As the idea of Sacrifice is a connecting link, between all systems of Philosophy from Nyaya to Vedanta, even so is the Tantra a connecting link between all systems of Religion that had their birth in India in the past. We have observed that the Tantra corresponds to the principal Sankhya system of Philosophy or the religion of Brahma, extending from the character of the Mind to the senses of knowledge and action. Its basic idea is that it is Nature or Prakrti that creates; but, if God exists, he is either a spectator of its work, or has, in any case, a smaller share in the creation of life than Prakrti.
The Meaning and Scope of the Tantra: This is the scope of the Tantra, and it is for this reason that Sankara calls the Sankhya system a Tantra; and, according to our method of Letter-analysis, the word Tantra (ta, n, t, ra) means "the relation of (Ta) the senses of action to (n) the senses of knowledge, and of (t) the senses of action to (ra) the Mind"; and this, as we have pointed out, is exactly the range of the principal Sankhya system or the religion of Brahma to which the Tantra corresponds.
The Tantra and Other Systems of Religion: We have explained the connection between the different systems of Philosophy and Religion, and pointed out that the systems of Vishnu, Siva and Brahma meet in the region of the Mind; of Siva and Buddha in the regions of Mind and the senses of knowledge; and of Buddha and Mahavira in the senses of knowledge and action in varying degrees. All of these must, therefore, have their Tantric forms.
Prakti as Creator; Sakti: We have observed that the Tantra is based on the idea of Prakrti as the sole or chief creator of life; and Prakrti is conceived of as Sakti or power, ability, energy, personified as a Woman or a goddess. It embodies the creative spirit of mother-hood in the universe; and so we are told of a number of "divine mothers" among the Hindus.
Sakti is defined as power. "Sakti, in the highest causal sense is God as Mother, and in another sense it is the universe which issues from her womb. ... It is said of the Mother, Thou art neither girl, nor maid, nor old. Indeed, you are neither female, nor male, nor neuter. Thou art inconceivable, immeasurable Power, the being of all which exists, void of all duality, the Supreme Brahman, attainable in illumination alone".
Sakti and Brahma: We have observed that the Tantra, based on the creative character of Nature or Prakrti, is identified with the religion of Brahma; and in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Prakrti Khanda, Prakrti is described as follows:
According to Sruti Pra means the property of virtue, kr means the principle of activity, and ti the principle of ignorance. ... The primordial cause of creation is, therefore, called Prakti or Nature. The Supreme Being ... split himself into two parts. The Right side was called Purusha; the left was called Prakti or Nature. This Nature is the image of Brahma, constant and eternal. ... This is why ... The Yogis behold the world as full of Brahma. At the desire of the eternally self-determining Krshna, at the time of creation, this primordial principle of Nature suddenly came into existence. The gods, including Brahma, constantly worship Durga, the eternal goddess who presides over all creation, which is the image of Brahma, the Supreme Being; who is the likeness of the spouse of Siva, the mother of Ganesa, and who is all-merciful to her worshippers.
This goddess, the image of Brahma... represents all power and typifies the all- pervading might of godhead. ... She is just like a mother to all. She represents the absolute might of the Supreme Being.
"Nature is indissolubly connected with the divine Spirit. ... God is unable to create the world without Nature. She is vested with absolute energy. ... Sak means grandeur and ti means valour. She who is the source of grandeur and valour is, therefore, Sakti".
Then we are told how the Eternal Being, who created Nature, was filled with desire, and out of his union with Prakrti was created the universe. "In due time she laid an egg, bright like gold, which was, as it were, the main pillar and corner-stone of the universe ... She represents the energy of Krshna. She endows the Soul with power and vests the world with might. The world is a vast mass of inertia without her. She is the seed of the tree of life ... Everything from Brahma to a blade of grass partakes of the character of Nature ... She is adored by Brahma, Siva; she is eternal and the consort of Narayana. ... She is the mother of Maha-Vishnu, and emanated from half of the body of Krshna. ... She rules even Brahma. She is an architect in creation, merciful in the art of preservation and hideous in the act of destruction. ... She is the image of Brahma and the emblem of all might ... The mother of the world, adored by Krshna himself". Krshna hails her as "the mother and mistress of creation ... primordial Nature ... first cause ... void of Gunas or qualities, yet investing herself with qualities for purposes of creation, the likeness of Brahma, eternal and all in all, creating Brahma himself and adored by him".
Here we have an idea of Prakti or Nature in the light of all systems of Hindu Philosophy and Religion. In the light of Vaisnavism and Vedanta, she is created by God; in the light of Saivism, Vaisesika and Yoga, she is united with him; and in the light of Brahmism, Nyaya and Sankhya, she is the mother of the universe and Maha-Vishnu, the creator and the image of Brahma, and adored by him. We notice that Prakti is also spoken of as Sakti, grandeur and power, by means of which she creates. As the range of the Tantra extends from the Mind to the senses of knowledge and action, it can deal with Prakrti as united with God in the creation of the world, or else creating it by herself. The purely Vedantic view, that Prakti is created by God, is outside the scope of the Tantra.
From Known to Unknown; Hindu Science and Philosophy: We have observed that the ancient Hindus proceeded in their quest of Truth from the known to the unknown, and built their different theories of life on the basis of the organic cell. In this connection we have pointed out that they conceived of Prakrti in terms of Water or a liquid substance, serpent or a wave, and explained that the Sankhya system, which regards Prakrti as the principal creator of life, is based on the conception of Vrtra and Varuna in the Vedas. Then we have shown that this idea of Water or a liquid, in connection with Prakrti, refers really to the vital energy of food or blood, which becomes the vital energy of the Heart. Further, we have explained that the first form of the universe, at it emerges out of Brahmanda or the Golden Egg, is that of a Serpent or a Serpent-wave, and it is for this reason that the Serpent is associated with all the principal deities of the Hindus, Vishnu, Siva, and Buddha. Then we have shown that the energy of the Heart is transformed into Buddhi, Egoism (Ahankara), Mind, the five elements and their properties, and the five senses of knowledge and five of action, making all the topics or principles of the different systems of Philosophy and finally, we have pointed out that all the energies of life are present in Man. We have the Heart or Soul which is unmanifest; Buddhi centred at the tipper part of the brain, where the Hindus have their tuft of hair; Mind between the two eyebrows, where they have their tilaka mark; Ether in the throat, Air in the lungs, Fire in the organ of digestion, Water in the reproductive organ, and the element Earth in the organ of excretion.
Kundalini: All this idea of Prakrti is expressed in the Kundalini of the Tantra. According to our method of Letter-analysis, Kundalini (K, u, n, da, l, i, n, i) means "(K) the first creative energy of life, conceived of as (u) Ether and regarded as (i, a sign of the feminine gender, Woman being regarded as Prakti or an instrument of creation) creative, and characterised by (n) Heart energy, which is Prakrtic (da), and associated with (l) the senses of action, (i) Mind, and (n) the senses of knowledge". From this we see that the word Kundalini gives an exact idea of Prakrti according to the Sankhya system, conceived of as possessing the Prakrtic or physical energy of the Heart, made manifest in Ether, and associated with the three energies of the Sankhya Mind, and the senses of knowledge and action.
Kundalini is defined as a Power or Sakti, and is described as coiled like a serpent. Again it is said that it is a fundamental principle of the Tantra Sastra, "that man is a microcosm. Whatever exists in the outer universe exists in him. ... The body may be divided into two main parts, namely, the head and trunk on the one hand, and the legs on the other. Supporting the trunk and throughout the whole body is the spinal cord. ... The legs and feet are gross matter and show less signs of consciousness than the trunk with its spinal white and grey matter ... There are six Chakras or centres of energy; the seventh, beyond the Chakras, is the upper brain ... The Chakras are centres of Sakti as vital force". Then we are told that the six Chakras, below the seventh, the region of Buddhi or the upper brain, have been located within the human body in the Tantras. The lowest, called Muladhara is situated between the base of the sexual organ, and the anus. The second is at the base of the sexual organ and below the navel; the third is at the navel; the fourth is at the breast; the fifth is at the neck; and the sixth at the brow.
Again we are told that "in any given sphere of activity or force, we must have, according to the cosmic principle, a static background ... Sakti at rest or coiled, as the Tantra says ... In her supreme form she is at rest. ... She next uncoils herself to manifest. ... She is then moving. ... The whole world (Jagat), as the Sanskrt term implies, is moving. ... First she creates Mind, and then Matter When she has created the last Tattva (element) she is at rest again".