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Among the various ancient Indian religious and semi-religious practices, tantra cult has got the most widespread recognition and popularity all over the world. The reason for this popularity of tantra has hardly been from academic, spiritual or philosophical interests. On the contrary, it has been associated with promises of achievements of magical and supernatural powers through the esoteric tantra cult. Another important reason for mushroom growth of tantra societies all over the world is related to promises of enhancement of sexual power and intensity of sexual enjoyment, and restoration of lost sexual potency of old people through tantra practices.
In India, tantra cult has assumed a bad reputation among ordinary people and mystery, guilt psychosis and fear have been associated with this esoteric cult. The reasons for this are the sexual and drinking orgies prevalent among most of the tantra practitioners, the heinous practice of sacrifice of animals and even human beings to the mother goddess (goddess Kali/Tara) worshipped by most of the tantriks, and the belief in mischief making supernatural powers of the tantriks.
Tantra itself is not a religion and it has penetrated most of the major religious and sub-religious communities not only in India but also in Tibet, China proper, Japan and many other countries (esp. Asian) of which religious communities have their origins in India. In India there are innumerable tantra based societies and individual tantriks as gurus (teachers) with their circles of disciples. It can be said, in brief, that tantra cult has so far been esoteric and occult, and shrouded in mystery, superstition and associated with a climate of horror and mischief.
Nevertheless, there are many aspects of tantra which are scientifically verifiable and the effects of which are beneficial for individuals and the human society.
This article endeavors to identify and isolate the scientific and beneficial from the stupendous garbage of falsehood, superstition and mysticism. This is, however, only a humble beginning, but the author expects that this would inspire more competent and erudite researchers to carry forward the task initiated by this article.