The Religion of the Aryans and the Tantra of Shiva
Over the course of 8000 years as the Aryan sages were adding new verses to the collection of hymns ( Vedas) and at the same time moving from the Caucasus via Iran and Afghanistan to Northern India they came to meet the Tantra teachings and practices of Shiva (7000 years ago). The two distinct flows mingled and effected the Atharva Veda which had its beginnings around this time.
The religion of the Aryan sages (Árśa Dharma)was full of rituals and rules for worship and for various social aspects. For example, the Vedas were called shruti because they had to be mastered by hearing and then memorizing. Even after script was invented (5600 years ago) there was resistance in writing them down due to dogmatic superstition. <<The scholars did not dare to defy the superstition>>.
It was the Aryans who brought the caste system into India. They distinguished themselves as part of the priest caste (Brahmins), or the intellectual caste (the Vipras) or the trader caste (Vaeshyas). The Aryans despised the rest of society, all the indigenous inhabitants of India and eventually classified them as the low caste (Shudras).
<< To distinguish themselves from the masses as the upholders of Aryan culture and Vedic religion, the Aryans started wearing a pigtail. Through their pigtail the Aryans proclaimed their Aryan identity, in spite of the fact that tremendous racial mixing had already occurred in India and that the skin colour of many of those who followed this custom was black. >>
<<The divine revelations experienced by the sages of the ancient Vedic age through their meditative vision have been compiled in the Vedas. Thus the Vedas have to some extent quenched the human thirst for intellectual knowledge. But they have not quenched the thirst for supreme knowledge, the fundamental thirst of human life. That thirst can only be quenched through the illuminating realizations of sádhaná [spiritual practice].>> << Lord Shiva was the first to propound it, and He gave this spiritual cult the name Tantra. Tantra is the secret behind spiritual progress.>>
<<Veda through its sacrificial rituals encourages materialism, while the Tantric cult through its mental and spiritual practice helps sádhakas (spiritual aspirants) progress towards the intuitional self – towards the Supreme Non-Attributional Reality.>>
The Aryans were fond of wine. During ritual ceremonies the wine bearers would serve wine. The priest performing the rituals had to wear an animal skin over the left shoulder to be easily identified as a priest and not served wine so that he could perform the rituals with a sober mind. The animal skin eventually became the sacred thread of the Brahmin priest class.
<<The racially chauvinistic Aryans could not remain at peace after their acceptance of Shiva as God. Thinking that the non-Aryans would make capital of this and boast about their triumph over the Aryans, they threw themselves into the task of proving that Shiva was an Aryan. .. the Aryans turned Him into a full-fledged divinity of the scriptures. To prove that he was Aryan they hung a sacred thread on his left shoulder.>>
<<The fundamental difference between the Vedic Aryan ideals and the Tantric ideals is that among the Vedic ideals, much importance is granted to racial and clan differences, while in Tantra only the ideal human gets the honour. There is very little scope for spiritual development in the prayerful Aryan religion, and that is why the Aryans who settled in India gradually became influenced by Tantra. The effectiveness of Tantra in developing personality and vigour within a short span of time made Tantra attractive to the Aryans. So in the beginning they started practising Tantra sádhaná (meditation), but with strict secrecy. During the daytime they would remain Aryans with their usual emblems – shikhá [sacred hair] and sútra [sacred thread] – but at night they would throw off their upaviita [sacred thread] and caste differences and practise Tantra sádhaná in Bhaeravii cakra (the six-pointed star).>>
<<In the Vedic system there is no such strong preceptor-disciple relationship, for Vedic knowledge is completely theoretical. In Tantra emphasis is placed not only on the selection of competent masters and worthy disciples, but also on the need for disciples to make a total surrender to the preceptor in the early stages of the Tantric path.>>
The Tantric spiritual practice where taught by Shiva to the local indigenous people and the Mediterranean Caucasians and the Indo-Tibetans. Later on, it was learnt by the Mongolians and the Alpine Caucasians, and still later by the Nordic Caucasians.
<<Shiva showed human beings how to attain peace; and that path to supreme peace should not be called a path of ordinary attainment, but of supreme attainment. Here the spiritual realization is aparokśánubhúti – is direct. This path, as shown by Shiva, is known as Shaeva Dharma>>
Text in brackets <<>> by Shrii PR Sarkar