Between religion and philosophy
The word Tantra is derived from the Sanskrit root "tan" (expand) and means: all-encompassing knowledge. From the ancient tantric philosophy emerged the esoteric form of Hinduism and later of Buddhism. Tantrism is the origin of the teachings of kundalini and the chakras. Its knowledge emphasizes the identity of absolute and phenomenal world. The goal is the union with the Absolute and the recognition of the ultimate reality. Because it is assumed that reality has an energetic nature, spirit and matter are not completely separate and microcosm and macrocosm interlinked, Tantrism interpretes physical actions as a mirror of inner mental states. The Hindu Tantrism is life-affirmative and uses psycho-experimental techniques for self-realization and experience of the world in whose elements Absolute reveales itself. Tantra does not consider negatively the physical world, but uses it in order to achieve a union with the Divine. Tantrism is linked with the worshipping of the Divine Mother, Shakti. She is expression of the creative power of God and available in the human body as kundalini-energy. The kundalini-snake is curled at the base of the spine. Once awaked she rises up and opens, during her intinery, the various chakras (wheels - subtle energy centers) to then arrive on the top (the crown chakra - Sahasrara) to their fuse with the male aspect of God: Shiva. Just as Shiva and Shakti in Ardhanarishvara (half man, half woman) are united, so is the right half of each person male and corresponds to Shiva, while the left half is female and corresponds to Shakti.