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Vedic vs. Tantric Hinduism (Mythic May Vol. 8)

Vedic vs. Tantric Hinduism

Author's Note: This article is in reference to The Soma Tantra

Differences and disagreements among religious factions don't mean that spiritual truths don't exist but that we as humans can't communicate very well.

If you study any religion enough (whether Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism etc) you soon discover that even within it nobody can agree.

Similarly, Hinduism is a blanket term for several strains of Indian philosophy that focus on particular deities and what they represent, without uniformity.

Some Hindu sects reflect the Vedic caste system brought by Aryan invaders while others represent the folk beliefs of Indus Valley Dravidians.

Historically a process of syncretism (merging) occurred between Vedic and Dravidian beliefs, giving rise to the rich panoply of Hindu polytheism.

Since 'Hinduism' bears the influence of disparate schools of thought, there still exists a sociological friction between Vedic and Tantric strains of it.

Class struggles borne out by the traditional Varna caste system as well as between various ethnic groups are hidden within the subtext of mythology.

In Hinduism Brahma and Vishnu tend to represent Aryan-Vedic ideals / morals whereas Shiva and Kali are Tantric-Dravidian forces of untamed freedom.

Followers of Vishnu are thus referred to as Vaishnavas while Shiva worshippers are called Shaivas or Shaivites. Shakti (divine feminine) outweighs Brahma (creator).

This friction between Vedic and Tantric ways of thinking / acting was also represented by the ancient Greeks in their Apollo-Dionysus dichotomy.

The Soma Tantra portrays said friction between Vedic and Tantric Hinduism as a war between Devatas and Ashuras (gods / demons, respectively).

Only those who can delve beneath the surface of a fantastic tale can penetrate through to the deepest layer of any given mythic narrative.

Further Reading: Past Issues of Mythic May

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