however, I happened upon an important passage which outlinedthe qualifications necessary for its performance:
Only those great souls—who have grasped the Ultimate…who haveattained such a perfection in the Råjayoga…that they can detach their minds, at any stage, from the most stimulating sensuous situation and can, by sheer force of will…be at one with the Highest Subject—arerecognised to be qualified for the performance of the secret Kaula ritual….18
Corboy note: There are some problems.
First, how many persons are actually qualified to be 'great souls'. If you have already 'grasped the Ultimate' - why would tantrism remain a necessary additional step?
Two ( I speak as an unevolved peasant here), wouldnt it be a creepy and chilling experience to be sexually conjugated to someone who isnt even there for you during the act?
Is'nt even there for you because he's able to 'detach his mind, at any stage, from the most stimulating, sensous situation, and can by sheer force of will by at one with the Highest Subject"??
Caldwell quotes a commentary on a portrait painting Abvinagupta an important teacher of Kashmiri Shaivite tantrism
it presents him as a typical follower of the Kula system…. [T]he char-acteristic feature of…Kaulism is that it denies antagonism between sen-suous joy and spiritual bliss (Ånanda); recognises the former to be ameans to the latter; and emphatically asserts that it is meant for the few,who are highly proficient in the Råja-Yoga as distinct from the Ha†ha-Yoga, who have such control over the mind that they can withdraw itfrom the stimulating object even at a time when it is being enjoyed most….8
But as I started to read further in the thick red volume aboutAbhinavagupta and the Kaula practices, I was taken aback. Sitting in mydorm room in the Ganeshpuri ashram in India, in the hour of sultryafternoon stillness between morning and afternoon work sessions chop-ping vegetables in the kitchen, I eagerly fingered page after pagedescribing in detail the secret sexual rites of the Kaula Tantra, the drink-ing of wine, eating of meat, and sexual intercourse. Since joining theashram tour in 1978 in Oakland, California, at the ripe age of 21, I hadcompletely and enthusiastically abandoned such pleasures, as Baba hadinstructed us to do.
Baba’s book, Ashram Dharma, which was distributedto every newcomer to the Ganeshpuri ashram, clearly described whatwas proscribed: sex, drugs, meat, liquor, gossip.
I had been celibate forfive years, living in separate quarters from my husband in the ashram, amajor factor in the eventual dissolution of my marriage (performed byBaba in 1979 in South Fallsburg). In my understanding and Baba’s unequivocal teaching, sex had no place whatsoever in spiritual life.
Whatthen was this mystico-erotic ritual (described in the Abvinagupta text), in which the genitals of a girl wereworshipped, touched, and honored, her menstrual fluids ingested, alongwith wine, fish, grain, and meat? I was utterly confounded.
One passage that especially caught my eye was Abhinavagupta’sdescription of the perfect Duti (literally, “Messenger”), the ideal sexualpartner for the Tantric rites:
A D¨ti, necessary in the performance of the secret ritual, is to be awoman who can personify Çakti; has the eyes, rolling with intoxication;lips red like the ripe fruit of Bimba; beautiful teeth; face with well kniteyebrows; eyes, beautiful like those of a fawn in fear; charming smile;hair, dark like a multitude of glittering black bees; eye-brows, bent likethe bow of cupid; complexion similar to that of melted gold; ears, deckedwith ear-ornaments, beautifully engraved….
The passage went on to enumerate the beauty of such a Duti’s neck,rising breasts, arms, fingers, thighs, abdomen, hips, ankles, voice, andface, in the “head to foot” praise genre found in such poems as the Saundaryalahari (Ocean of Beauty, a hymn of praise to the goddessTripurasundari).
However, I had at that time never heard of such a genre, nor had I ever read anything quite like this erotic wish-list.
Thepassage went on to mention that the mind of such a partner should befully enlightened, “continually experiencing the pure bliss of identifica-tion with [God].”
While her physical attributes are desirable, the “expo-nents of Kaulism had realised that such a woman is extremely difficultto find,” and thus had placed their emphasis on the woman’s mental qualities and capacities for enlightenment by means of the secret Kaula ritual
(Note: in the situations discussed here on Rick Ross's message board, we hear time and again that what prompts the damage reports are selection of girls and women who have the mental quality of being easily groomed, flattered and then manuvred into keeping secrets. Caldwell noted that many of the girls selected by Muktananda were too young to be adept at yogic states, giving the lie to the whole thing. Corboy
("Eyes beautiful like those of a fawn in fear
" -- this to me is a description of a girl or woman who can be easily dominated by the male yogi.
And it looks much too convenient for the ideal Murti to have the attributes of a Playboy Bunny.
Why is it convenient?
A gorgeous, yet submissive young woman who can be easily dominated, is less likely to frighten the male, and he's less likely to have performance problems during the tantric ritual.
If this is Universal Wisdom, why shouldn't older women, wiser women be included in this description? Again, I am but an unevolved peasant. And plan to remain that way. Corboy)