Sex and Enlightment: the Modern Perception of Tantra in India and the West
Indian Tantric rituals have been increasingly associated with the Indian erotic arts like Kāma Sūtra and also with Western erotic-occult practices. The present paper represents an attempt to reflect upon the historical and cultural changes related to the diverse constructions of Tantra by discussing the various critical approaches and interpretations of Tantra in the West. How has Tantra assumed such a central place in postmodern, popular Western culture as techniques of a purely sexual enjoyment? And why were so many intellectuals in the West fascinated by those controversial Indian religious practices? For these purposes the paper applies historical and critical discourse analyses. The conclusion is that Tantra was approached by westerners as a part of New Age religiosity because it was ideologically a most convienent legitimization of sexual liberty.
Key Words: neotantra, hinduism, colonialism, New Age religions, sexuality