Hinduism and Judaism share an overwhelming majority of principle in their Tantric and Kabbalistic systems. Contrary to popular belief, Hinduism and Judaism are both monotheistic religions, however differ in their worship toward deities. Judaism is a strictly monotheistic religion in terms of deity worship while Hindu tradition worships many deities. Tantra and Kabbalah, the mystical aspects of their respective religions ultimately overlap on principles of abstract level topics. This research is grossly complex and requires years of study to understand its vastness.
Tantra literally means ‘an instrument for expansion’. Kabbalah literally means ‘receiving through’. The idea behind both is that the body is a garment for the soul. Mystical teachings of the Kabbalah explain the conception of this world in a way that The One giving infinitely created receiver “within” its infiniteness. In order for this to occur, the Infinite One needed to contract it’s infiniteness and create lack in order to make space for the finite universe. The One continuously creates lack in order to fill the lack which is referring to the act of contraction and expansion, the birth of animate and inanimate objects, ideas etc. Tantra’s view on contraction and expansion lines up with the Kabbalistic view. Tantra explains that these two movements are at play in every aspect of life and our bodies. When these two energies are in balance, it brings us to a state of equilibrium or freedom, but when they are out of balance, we will experience lack of clarity and suffering.
Ritual seems a foreign concept and deeply misunderstood to the Westerner who was taught to intellectualize everything. Ritual is a concrete action performed with intent of spiritual elevation. In the Tantric tradition, one does a ritual in order to connect with Divinity. One must have a specific intention to a vision or higher realm as he performs a ritual. Tantra suggests that by weaving the action with specific intention, one shifts his state of consciousness. Kabbalah describes a similar concept in the performance of a Mitzvah, which is a commanded ritualistic action. One must have Kavanah, focus or a pathway for the intrinsic power or sphere of influence to be achieved. Both Tantra and Kabbalah convert regular actions into acts that affect the Unity of matter and consciousness, concrete and abstract.
Just as the physical body is garment of the soul, the universe is is a vessel for Divine manifestation. What we experience is nothing other than concrete, tangible manifestation of Divine energy which That One constantly creates, maintains and destroys. Consider this One having to contract itself and consequently, split or divide. Out of this idea comes the masculine/feminine principle. In Tantra, these principles are understood through Shiva and Shakti while in Kabbalah, there is no particular masculine name, but it’s feminine counterpart is named Shekhina.
Tantra’s feminine principle is represented by Shakti. She is Shiva’s counterpart. Shakti is representing consciousness or the forces which are flowing throughout the universe. She is the personification of creativity, power, birthing abstractness into life. She represents the immanent aspect of the Divine. In Kabbalah, the Shekhinah is the feminine aspect of The One and similarly characterized as Shakti. She is the feminine Divine presence. Her name literally means “dwelling” or “settling” in feminine grammar. It may be a surprise that there is goddess associated with Judaism, but her principal was introduced in Biblical times and continues to represent itself today. She is simultaneously dwelling in various places with many people. She is the act of dwelling, the aspect of That One who dwelt amongst people and may be apprehended by the senses. She is the manifestation of His presence on earth. She is loving, maternal and ready to defend her people even from the masculine principle Himself.
The ultimate Work is to reach a state of Oneness, called Yichud or Achdut HaShem in the Kabbalah. When combined together, matter and consciousness, like ritual and intention, we may actively shift the proximity of these two forces closer together and unify them. Both Tantra and Kabbalah agree on the law that the universe as we know it, is maintained by two fundamental polar opposite forces. Their unity is considered two parts of the same Divine. We are bringing together Him and His Consort, and this manifests within Their singularity, the world. This Oneness may be described as nondualism.
Phenomenon of nonduality does not disregard the reality of existing opposites, however states that the root of existing evil is found in not recognizing the Truth, that everything is inseparable from the control and guidance of The Supreme One’s intelligence.
Here is where meditation, visualization, chanting and Guru/Rebbe worship comes into play. When a person meditates on these things, he will likely be in awe of the hidden all pervading Source and it’s handiwork. Intense pleasure is greatly associated with this state. One expands and his body, mind and soul will crave to love the Infinite. Guru’s and Rebbe’s are spiritual leaders who give over knowledge, guidance and mentorship, typically through modeling. Their students don’t necessarily learn new facts or information, but they learn how to BE. They are granted an emotional understanding which supplies them with what is finally known as correct knowledge. Thus the student is able to see a thing in its true nature, for what it really is.
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