Tantrism in Nepal
There have been many books written about tantrism and its complexity. The belief in spirits and the effect they are believed to have on humans and their lives. Both black and evil spirits play an important role in tantrism but it is also believed that people, who are affected by these spirits, can be healed. Nepal is a major center for tantrism and has a long and rich history that became part of Nepal as early as the seventh century. Tantrism is still thriving in Nepal, however it is questionable as to how long it will be able to survive into the future.
Even though tantrism has been recorded as far back as the seventh century in Nepal, it is not certain how old Tantra itself is. Religion in Nepal is a complex combination of different beliefs, with Buddhism and Hinduism being the two central religions that have been woven together. Along with the basis of the belief, are rituals, traditions and festivals that together produce a religion that promotes peace and harmony. The dominant strain and pure strain of tantrism can be seen in many paintings and sculptures, where deities are often depicted. The artwork displays the thoughts and principles of the tantra religion. There are both Tantric Buddhists and Tantric Hindus that practice their religion in Nepal and from the earliest times, these two religions have influenced each other.
The deities that are seen in the religious art of Tantric Buddhism and Tantric Hinduism are created as spirits that have many heads and multiple arms. A deity such as Heyajratantra would be called on to bring rain, while Asokachalla can assist armies to win wars and the most popular deity of all is Hayagriva. Hayagriva is the protector of horses and nomads worship him to keep their horses safe from harm. He is depicted as having the neck and head of a horse.
The rituals and beliefs that are part of tantrism are often bloody and stomach turning, but love and the form of lovemaking is also very important to the religion. Many of the gods are allowed a female companion that is better known as the female powers of the god or his shaktis. It is therefore not unusual to see the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas in passionate embraces with their shaktis. Tantrism is a complicated religion that has many forms and is viewed with a variety of different opinions. But it has survived through many generations and is still practiced in Nepal today.