Shamanic Yoga Institute

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Non-Dual Tantra and Pañca-kṛtya: the Five Acts of the Divine

Salutations to Lord Shiva, who eternally (through his Shakti) brings about the five processes (of manifestation, maintenance, re-absorption, concealment and self-revelation or grace); who gives the supreme knowledge that the Self – a mass of awareness and joy – is the highest reality. 

Ksemaraja, Pratyabhijnahrdayam

What is Non-Dual Tantra?
In The Woman, the Artist, and the Yogini, Christine Selda explains that “within the non-dualism perspective that there is only One and everything emanating from that One. Essentially, non-dualism is monotheistic by nature. The premise is that all is one; there is one all-pervading source that connects everything in the seen and unseen worlds. The leading practices of non-dualistic yogins aim at the perception of consciousness as the object of illusion. The practices are aimed to dispel the myths of being separate in body and mind (individualized), thus not recognizing the self as the whole.

The esoteric principle of Tantra is that liberation is coessential with enjoyment (bhukti); that the spiritual is not inherently separate from the world (Feurstein 2008, p. 20). Tantra claims the original form of non-dualism. The emphasis on oneness and expansion are principles expressed by the practitioners of Tantra experiencing life’s fullness, expanding the mind beyond ordinary limitations. A large part of Tantra focuses on the more subtle elements of the body, mind, and life. Chakras, nadis, yantras, kundalini, asana, meditation, pranayama, visualization, and invocation of deities are all primary practices in Tantra Yoga.”

When we practice Tantric Yoga, in its many facets our aim is to gain the wisdom of our non-difference from Spirit. In the opening of the Heart of Recognition, the Pratyabhijnahrdayam, Ksemaraja describes the five acts of the Divine. These are the only acts taking place at all levels of consciousness and creation from the cosmic scale to the subtle rise and fall of thought patterns in the mind. In Tantra Illumined, Christopher Wallis outlines them as such:

Sṛṣṭi – creation, emission, the flowing forth of Self-expression
Sthiti – statis, maintenance and preservation
Saṃhāra – dissolution, reabsorption, retraction
Tirodhāna – concealment, occlusion, forgetting
Anugraha – revealing, remembering, grace, revelation

Or in Christopher Wallis’ translation of the Recognition Sutras, he articulates the five Divine acts as performances of “manifestation, attachment, subjective awareness, laying down the ‘seed’ and dissolving it.” One of the ways we can come into deeper understanding of these five aspects of cosmic action is through the practice of mantra. The Panchakshara Mantra, Om Nama Shivaya opens the self to the Self through reverence and surrender. Each syllable represents one of the states of this cycle from creation to revelation: Na Ma Shi Va Ya.

When you have some space, settle in, and listen to the meditation below. It was crafted around these five states to open you to the recognition of embodied radiance and grace that is your fundamental nature.

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