The history of tantric is a bit difficult to trace just like that of many religions. There are many tantric proponents that have provided numerous mythical accounts for their origin. In fact, many have placed themselves as the authority of a goddess or Siva.
It is essential to point out that Tantra, also sometimes referred to as Tantrism is a uniquely multifaceted esoteric tradition traceable to the Indic origin. According to sources, it came into limelight around 500CE. It is important to mention that some proponents of Tantra have claimed a much longer history. Indeed, the ideas and practices of Tantra seemed to have been around and found in the teachings and traditions of an earlier period.
Tantra has been in existence in different forms including Shakta, Vaisnava, and Shaiva. It is believed to be a shorter route to spiritual illumination and self awareness. However, it is crucial to point out that the rites of the traditional left-hand tantric are thought to be dangerous by many traditional Hindus. As a matter of fact, it is perceived to be a form of black magic.
From time immemorial, Kashmir Shaivism has claimed to surpass Shaiva Siddhanta on different level. Suffice to mention that Kashmir Shaivism is a twofold tradition that has been considered as standard tantric Shaivism. Essentially the goal of Shaiva Siddhanta is to become a distinct Shiva, through the grace of Shiva. By this, individuals recognize themselves as Shiva who is the sum of the universe, according to the monism of Kashmir Shaivism.
Tantra yoga uses different rituals to understand the universe via human microcosm. Right from the leading principles of Sanskrit, Tantra yoga aims to find balance and not reject the inherent instinct of man in a bid to attain enlightenment. Therefore, Tantra yoga tries to weave the different practices of yoga and other spiritual teachings and styles together with the aim of connecting with the entire universe.
This belongs to an unconventional devotional tradition impacted by Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism. Yet, it is totally different from these three. This lineage of tantric holds the body as an integral part of the universe where the Supreme lives. It also opines that it’s the singular mechanism for attaining liberation and gaining victory over death. Essentially, sexuality plays a vital role in the search for ultimate truth for Bauls.
Known as the Tantra medium to enlightenment, Tantrayana or Vajrayana derives from the school strongly connected with Tibetan Buddhism. It has become an integral part of it and is sometimes classified with the Tibet religion.
Some Tantric and Daoist cultures try to explore sexuality power to nurture the states of spiritual elevation and awareness to attain immortality. This practice and culture seem to have originated from India and China, which later extended to Tibet as well as other Asian parts. Tantrism and Daoism focus on pragmatic approaches to life. They also share some theories of microcosmic and macrocosmic of human body as the internal mirror of the external nature.
Neotantra, also regarded as tantric sex or navatantra, is the contemporary and western variant of tantra. It is usually connected with the new religious movements. This lineage includes the modern western elucidations of conventional Buddhist and Hindu tantric and New Age. Additionally, neotantra doesn’t use the entire elements of the practices of India tantric, especially the dependence on gurus.