Tantra is a science, not a philosophy. Tantra means techniques, methods, the path and it is concerned with the “how” of things than the “why”. It teaches you how the absolute truth can be attained. The main purpose of Tantric practices is to evoke and express the mother aspects in all the living beings, which is the nucleus of absolute consciousness – the core / the center of every living being . Tantric practitioners worship Devi – the goddess – who is the feminine deity, also known as Shakti. Shakti is the other half of Lord Shiva, one of the Trimurtis (Trinities) in Hinduism.
Shiva is the masculine principle, the pure consciousness – the Purusha, while Shakti is the maternal principle, the activating energy, the provider, abundance, the change, the Prakriti – the nature. Shiva cannot materialize without the help of Shakti and vice-versa. As such they live together in unity, in the form of Ardhanarishvara (अर्धनारीस्वर). Shiva is desireless, the vast nothingness through which Shakti projects her colourful forms.
The divine union of Shiva and Shakti symbolizes that the energy alone can do nothing. Until it is impregnated with the consciousness, it is ignorant, aimless and blind. Likewise, consciousness without energy is directionless, dormant and incapable. Although Shakti is commonly referred as the feminine energy, Tantra proclaims that it is the all-pervading, all-embracing existence found in every living beings – both saints and sinners, men and women and beyond every other distinctions in the living beings. Therefore, Tantra practitioners considers Shakti to be the core of tantra sastra.
“Shakti is the all-pervading, all-embracing existence found in every living beings. It is the pure consciousness, the sleeping energy in every living being.”
Shiva and Shakti do not necessarily mean “man” and “woman”. They both lie in the deepest sphere of the consciousness of every living being which is capable of creation, progression and destruction. They are the “yin” and “yang” in every living being. Hence, it does not matter even if a Tantric practitioner worships Krishna, Rāma or any other deities, for all are the divine union of Shiva and Shakti – the powerful awareness that tantra proclaims. So, it does not make any difference whether you are a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or practitioner of any other religions or an atheist, behind all of that facade, you are pure consciousness. Tantra does not give you answers, but it gives you the techniques to attain the answer, the absolute truth. Tantra is all about finding that “center”, your “nucleus” and awakening that sleeping energy in you.