The Word 'Tantra' is often translated as ‘connection’ or ‘web’, it is pointing towards the knowledge that allows to connect the individual (microcosm) directly to the universe (macrocosm) through the principle of resonance. In the Tantric Indian tradition the whole of existence, the non-duality that is, the kosmos (as ken Wilbur terms it) is divided into two aspects. These are called Shiva & Shakti.
Is the Unmanifested aspect of the non-duality being pure conscious, immobile, pure witness, pure awareness or Isness, that cannot be understood but only felt or be. It is considered to be the masculine aspect, it is often represented as a dead body lying on the ground in the corpse pose, or as a yogi sitting immobile watching the play of reality.
Represents all the manifestation, the karma, mind & emotions, energy and matter that comprises the universe, all the phenomena that may arise in the consciousness. It is considered the feminine aspect, she is often represented as dancing on the corpse of Shiva, she is always in movement, dancing the play of reality.
The interaction of these two aspects is indispensable to maintain reality. Shiva without Shakti is empty, dead. Shakti without Shiva is Chaos. So there is no consciousness without energy and the opposite, ultimately understood from the non dual approach: consciousness is energy and energy is consciousness.
That is to realise through the sadhana. It can also designate the different elements that can be used additionally like ritual elements, specific rules to be applied or the use of herbs to support the process of sadhana.
Objective of the Tantric Sadhanas
While from the point of view of Siva all is one. Nothing needs to be done and every moment is as conscious and perfect as the next. From the standpoint of Shakti, manifestation we find that some occurrences or manifestations are more aware of their Siva aspect and of the Deeper levels of Shakti (The subtle levels of manifestation) than others, we also find that some forms are more “successful” or more “harmonious” with the rest of manifestation than others.
Therefore we could say that The Process of Tantra is created to transform and purify all the manifested aspects (different layers of our being: energy, emotions, thoughts) in order to recognise the true nature of reality, the Self or in terms of Chakras to activate Sahasrara which is the synthesis of all chakras, reuniting the two aspects of Shiva and Shakti.
Therefore, even if moksha or liberation are not ones purpose in life, the tantric sadhana can also be taken to improve the quality of life in manifestation.
Sakti is the Mouth of Siva tantra says, Through working with shakti (manifestation) one reaches siva (or the absolute, the nonmanifestation). This is the spiritual essence of the practice. In this sense the term tantra can be also used to describe the teaching which represents the knowledge, the Shakti (energy) we want to acquire, that is to realise through the sadhana. It can also designate the different elements that can be used additionally like ritual elements, specific rules to be applied or the use of herbs to support the process of sadhana.