Tantra

"They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. In their gray visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in awaking, to find that they have been upon the verge of the great secret."On a large hill of ashes accumulated over the centuries, a man stokes a funeral pyre at a cremation ground also used for Tantric rituals.A Tantric sadhu meditates on a seat of human skulls.Men performing a Tantric ritual at a cremation ground in Bengal.A yantra, or mystic diagram , that is equivalent to the goddess herself, drawn on the spot where a sacrificial fire will be built later.Tantric practitioners call down the mother goddess.A Tantric sadhu or holy man.A Tantric priest leads people in a a ritual of offerings to the mother goddess.An entranced woman possessed by the goddess during a Tantric ritual.At a ceremony in a cremation ground, a Tantric priest calls out to the mother goddess.A Tantric sadhu or holy man.A Tantrika sits in meditation at the cremation ground in Tarapith, an important center of Tantric ritual..The Kamakhya temple in Assam, an ancient site of Tantric worship.Tantrikas make offerings of to an image of the mother goddess in the Kamakhya temple.A Tantrika sits with the sacrificial goat he has brought as an offering to the goddess.A Tantric mother and her eunuch attendant rest under a sacred tree at the Kamakhya temple.A holy man praying and meditating outside the Kamakhya temple.A man sings devotional songs to the mother goddess, while the one behind him looks adoringly up at the temple.Tantrikas offering music and songs to the goddess.Devotees sit in meditation and prayer outside the Kamakhya temple.A Tantric sadhu sits in a yogic posture. A Tantric medicine man wrapping up some herbs for a customer.Herbs and animal bones used for medicinal and ritualistic purposes by Tantric shamans and medicine men.A Tantric shaman performing a ritual.A Tantric shaman sways in a trance.Pilgrims at the Kamakhya temple come to worship the mother goddess.A man petitions the goddess Kali at a temple in Calcutta.A devotee in Calcutta dances before an image of the goddess Durga.An image of the goddess Durga stands outside an idol workshop in Calcutta.Idols of the goddess Kali in a workshop.Images of the goddess Sarasvati.Images of the goddess Manasa.Sarasvati images in an idol workshop in Calcutta.A priest in a temporary shrine to Durga performing a ceremony during an annual festival devoted to that goddess.Men load an image of Durga onto a riverboat.A craftsman making a Kali image for Kali Puja.Unfinished images of Kali outside an idol workshop in Calcutta.A craftsman sculpting the face of Durga.Workmen load river clay onto a cart to deliver it to the nearby idol workshops in Kumartuli.A pile of clay sits outside a workshop. A finished idol of the goddess Kali stands inside.A craftsman in his workshop in Kamurtuli. An unfinished image of Kali sits drying outside.Unpainted images of the goddess Kali.A woman and her children walk past skeletons and other images of death that are often seen accompanying the goddess Kali.Finished images of the goddess Kali.The Kali temple in Dakshineshwar, associated with the Tantric saint Ramakrishna.Porters carry a finished Kali idol from the potters' workshop to a vehicle for transport to the customer.A temporary shrine to the goddess Kali. During Kali Puja, the yearly festival devoted to the goddess, people erect thousands of temporary shrines where the goddess can descend and be worshiped. At the end of the celebrations the goddess departs, and the vacated idols are thrown into the river.Tantrikas perform rituals at the cremation ground in Tarapith. In the background, people stand around a funeral pyre.A Tantric practitioner.Like in Vedic times, a man pours oblations of clarified butter onto a sacrificial fire.Stray dogs lurk in the cremation ground, waiting for an opportunity to eat the offerings of the Tantric fire sacrifice.A Tantric sadhu in a cloud of marijuana smoke.A Tantric practitioner holds offerings to his heart and chants mantras before throwing them into the fire.A Tantric sadhu or holy man.Human skulls at a Tantric altar.A Tantrika momentarily places his neck between the posts used for goat sacrifices, an offering of the self to the goddess.Offerings of lotus flowers for the mother goddess.A holy woman in Tantric practice.A Tantric sadhu or holy man.An entranced woman, at some stage of possession by the goddess, lies on the ground.Tantrikas perform a ritual in a cremation ground while a corpse burns nearby.A Tantric holy man camping in a cremation ground plays an ektara and sings to the goddess.A Tantric sadhu with a human skull.