How to learn Tantra without Guru?

The need for a guru in Tantra is made clear again and again in Tantric texts and lore. However, the plain fact is that many spiritual seekers -- both East and West -- do not have a guru, don't know how to find a guru, and/or are suspicious of the very idea of a guru.

There are many Gurus who exploit the disciples for fame or money, demand donations for temples and worship and offer Diksha for a donation. So what does this mean? Should the Tantric seeker without a guru simply give up and move on to another spiritual discipline? Not at all. It's been observed that people who are waiting for a certain opportunity (in this case, a true Tantric guru, initiation, etc.) should prepare themselves to take advantage of that opportunity when and if it presents itself. Even in India, true Tantric gurus are very few -- and they don't advertise. "Doubtful individuals" not only will be attracted by Tantra but will take advantage of it and claim to be great gurus. Be aware -- and beware! As for the true Tantric initiation, we should be well aware of the fact that this is no joke. It takes many years of preparation and practice before getting ready. First the body has to undergo a strict discipline implying the practice of Hatha Yoga, which is a branch of Tantra. There is also a long spiritual and mental preparation under the guidance of the guru before he or she is ready for initiation.

Tantra says, "When the chela (student) is ready, the guru appears," and this is really true. … The chela does not go in search of a guru, and the reverse is also true. One just waits until "it" happens [while continuing to train, educate and discipline oneself as much as possible in Tantra in anticipation of this eventuality] The Tantric guru is altogether a tutor, a master who hands over techniques, a guide who dispels doubts, but above all a trustee and an incarnation of the ancient Tantric tradition. … The true guru never exploits the chela, neither financially, morally, nor on any level whatsoever. Exploitation is a trait of the fake gurus. ….Another very important point: We should be well aware of the fact that Tantra is not merely to do with sex, and especially sexual promiscuity. Some fake, so-called "Tantric initiations" consist of getting a few people together -- most of them quite naïve -- and making them have group sex. A true Tantric guru cannot have very many chelas, and his or her relationship to each one will be different. (In Tantra, the guru can be a woman as well as a man.) A true Tantric guru will not have a big ashram and many followers. He or she often is not even recognized as a guru. In some cases, however, the guru may have a large following -- but few true chelas, and these very few keep the relationship strictly secret. This is true in India and so, too, in the West.

So, you may ask, is there no hope for the serious guru seeker? It is hard to say. On the Tantric path, any true seeker will always find a way to progress. True, a guru is irreplaceable, but if one does not find his or her own guru, the genuine seeker can always rely on his or her inner guru, the Self, which is the supreme guru and can be reached through meditation and serious practice. Fake gurus have already played havoc in the West, and in India as well. Why are they able to fool us so easily? The simple answer is: We are incredibly gullible. Most fakes are Indians and they always promise us the earth, plus the moon and the stars! Should a Hatha Yoga guru promise to straighten out the spine of all those who are hunchbacked in just a weekend seminar, nobody would believe him. But if some fake Tantric guru promises to awaken the Kundalini in a matter of hours, people believe it and readily open wide their mouths and wallets. We know that to master and adjust one's body takes years of stubborn practice; well -- to tame the Kundalini takes even more. …Genuine Tantric gurus would never advertise such stunts. They don't have to. Their work is done in silence and they remain unseen. And by the way, did I tell you my favorite Tantric guru's name? It is His Holiness Common-sense-ananda, whose advice often take, whereas most people don't. Why? Is it because he does not promise miracles? Or because his advice costs nothing? You answer!.................

Seeking a Teacher in Tantra Path
It is said that you don't find the guru. Devi herself sets the meeting of a Guru and Sisya, for the Guru is Devi reincarnate in the physical form.. Things do not happen just for the hack out of it. But the most important thing that we should have is this desire to be guided, and it must come from within. From this inner desire, listen by DEVI herself and she will choose a suitable "guru" for you. There are people who think that they do not need a guru, least they forget that their mother is the first guru. Book too is a form of "guru" and is very sacred, but you can never compare bookish knowledge with experience. Swami Rama - the founder of the Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy remarked in one of his lectures: A time will come when the seeker goes through a period of argumentation with herself/himself and cannot decide. At this time a real preceptor is needed. How will you find the right master? No one can search for a preceptor. There is a saying in the Scriptures:" When the disciple is prepared, the master appears." This happens only because of samskaras.

Teachers and student samskaras are very ancient and strong. To the intense devotee, the Divine Mother Herself acts as the great Guru and guides him if sincerely prayed for. "If you are a devotee of the Mother, can you set limits on how she can help her children? Sometimes we receive her help through a living teacher, who may be man or woman, eastern or western, well known or not. Sometimes we receive help through a teacher who is no longer incarnate. Sometimes we find guidance in written lore, sometimes in own dreams, visions and reflections. 

In this age of kali yug, Sacred and Secret Sciences like Tantra have been abused for commercial purposes with people selling mantras, disregarding adikara and interpreting scriptures to suit their own vested interests.

All the paths lead to the same Truth. And that we waste a tremendous amount of valuable time and energy trying to prove that one is "superior" to the other, rather than using that time and energy to practice the path for which we so strongly profess to prefer. Let each path celebrate its unique beauty and perspective.

Every Tantric Shakti 
[woman practitioner] is, or seeks to become, a *true* woman, one who dares to delve into her own being to discover her inner and ultimate wellsprings. She *is* the goddess - a living, present-day incarnation of the ultimate cosmic energy, although she may be unaware of it. Her true mystery is the mystery of life, that fantastic creative dynamism --which gives rise to atoms and galaxies, makes wheat sprout, makes bacteria proliferate -- is present and active at all times in all women.

Excerpted from Van Lysebeth "Buy: Book - Tantra: The Cult of the Feminine."

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