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S P I R I T U A L E X P E R I E N C E I N T A N T R A
The experience is either total, or partial and incomplete, but it always refers to the reality of the experienced thing.
There have been many debates about the reality of the physical world. Of these, we shall mention the monist doctrine of the sage Shankaracharya (from which emerged the VEDANTA) as compared to the tantric point of view, our main topic of interest.
Shankaracharya defines the Reality as being that which does not change, unlike the finite experience, which - although "real" for a moment - changes finally.
Considered from this perspective, our universe - as a changing thing - holds a relative reality. Consequently, for Shankaracharya and his followers, the world we live HERE and NOW is not real, it is merely an illusion one must surpass in order to experience the Reality.
This point of view is true, however, if we look at things from the perspective of the Transcendent Absolute (BRAHMAN).
The Tantric view on these things rests upon the idea that this world is NECESSARILY real. Thus, a particular thing may be real and at the same time subject to change.
In Tantra, the divine couple Shiva and Shakti represents the Real and Total experience of the universe. In order for us to understand the Reality, they are said to limit themselves and "contract" in fragments of Reality which belong to the Supreme Reality, in a gesture of divine sacrifice.
The tantric adept has to perceive his/her own reality, to convince himself/herself of the reality of this world as ground of his actions. For the tantric, this universe is real because it originates in the divine couple Shiva-Shakti.
The total experience one may have is exactly the Consciousness of the Supreme, from which emerged the Macrocosm.
The finite, limited experience has a fragmented character, consequently the knowledge obtained thus will not be of the whole. The essence of the limited experience is the experience we have within the coordinates of time and space.
The Ultimate experience though, through its permanent nature, is placed beyond time and space, as time and space define change.
As shown before, "illusion" represents merely the experience of the Supreme Self in time and space. An important aspect of Tantra is being aware of your actions, even of the most common ones, like eating. The idea behind this focus on the present actions is that by this focus the past "disappears", and so is the future. The one that remains is the present, an eternal "now", which makes us go beyond the ordinary notion of time. This is synonymous with getting close to the Supreme Source, which transcends both Time and Space.
The famous secret treaty VIJNANA BHAIRAVA TANTRA advises that one should become one with the food or drink, filling your being with it.
Moreover, another sutra says that when singing, looking, or tasting something, one should be always aware, because this is how he/she will discover eternal life.
"Being in action means being free in that action." This is the point of disruption, the limit that may make one reach the ultimate consciousness right here and right now.