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appendix: tantra and Veda - One Tradition 









‘Hinduism’ is a modern word for the world’s oldest and still third-largest religion, with almost one billion followers. And yet it differs from all of the ‘Abrahamic’ faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam’ – in the most fundamental of ways. Otherwise known as ‘Sanatana Dharma’ (‘the eternal way’)  ‘Hinduism’ is not essentially an dogmatic, sectarian and exclusivistic religious ‘-ism’ of any sort. In contrast, orthodox Judaism is an ethnically exclusive and non-Christian faith; Christianity is a non-Islamic faith, and - like both Judaism and Christianity - Islam is a non- or even anti-Hindu faith. ‘Hinduism’, on the other hand is not a ‘faith’ so much as an evolving and creative confluence of numerous diverse but non-dogmatic and non-exclusive religious world-views and philosophies rooted in the Indian sub-continent - in particular the Vedic and Indus Valley civilisations. The Persian term Hindu derives from the name of the Sindhu river – the Indus. And indeed the best symbolism of Hinduism is a flowing river with many tributaries. For even the earliest Hindu scriptures – the Vedas – recognised ‘no religion higher than truth’, and the many religious and philosophical currents and streams that have subsequently flowed from or into the fertile river that is ‘Hinduism’ have never been driven by scholastic disputes over dogma or narrow sectarian rivalries. 


Basic and distinctive elements of the Hindu world-view:


·        In contrast to the Torah, Bible and Koran, Hindu ‘scripture’ has no dogmatically restricted canon of scriptures, no supreme institution, no single spiritual founder such as a Moses, Jesus, Buddha or Mohammed and no authoritative leader such as a Pope, Archbishop, Ayatollah or Dalai Lama.


·        Hindu scripture is not reducible to the Vedas (‘the Knowledge’), but embraces a vast and diverse historical body of still-evolving spiritual teachings.


·        God is not seen as a person or even a supreme being. Instead the Hindu gods in all their multiple forms are understood as diverse personifications of the Divine.


·        Similarly, all individual beings are individualisations of the Divine. Thus the true Self (Atman) of every being is understood as both eternal and one with the Divine.


·        Though not understanding God as a person, Hinduism not only allows for but encourages the attainment of a direct personal experience of the Divine - in particular through devotion to a chosen divinity or personification of the Divine.


·        Hinduism stresses that the Divine needs to be experienced in order to be spoken of truly – simply citing or interpreting scriptures is no substitute for revelation emerging from direct experience.


·        Strictly speaking, Hinduism is not a ‘faith’ at all - for faith is only needed where direct knowing (jnanas/gnosis) is lacking.


·        In Hinduism, a ‘guru’ or teacher is needed to aid the individual in cultivating a direct experience of the divine and recovering a sense of union with it. The guru is not an evangelist or priest there to preach a gospel or faith.  


·        Hinduism does not see the world as something ‘made’ by a God but as understood as a creative manifestation of the Divine – in the same way that speech is a manifestation of meaning and not something ‘made’.


·        Since the entire world and everything in it is itself a sacred revelation of the Divine, its sacredness cannot be reduced to that of scripture - the revealed word.


·        The Divine is understood as both transcendent and immanent in all things and all beings, the primordial womb of All That Is.  Whilst it has both masculine and feminine aspects it ultimately transcends all distinctions of gender, caste, ethnicity and culture.


·        Hinduism is ‘a-theistic’ – but only in the strict sense of not being theistic – not identifying the Divine with  a supreme God-Being.


·        Instead of being monotheistic, Hinduism is monistic - recognising the Divine as a singular, absolute, unifying reality underlying All That - as singularity or One-ness as such - not a single or ‘One’ God.


·        The ultimate, absolute reality that is the Divine is traditionally called ‘Brahman’. Brahman in turn may be called by the same name as many specific Hindu divinities such as Shiva, Vishnu, Kali etc. In this way, Hinduism affirms the unity of the gods and God, of diverse divinities and the singularity of the Divine.


·        The essential nature of the Divine as a singular reality is understood through the Sanskrit term ‘Sat-Chit-Ananda’ (‘Being-Consciousness-Bliss’). All of the many schools of Hindu religious philosophy ultimately address the question of how the meaning and reality behind this term can be understood and directly experienced.


·        Hindu thought does not separate ‘philosophy’, ‘theology’, ‘spirituality’ and ‘science’ but is essentially ‘theo-sophical’ and ‘spiritual-scientific’ in character.  ‘Yoga’ is the practical science of Hindu ‘theo-sophy’, aimed at cultivating and recovering knowledge and direct experience of the Divine in oneself and all things.


·        ‘Idol worship’ is an important and powerful aspect of Hindu religious practice, but is not unique to it. The Abrahamic faiths worship many icons of their own, they are essentially forms of ‘bibliolatry’ - idolising the word or even treating scrolls and books as idols. Hinduism, on the other hand, recognises not only words but things themselves – all things - as expressions of the Divine. Thus it is not the idol as ‘mere’ thing that is worshipped, but rather the divinity ensouling it - and linking the worshipper to the Divine through it.


·        Since Hinduism not only recognises not only the universal nature of the Divine but also the reality of reincarnation, being Hindu does not depend on upbringing or ethnicity but on acceptance, experience and active embodiment of its religious world-view.


·        The aim of the Hindu is both to enjoy this life, and to achieve liberation (Moksha) within it, overcoming the need for further physical incarnations.




It is no secret that we in the West live in a time of spiritual crisis. Western civilization has been guided by Christianity. Now it appears that this period is drawing to a close. Both religious institutions and social structures are in disarray. A great many things that were considered basic assumptions of western thought are being challenged. The reality of the external world, the soul, the linear nature of time.

Stephen Cross

For those now disenchanted with industrialization and scientific materialism as well as pseudo-spirituality,  India's ancient spiritual heritage provides a rich alternative. Eastern philosophy, and the devotional heart of India's Vedanta in particular, can fill the empty shopping bag of our Western accomplishments.

Swami B. V. Tripurari

Recently, increasing numbers of Westerners in revolt against what they have found to be the shallow, gadget-dominated, spiritually empty civilization of the West have turned to "Hinduism" in search of greater meaning or purpose in life. There is no doubt that the great Hindu tradition offers profound spiritual insights, as well as techniques for attaining self-realization, detachment, and even ecstasy. 

Beatrice Pitney Lamb

 India indeed has a preciousness which a materialistic age is in danger of missing. Some day the fragrance of her thought will win the hearts of men. This grim chase after our own tails which marks the present age cannot continue for ever. The future contains a new human urge towards the real beauty and holiness of life. When it comes India will be searched by loving eyes and defended by knightly hands.  

 W. J. Grant

A philosophically revived and refined Hinduism can and should serve the noble and most necessary purpose of resisting ‘The New Atheism’ and the secular ‘Monotheism of Money’ that dominate today’s world - along with the unquestioned assumptions of the purely technological ‘science’ that is its dominant ‘religion’. In this way, a new Hinduism can help bring an end to the rising ocean of spiritual ignorance, and to the grave ecological devastation, economic inequalities and global mayhem that go with worship of science technology and the monotheistic god of the Abrahamic faiths – essentially a divinisation of the ego and of the human being’s narrow and limited ego-consciousness. Hinduism alone can accomplish this world-transforming aim - not through Jihad, violence or war but through the supreme principle and innate power of Awareness (Chit). ‘The New Yoga of Awareness’ is a new Hindu world-view which recognises that ‘God’ is not a supreme being ‘with’ awareness - a type of divine Superego. Instead God IS awareness – that pure awareness whose light is the divine Source of all beings, yet also immanent within them as their eternal and divine Self.


Peter Wilberg

Indian thought, with its usual profundity and avoidance of arbitrary divisions, regards Philosophy as religious and Religion as philosophical. The "liberty-loving nations of the West" have been in the past greatly, and still are to some extent, behind India in the matter of intellectual and religious freedom. As has been finely said in India, Satyannasti para dharmah (‘There is no religion higher than Truth’) and as the Vedas have proclaimed, ‘Truth will conquer’ (Satyam jayate). 

Hinduism may not be called a religion in the sense other religions are known. It is much more than a religion, it is a total way of life. Hinduism has no founder. Its authority is Eternal Truth. The cumulative record of metaphysical experimentation. Behind the lush tangle of religious imagery, is a clear structure of thought. Compared to the rugged originality of the Indian traditions, the language of today's philosophers concerned with being often sound a little contrived. Hindus have always been metaphysicians at heart. It is the underlying ideas, and not the images which count As stated at the outset in the Rig Veda: "Truth is one, the wise call it by various names."

Sir John Woodroffe

It is not too much to say that the mind of the West with all its undoubted impulses towards the progress of humanity has never exhibited such an intense amount of intellectual force as is to be found in the religious speculations of India ...These have been the cradle of all Western speculations, and wherever the European mind has risen into heights of philosophy, it has done so because the Brahmin was the pioneer. There is no intellectual problem in the West which had not its earlier discussion in the East, and there is no modern solution of that problem which will not be found anticipated in the East.


In the history of the world, Hinduism is the only religion that exhibits a complete independence and freedom of the human mind, its full confidence in its own powers. Hinduism is freedom, especially the freedom in thinking about God. In the search for the supernatural, it is like travelling in space without a boundary or barrier.

S. Radhakrishnan

Hinduism has proven much more open than any other religion to new ideas, scientific thought, and social experimentation. Many concepts like reincarnation, meditation, yoga and others have found worldwide acceptance. It would not be surprising to find Hinduism the dominant religion of the twenty-first century. It would be a religion that doctrinally is less clear-cut than mainstream Christianity, politically less determined than Islam, ethically less heroic than Buddhism, but it would offer something to everybody. It will appear idealistic to those who look for idealism, pragmatic to the pragmatists, spiritual to the seekers, sensual to the here-and-now generation. Hinduism, by virtue of its lack of an ideology and its reliance on intuition, will appear to be more plausible than those religions whose doctrinal positions petrified a thousand years ago.

Klaus L. Klostermaier




In India our religions will not ever take root: the primordial wisdom of sexuality will not let itself be reduced to events in Galilee. On the contrary, Indian wisdom is flowing back to Europe and will bring about a fundamental transformation in our knowledge and thinking.


Arthur Schopenhauer


Devoid of intellectual discernment are those Europeans who want to convert and civilise the Hindus.


… to begin with we see that Europe [can only] reproduce what in India, under the people of thinkers, had already accomplished several thousand years ago as a commandment of thinking.


 Friedrich Nietzsche


Our purpose will surely be served when the Indian world-view becomes known. It will make us aware that we, with our entire religious and philosophical thought, are caught in a colossal one-sidedness, and that there can be found yet a quite different way of grasping things than the one which Hegel has construed as the only possible and rational way.


Paul Deussen


We Westerners are about to arrive at the crossroads that the Indian thinkers had already reached about seven hundred years before the birth of Christ.


… the gods were never dethroned in India. They were not disintegrated and dissolved by criticism and natural science, as were the deities of the Greeks … The gods of Homer became laughable, and were … later regarded as incompatible with the more spiritual and ethical, later concepts of divinity … India, on the other hand, retained its anthropomorphic personifications … to assist the mind in its attempt to comprehend what was regarded as manifested through them … What is expressed through the personal masks was understood to transcend them, and  yet the garb of the divine personae was never actually removed. By this tolerant, cherishing attitude a solution of the theological problem was attained that preserved the personal character of the divine powers for all the purposes of worship and daily life, while permitting an abstract, supreme and transcendental concept to dominate for the more lofty, supraritualistic stages of insight and speculation.


“The identity of the hidden nature of the worshipper with the god worshipped is the first principle of the Tantric philosophy of devotion [Bhakti].”


Heinrich Zimmer


Brahman … is not conceptual knowledge of Being, though wisdom about Being (SAT-VIDYA), or about Brahman as Being, is part of it. Brahman is SAT (Being), the ground of all that is, including my own being which is of the nature of sheer, pure CHIT (‘awareness’, of which ‘knowing’ is itself a derivative mode)… From the Rigveda to Aurobindo, the central Indian tradition has made the choice in favour of the primacy and priority of consciousness.





“Once upon a time a sannyasin entered the temple of Jagganath. As he looked at the holy image he debated with himself whether God had a form or was formless. He passed his staff from left to right to feel whether it touched the image. The staff touched nothing. He understood that there was no image before him; he concluded that God was formless. Next he passed the staff from right to left. It touched the image. He understood that God had form. Thus he understood that God has form and, again, is formless.


The Divine Mother revealed to me in the Kali temple that is was She who had become everything. She showed me that everything was full of Awareness. The image [Murti] was Awareness, the altar was Awareness, the water-vessels were Awareness, the door-sill was Awareness, the marble floor was Awareness – all was Awareness. I found everything inside the room soaked, as it were, in Bliss – the Bliss of Satchitananda (Being-Awareness-Bliss). I saw a wicked man in front of the Kali temple; but in him I also saw the power of the Divine Mother vibrating. That was why I fed a cat with the food that was to be offered to the Divine Mother.”


Shri Ramakrishna







It is … the office of Asia to take up the work of human evolution when Europe comes to a standstill and loses itself in a clash of vain speculations, barren experiments and helpless struggles to avoid the consequences of her own mistakes. Such a time has now come in the world’s history… the result … will be no more Asiatic modification of Western modernism, but some great, new and original thing of the first importance to the future of human civilisation.


The later [Abrahamic] religions endeavour to fix the type of a supreme truth of conduct, erect a system and declare God’s law through the mouth of an Avatar [God incarnate] or prophet. These systems, more powerful and dynamic than the dry ethical ideas, are yet for the most part no more than idealistic glorifications of the moral principle sanctified by religious emotion and the label of a superhuman origin. Some, like the extreme Christian ethics, are rejected by Nature because they insist unworkably on an impractical absolute rule. Others prove in the end to be evolutionary compromises and become obsolete in the march of Time. The true divine law, unlike these mental counterfeits, cannot be a system of rigid ethical determinations that press into their caste-iron moulds all our life-movements.


The law divine is truth of life and truth of the spirit and must take up with a free living plasticity and inspire with the direct touch of its eternal light each step of our action and all the complexities of our life-issues. It must not act as a rule and formula but as an enveloping and penetrating conscious presence that determines all our thoughts, activities, feelings, impulsions of will by its infallible power and knowledge.


A moral law cannot be imposed as a law or ideal on numbers of men who have not attained that level of consciousness, or that fineness of mind and will and psychic sense in which it can become a reality to them and a living force.


Only by our coming into constant touch with the divine Consciousness and its absolute Truth can some form of the conscious Divine, the dynamic absolute, take up our earth-existence and transform its strife , stumbling, sufferings and falsities into image of the Supreme Light, Power and Ananda [bliss].


… it is the individual who must climb to this state as a pioneer and precursor.


But if a collectivity or group could be formed of those who had reached the state of supramental perfection, there indeed some divine creation could take shape; a new earth could descend that would be a new heaven, a world a supramental light could be created here amidst the receding darkness of this terrestrial ignorance.






Tantra is school of Indian religious philosophy and practice which, in contrast to ‘Vedanta’, understands the essential nature of the Divine not as ‘Being’ or as a supreme being but rather as Pure Awareness (personified by Shiva) and its Autonomous  Power (Shakti).



The Central Tenets of Tantra




































ADITI – Originally the pure consciousness of infinite existence, one and self-luminous; She is the Light that is the Mother of all things. As the infinite she gives birth to Daksha, the discriminating and distributing Thought of the Divine Mind. 


AGNI [fire-god]Agni is the most important, the most universal of the Vedic gods… The flame of the Divine Will or Force of Consciousness working within the worlds … Agni, the divine priest of the offering, stands up in the dawn of the illumination to offers to the gods, to each great god, his portion … He is inherently pure and he is not touched or soiled by the impurities on which he feeds … He burns in order to purify. He destroys in order to save… Without him the sacrificial flame cannot burn on the altar of the soul … That flame of Agni is the seven-tongued power of the Will, a Force of God instinct with knowledge. This conscious and forceful will is the immortal guest in our mortality, a pure priest and a divine worker, the mediator between earth and heaven.  It carries what we offer to the higher powers and brings back in return their force and light and joy into our humanity … He is the god whose burning eyes can gaze straight at truth, which is the Seer’s own aim and desire and on which all the Vedas is based…


ARYAMAN – the aspiring power and action of the Truth. Represents, in creation, the light of the divine consciousness working as Force. The force of sacrifice, aspiration, battle, journey towards perfection and light and celestial bliss by which the path is created, travelled, pursued beyond all resistance and obscuration to its luminous and happy goal.


ARYAN [noble]  – He who does the work of sacrifice, finds the sacred word of illumination, desires the gods and increases them and is increased by them into the largeness of the true existence; he is the warrior of the light and the traveller to the Truth.


BRAHMAN – the Vedic Word or Mantra in its profoundest aspect as the expression of the intuition arising out of the depths of the soul … the soul or soul-consciousness emerging from the secret heart of things… the Blissful One to whom the movement of the Gods ascends, manifest as at once the Male and the Female… He can be realised through any of his names or aspects, through Indra, through Agni, through Soma…


BRAHMANA – He who has the word and the inspired knowledge it carries with it. The word certainly does not mean Brahmans by caste or priests by profession …


BULL AND COW – The bull is the purusha, soul or conscious being; the cow is the prakriti, the power of consciousness … the word go means in Sanskrit both a cow and a ray of light. This double sense is used by the Vedic symbolists to suggest a double figure which was to them more than a figure; for light, in their view, is not merely an apt poetic image of thought, but is actually is physical form.


COW AND HORSE – Cow is the symbol of consciousness in the form of knowledge; the Horse is the symbol of consciousness in the form of Force … they represent the two companion ideas … which to the Vedic and Vedantic Mind, were the double or twin aspects of all the activities of existence. 




“In the dawn I call to the Divine Mother infinite, in the mid-day and at the rising of the Sun.” 

“Oh Flame, sit with the gods on the seat of the soul’s fullness.”


“Who make him [Agni] the priest of the sacrifice reaches the perfection that is the fruit of his striving, a home on a height of being where there is no warring and no enemies … Thou art the Godhead!” 


“Following the thought with the heart he has reached knowledge of the light.”


“Our fathers found out the hidden light, by the truth in their thoughts they brought to birth The Dawn.”


“We bring to thee, O Fire, by the illuminating word, an offering that is shaped by the heart.”


“The shining host has arisen in my soul, the host of the Thought-Gods, and they sing a hymn as they march upward, a hymn of the heart’s illumination. March thou on, O my soul, impetuously to their violent and mighty music … They are the comrades of a firm and blazing Light and in the force of the Light they work out their lofty aggressions … Violent are they as a herd of rushing bulls; the nights come against them but they overleap the nights; they possess the earth in our thoughts and they rise with them to the heavens. No half-lights, no impotent things are they, but mighty in aggression and puissant to attain … They have bathed their limbs in the waters of Purushni, in the stream that has a multitude of currents, they have put on their divine raiment and now with the wheels of their chariots they break open all of nature’s secret caves. Sometimes they march on a thousand branching paths; sometimes their paths are within, sometimes they follow outward nature’s thousand ways; the world-sacrifice fulfils itself by the many names of their godhead and by their ever-widening march. Now they make themselves as galloping forces of our life, now they are gods and powers of the soul; at last they have put on forms of a supreme world, forms of vision, forms of light. They have attained to the goal, they support the rhythms of the world, chanting they weave their glorious dance round the very fountain of things; they are creators of supreme forms, they expand the soul in vision and make it a divine blaze of light. Lo, they march on in their cohorts and companies; let us follow in their steps with the pace of our thinkings. For they bear with them an imperishable seed of creation and the grain of immortal forms, and if this they plant in the fields of the soul, there shall grow as its harvest universal and bliss transcendent. They will put by all that derides our aspiration and pass beyond all that limits us; they will destroy all faults and dumbness and the soul’s poverties. For there is the rain of abundance of heaven and theirs the storms that set flowing the rivers of life; their thunders are the chant of the hymn of the gods and the proclamation of the Truth … luminous leaders of the mind … The Woman, the Divine, is with them who shall put away from us hurt and thirst and desire and refashion man’s mind in the form of the godhead.”


appendix: tantra and Veda - One Tradition


Dr. David Frawley



A number of writers and teachers, particularly in Western academia, have tried to divide the two great traditions of India of Veda and Tantra as different or even contrary. Some Yoga teachers have uncritically taken up this view as well. They see the Vedic tradition as Aryan and patriarchal and the Tantric tradition as non-Aryan and matriarchal. They identify the Vedic tradition with invading Aryans and the Tantric tradition with indigenous Dravidians. They see the Tantric as worshipping the Mother Goddess and the Vedic as rejecting her. They imply that Vedic and Tantric ideas and practices are very different. Now that the Aryan Invasion theory is severely in question, and the Sarasvati River of Vedic fame, discovered as the main homeland of civilization in ancient India, we should reexamine these views. In my own more than thirty years of studying Vedic and Tantric texts in the original Sanskrit, I have also found remarkable connections between the two traditions. Vedic and Tantric traditions are one, though with different orientations. The Vedic tradition is an earlier form of the Tantric, which itself is a later development of Vedic practices. Tantric teachings abound in the use of Vedic mantras and the mysticism of the Sanskrit alphabet. They use Vedic fire altars and practices and honour Vedic deities at an inner level. Inner Tantric Yoga reflects the four main Vedic deities of Agni, Soma, Vayu and Surya (the forces of fire, moon, wind and sun). The Vedic view emphasizes the Shiva principle, though often under the abstract forms of Brahman, Purusha and Atman, and in the form of different Vedic deities (like Agni and Soma) which reflect the cosmic masculine energy and light form identified with Shiva. Yet the Vedas also recognize the Shakti principle as Vak or the power of the Divine Word, which is said to be the Veda-Mata or ‘Mother of the Vedas’. The Goddess pervades the Vedas, not so much as a particular deity but as the Vedic mantra itself, though many feminine deities also exist and each Vedic God has his corresponding Goddess! The Tantric view emphasizes the Shakti principle as the great Goddess but recognizes the light principle with Shiva as Prakasha or pure illumination. Tantric Yoga also aims at the realization of Atman and Brahman, defined both as the light and energy of consciousness, Chid-jyoti and Chit-Shakti … Another difference of orientation between Vedic and Tantric Yoga is that the Vedic deities are first of all powers of nature like Fire, Wind, Sun and Moon. Their human forms or anthropomorphic sides remain vague. They are seldom portrayed in the form of a human figure. Tantric Deities, on the other hand, like Shiva and Shakti, are first of all anthropomorphic figures, with a human body, gestures and ornaments defined and delineated quite clearly and frequently. Yet Tantric deities have a deep nature symbolism with the Goddess and the mountain stream and Shiva as the mountain, for example, so this distinction is only general. The Vedas centre around four great Devatas (principles of light) as Agni (fire), Soma (water and moon), Indra-Vayu (lightning) and Surya (the Sun), as the inner and outer forms of light in the universe … Tantric Yoga revolves around these same forces as Sun, Moon, Lightning and Fire. These forces appear as Goddesses in Tantra with Soma, the lunar reflective force, as the Goddess Lalita or Tripura Sundari and the crown chakra and the cosmic mind. Vedic Indra relates to Tantric Chinnamasta as the power of lightning perception in the eyes, the third eye. Surya is the solar power of life and awareness, the Self in the heart, which is Bhadra Kali among the Goddesses. Agni is the Kundalini fire in the root chakra, which is the Goddess Bhairavi and the ultimate power of speech. Vayu or Wind is the general Kriya Shakti force that is Kali in the broader sense as the cosmic Prana … The great system of Kashmir Shaivism with its deities, mantras, pranas, and tattvas reflecting the Sanskrit alphabet is a formulation of the older Vedic model.  Shiva, if we look deeply, is the Supreme Deity of the Rig Veda and its four main light forms as Agni, Soma, Surya and Indra (Vidyut). This statement may seem unusual, if not absurd, for those used to thinking that Vedas and Agamas are different or that Shiva is not a Vedic deity, because his name and form is not much present there. The problem is that such views only look superficially at the names and forms not to the inner content and energy of the Vedas. Shiva is often called ‘Agni-Somatmakam', meaning that he has the nature of ‘Agni and Soma' as fire and water and all the other dualities that the two represent. Agni is his fierce or Rudra form. Soma is his blissful and linga form. Shiva is also regarded as Surya or the Sun, the pure light, Prakasha. As Prana, Shiva is also Vayu.  He is Indra as the lord of perception and the power of mantra.  Shiva is the background deity of the Rigveda of which the other four main deities are but forms or manifestations. On the one hand, they are facets of Shiva. On the other hand, they are like the sons of Shiva, which are his manifestations, with Rudra as the great father God in the Rigveda. The Vedic Yajna is itself the Tantric Yoga as an outer ritual worship of the outer fire. Tantric Yoga is the Vedic Yajna internalized, worship of the inner fire of the Kundalini. The worship of Shiva maintains many Vedic forms of fire worship, use of Vedic mantras and communion with nature. Shaivites mark themselves with the sacred ash or Vibhuti from the fire. The Rudram, the most famous chant to Shiva, which is found in the Yajurveda, makes Shiva's identity with the Vedic sacrifice very clear.