Yoga

For this week’s response consider each of the readings for this week.

In Sanskrit, the word “tan” means “stretch” while “=tra” refers a state of being. The word “tantra” refers to being in a state in which your soul is “stretched” around the whole universe. Tantric discipline seeks liberation from ordinary humanity by “leaving” the humanness of body and detaching from the material space that surrounds us (see the Pasupata-s, Aghoris, for example). Several Śaiva sects focus on various aspects of yogic practice including pursuing liberation “through the body” as we see in certain tantric practices. This renunciation through the body often is linked with powerful abilities (see also Chapter 3 and 4 in Patanjali’s Yogasūtra).

In a few sentences, summarize each reading for this week. Define tantra. Name three of the main aspects of tantra that Flood provides. What is the “subtle body” and why is important for tantric practices? What is the relationship between tantric practices and disease goddesses? What is the connection between the practice of yoga and tantra? Who is “Lady Twilight”? Briefly narrate her story (~3 sentences). In what ways, does she fulfill the definition of tantric practitioner as Flood outlines? Using examples from Dalrymple’s reading, discuss the relationship between tantra and marginalized groups in South Asia. Provide at least three examples to support your analyses collectively from the readings.