I'm a westerner with a deep love for the indic wisdom traditions.

How does someone like me go about being initiated into Tantra?

Does doing so block me from being initiated into Buddhist Tantra?

  • 1
    It is possible if he or she finds the right Guru who is willing to initiate.. It is allowed by Tantras that anyone can be initiated into it unlike Vedic initiation .. see this answer (hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/23248/4732) .. For a westerner, who is without any Varna (from the Hindu perspective) will be required to undergo more purificatory processes compared to a Hindu. That is all. One prime example of a foreigner getting initiated by a Tantric Guru is Arthur Avalon. So it is very much possible and approved by Tantras as well.
    – Rickross
    Commented May 15, 2022 at 6:18

1 Answer 1


Ques - How can a westerner be initiated into Tantra?

Tantra is open to all, free from any birth, caste, varna, creed, gender, place of origin, etc. kind of barriers.

A Westerner can certainly be initiated by finding a qualified preceptor (guru) learned in the tantras. Giving the exact initiation procedure is, I think, out of the scope of this answer, and perhaps the site too, for there are several lineages and traditions depending upon the sect.

The only requirement is to seek a learned guru (sat-guru). Sometimes, it is even said, if one is qualified, the guru himself will find such a disciple. The right guru shall obviously know all the procedures of initiation, and even if you make a mistake, if you're devoted to the guru, the guru will protect you from unfavorable outcomes, as goes the popular maxim -

Śrīmad Devi-Bhāgavatapurāṇa 7.36.23

शिवे रुष्टे गुरुस्त्राता गुरौ रुष्टे न शङ्करः । तस्मात्सर्वप्रयत्‍नेन श्रीगुरुं तोषयेन्नग ॥

"If Śiva, becomes angry, the Guru can save; but when the Guru becomes angry, Śaṅkara cannot save. So the Guru should be served with the utmost care."

So, to answer -

Ques - How does someone like me go about being initiated into Tantra?

The short answer is seeking a righteous qualified guru from a traditional lineage of a recognized Tantric sect, and following the guidelines of the sect, and the guidance and commands of your guru, if they're willing to take you as a disciple.

Regarding the scriptural sanction on the eligibility (adhikāra) of anyone who's a seeker in the Tantras,

I'm quoting from the work - 'Shakti and Shakta', of a very learned scholar & student of the Tantras & Āgamas, Sir John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon)

Chapter VI - Śakti and Śākta

The Moslem Author of the Dabistan (ii. 154. Ed. 1843) says “The Āgamas favours both sexes equally. Men and women equally compose mankind. This sect hold women in great esteem and call them Śaktis and to ill-treat a Śakti that is a woman is a crime.” The Śākta Tantras again allow of women being Guru, or Spiritual Director, a reverence which the West has not (with rare exceptions) yet given them. Initiation by a Mother bears eightfold fruit. Indeed to the enlightened Śākta the whole universe is Strī or Śakti. “Ahaṃ strī" as the Advaitabhāva Upaniṣad says. A high worship therefore which can be offered to the Mother to-day consists in getting rid of abuses which have neither the anthoritp of ancient Śāstra, nor of modern social science, and to honour, cherish, educate and advance women (Śakti). Striyo devāh striyah prānāh.

Gautamīya Tantra says -

sarvavarnādhikāraścha nārīnām yogya eva cha;

that is, the Tāntra Śāstra is for all castes and for women.

The Mahānirvāṇa Tantra says -

that the low Kaula who refuses to initiate a Chaṇḍāla or Yavana or a woman out of disrespect goes the downward path.

No one is excluded from anything except on the grounds of real and not artificial or imagined incompetency.

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