No matter which path of tantra one practices, which school of Tantra one belongs to, there are some common aspects of Tantra, which applies to any tantra practitioner.
The following are three major pillars of tantra.
1. Tantra – Here the word tantra represents the following components
- Teacher/Guru – A skilled and experienced master or a teacher who knows how to impart the knowledge to their student, guide them and able to protect from any pitfalls
- Skills/Techniques – The actual body of knowledge for the practice.
- Diksha/Initiation – A teacher initiates a student to a tantric practice usually using a mantra
2. Mantra – On gross level, mantra are special sound patterns, but on deeper level, mantra is the vehicle of consciousness. It is considered that world is materialized and shaped through mantra. Mantra acts as the link between form and formless – the pure consciousness. Thus, it is said that without mantra, there is no tantra.
3. Yantra/Mandala – They are geometric structure or diagram used for rituals or worship. During the tantric practice yantra/mandala becomes the center of the universe symbolically. They are considered as the form of consciousness. They are precise geometric constructions and have a rich symbolism which when explored gives a deeper understanding of self and the Divine. These structures can be also visualized.
Thus, Tantra, Mantra and Yantra are three pillars of Tantra system, and Yoga is the practical application of the Tantra. Any Tantric practice without application of Yoga can lead the practitioner into wrong direction such as bloated ego, or indulgence etc.