Q: Guruji, could you talk about Tantra and Khajuraho temples? I have been visiting these temples with different groups and each guide says different things, and I do not find truth in it.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Tantra means technique. Yantra, Mantra and Tantra - these are three things.
Mantra is the sound. Yantra is the diagram. Like the Star of David, it is one such Yantra which Judaisim uses as its main symbol. And Tantra is the technique to combine a physical diagram, or a posture with the sound; this is Tantra – the skill to do it.
Now, Tantra as I said is a technique. The ancient Rishis wrote on sex as well – Kama Sutra was written, different postures, and different theories and principles about Tantra. It is used to get rid of obsession.
Why it is on the outer walls of the temple, for that there is a reason. Pilgrims are first asked to go around the temple and look at all the statues, and if any statue, in any way pulls you to excitement you sit there and keep watching. The moment you keep watching, the excitement comes down. So when the mind loses excitement for all these different postures then you go inside. Then your mind is hollow and empty. The mind is blank and then you are able to see the inner sun. That (Khajuraho) is a Sun temple.
You may ask, ‘But the Sun is outside, why should we go inside the temple to see the Sun.’
Now the ancient people said that is an outer sun, there is an inner Sun - The Self.
To see The Self what is an obstruction? Excitement about the sense organs. The flow of the sense organs towards sense objects keeps your mind outward which needs to move inward.
So in the temple you go around several times and sit in front of those statues. It is like a pornography movie, but there is sense in it. Pornography movies are used to excite people, but this is used to calm people down. And so this is used as a therapy for obsession to sex.
Obsession to sex is not a new thing, it is an old disease. You can’t even call it a disease; it is an old inheritance in people. And you need to skillfully go past that to see the light of the being, and so they use these things. They sit with anything that might trigger, obsess you or excite you, and the more you watch it the excitement is gone. Mind calms down.
But Tantras have to be practiced under very strict guidance otherwise it is like walking on a sword. People who fall from there they fall completely down, and it is dangerous. Usually people say it is a dangerous thing to do.
In Tantra also, there is White Tantra, Black Tantra, and all sorts of things. Yoga is the best, a safe and secure way to move forward. Mantra, Yantra and Yoga, this Tantra in Yoga is the technique of how to settle the mind down.