Tantra occupies a unique position in Western understandings of Hindu spirituality. Its carnal dimension has made its name instantly recognizable, but this popular fascination with sex has obscured its philosophical depth and ritual practices, to say nothing of its overall importance to Hinduism.
This book offers a clear, well-grounded overview of Tantra that offers substantial new insights for scholars and practitioners. André Padoux opens by detailing the history of Tantra, beginning with its origins, founding texts, and major beliefs. The second part of the book delves more deeply into key concepts relating to the tantric body, mysticism, sex, mantras, sacred geography, and iconography, while the final part considers the practice of Tantra today, both in India and in the West. The result is an authoritative account of Tantra’s history and present place in the world.
André Padoux is professor emeritus in the research unit on Hinduism at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Paris and the author of a number of books on Tantra.