The roots of Tantra are very old, presumably as old as the Indus valley civilization. Gradually, the Tantra traditions became integral parts of several ancient Indic religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. All of the Tantra traditions have connection with the feminine divine. With the passage of time, it has witnessed changing connotations in its meaning, understanding and historiography. This paper probes into the interaction and influence of tantric traditions on different Indic religions. On the one hand this paper explores rituals and practices associated with tantric goddesses and on the other, the functional aspects of tantric goddesses in ancient religious settings. Different facets of Tantra like historiography of Tantra, Tantric Traditions in Hinduism and Buddhism, the influence of tantric traditions in other religions, etc. are discussed. The features of three strands of Tantra, i.e., Dakshina, Vama, and Madhyama marg are also deliberated. In this article, the Tantric methods of worship are covered in detailed which included the categories of mantra, yantra, mandala, mudra, and nyasa; the various ways of mantra sadhana, panchamakaras sadhana, shava sadhana, yoga sadhana, etc. The paper has special mention about the cults of dasamahavidyas and sixty-four yoginis. The misinterpretation of tantric symbols and rituals as obscenities and superstitions by some scholars who are ignorant about the science and mysticism of Tantra is also covered.
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