(Last Updated on : 07-01-2011)
Tapas in Tantric practice is described as the form of Divine energy which exists within the human body. Tapas is a heightened aspiration which absorbs the subsidiary interests and attachments. It is the real interest and assimilation in the spiritual life. Tapas is a Sanskrit word and it is derived from "tap" which denotes "to consume by heat", "to mortify the body" or "to undergo severe penance". It implies the concentration of senses and the mind and dexterity of will and thought.
Tapas finds expression through heart and liberates the soul from the fantasy and smoothens the way towards self realization. This is the real inner movement of Tapas. Goddess Bhairavi who is the supreme power of speech represents the real wrath and anger. Goddess Bhairavi is the real energy of Tapas. It is her power of purification and transformation that guides the true Tapas. This is practiced by those who are seeking knowledge as well as lead a life of Brahmacharya. Goddess Bhairavi controls the senses, the emotions and wandering thoughts and guides the attempt of any spiritual concentration in the right way. One can control their minds and achieve silence through Tapas. One who practices Tapas can offer his thoughts into the flame of awareness to honour the Goddess.
Tapas is a striving for Moksha
. It is also practiced to achieve perfection in a particular field of knowledge or work. It may also be assumed as a sacrament to liberate oneself from the consequences of a sin. It confers abilities upon the one who practices in it which makes it easier for one to be detached from the worldly life.
Tapas is of three types. The highest form is Satvik Tapas which purifies the mind and body for self-realization. Pranayama
is the other form of Tapas. This is a process through which physical heat is generated in one's body. Rajasic Tapas is the type of Tapas which is practiced by fasting continuously and exposing the body to the elements of heat and cold in order to drive away desires and attachments. The third type of austerity is tamasic Tapas which is practiced by forcing the body thereby affecting the mind. This is the reason why tapas is practiced in Tantra as its purpose is to rise above addictions.