IS THERE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE APPROACHES OF SHIVA AND SARAHA TOWARDS TANTRA?
NOT REALLY, NOT ESSENTIALLY. But as far as the form is concerned, yes. Religions differ only in the form. Religions differ only in their methodology. Religions differ as far as the door into the Divine is concerned, but not existentially. And there are only two basic formal differences: that of the path of devotion, prayer, love, and the path of meditation, awareness. These two basic differences persist.
Shiva’s approach is that of devotion; it is that of prayer, of love. Saraha’s approach is that of meditation, awareness. The distinction is still formal, because when the lover and the meditator reach they arrive at the same goal. Their arrows are released from different angles, but they reach the same target. Their arrows are released from different bows, but they reach the same target. The bow does not matter finally. What type of bow you have chosen does not matter if the target is attained.
And these are the two bows because man basically is divided into two: thinking and feeling. Either you can approach reality through thinking or you can approach reality through feeling.
The Buddhist approach – the approach of Buddha and Saraha is through intelligence. It is basically through the mind that Saraha moves. Of course, the mind has to be left behind, but it is the MIND that has to be left behind. By and by, the mind has to disappear into meditation but it is the MIND that has to disappear, it is the THINKING that has to be transformed. And a state of no-thought has to be created. But remember: it is a state of no-thought, and that can be created only by slowly dropping thoughts, by and by. So the whole work consists in the thinking part.
Shiva’s approach is that of the feeling, of the heart. The feeling has to be transformed. Love has to be transformed so that it becomes prayer. On Shiva’s way, the devotee and the deity remain, the BHAKTA and BHAGWAN remain. At the ultimate peak they both disappear into each other. Listen to it carefully: when Shiva’s Tantra reaches to its ultimate orgasm. I is dissolved into thou, and thou is dissolved into I – they are both together, they become one unity.
When Saraha’s Tantra reaches to its ultimate peak, the recognition is: neither you are right, neither you are true, neither you exist, nor I – both disappear. There are two zeros meeting – not I and thou, neither I nor thou. Two zeros, two empty spaces dissolve into each other; because the whole effort on Saraha’s path is how to dissolve thought, and I and thou are parts of thought.
When thought is utterly dissolved, how can you call yourself l? And whom will you call your God? God is part of thought, it is a thought-creation, a thought-construct, a mind-construct. So all mind-constructs dissolve and SHOONYA, emptiness, arises.
On Shiva’s path you no more love the form, you no more love the person – you start loving the whole existence. The whole existence becomes your thou; you are addressed to the whole existence. Possessiveness is dropped, jealousy is dropped, hatred is dropped – all that is negative in feeling is dropped. And the feeling becomes purer and purer. A moment comes when there is pure love. In that moment of pure love, you dissolve into thou and thou dissolves into you. You ALSO disappear. but you disappear not like two zeros, you disappear as the beloved disappears into the lover and the lover disappears into the beloved.
Up to this point they are different, but that too is a formal difference. Beyond this, what does it matter whether you disappear like a lover and a beloved or you disappear like two zeros? The basic point, the fundamental point, is that you disappear, that nothing is left, that no trace is left. That disappearance is Enlightenment.
So you have to understand it: if love appeals to you, Shiva will appeal to you, and THE BOOK OF THE SECRETS will be your Tantra Bible. If meditation appeals to you, then Saraha will appeal to you. It depends on you. BOTH are right, both are going on the same journey. With whom you would like to travel, that is your choice.
If you can be alone and blissful, then Saraha; if you cannot be blissful when you are alone, and your bliss comes only when you relate, then Shiva.
This is the difference between Hindu Tantra and Buddhist Tantra.