Information On Vamachara Practice

In Hindu Tantra and Tantra Yoga, Vamachara is a technical term. It means Left-Hand Path and is used to describe particular tantric practices that are considered heterodox.

The term Dakshinachara, on the other hand, means Right-Hand Path, and is used to portray Hindu Tantra and Tantra Yoga sects which don’t engage in such heterodox practices. The Brahma Yamala, a Hindu Tantra and Tantra Yoga text, postulates that there are 3 currents of tradition.


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These are the Dakshina, Vama, and Madhyama tradition. All characterized, respectively, by the prevalence of each of the 3 gunas. These 3 gunas in Hindu and Tantra philosophy are Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. According to the Brahma Yamala text, Dakshina is portrayed as Sattvic and is pure. Vama is characterized by Rajas and is mixed. Madhyama is described as Tamasic and is considered impure. The Tantras – Hindu Tantra and Tantra Yoga – of each class abide by a specific line of spiritual practices.

Vamachara of the Hindu Tantra and Tantra Yoga traditions is mainly associated with the Pancha-Makara or the "Five Ms”.

This is also referred to as the pancha tattwa which, in literal terms are: Madya (wine), Mansa (meat), Matsya (fish), Mudra (cereal), and Maithuna (sexual intercourse).

Vamachara traditions lay strict emphasis on ritual limits about the use of these literal forms. They warn against their unsanctioned use. Douglas Saabs provides a beautiful quotation from the Hindu Tantra and Tantra Yoga scholar Bhaskararaya who warns that any unsanctioned use of these items could give rise to disaster:

"The form of Brahman is bliss. That is instituted in the body. The ceremonial materials that manifest the bliss are imbibed by the Yogis. Nonetheless if the materials if not ritually made use of and so considered impure are had then, since they actively impede the goals and purposes of human life, bind the person to sin. Subsequently, they are not capable of inducing a blissful state.”

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