The difference between Yoga and Tantra

Yoga believes in struggle; Yoga is basically the path of will. Tantra does not believe in a struggle; Tantra is not the path of will. Rather, on the contrary, Tantra is the path of total surrender. Your will is not needed. For Tantra your will is the problem, the source of all anguish. For Yoga your surrender, your will-lessness is the problem. Because your will is weak, that is why you are in anguish, suffering – for Yoga. For Tantra, because you have a will, because you have an ego, an individuality, that is why you are suffering. Yoga says, bring your will to absolute perfection and you will be liberated. Tantra says, dissolve your will completely, become totally emptied of it, and that will be your liberation. Both are right; this creates the problem. For me, both are right. But the path of Yoga is a very difficult one. It is just impossible, nearly impossible, that you can attain to the perfection of the ego. It means you become the center of the whole universe. The path is very long, arduous, and really, it never reaches to the end. So what happens to the followers of Yoga? Somewhere on the path, in some life, they turn to Tantra. Intellectually Yoga is conceivable; existentially it is impossible. If it is possible you will reach by Yoga also, but generally it never happens. Even if it happens, it happens very rarely, such as to a Mahavir. Sometimes centuries and centuries pass and then a man like Mahavir appears who has achieved through Yoga. But he is rare, an exception, and he breaks the rule. But Yoga is more attractive than Tantra. Tantra is easy, natural, and you can attain through Tantra very easily, very naturally, effortlessly. Because of this, Tantra never appeals to you as much. Why? Anything that appeals to you appeals to your ego. Whatsoever you feel is going to fulfill your ego will appeal to you more. You are gripped in the ego; thus Yoga appeals to you very much. Really, the more egoistic you are, the more Yoga will appeal to you, because it is pure ego effort. The more impossible, the more it is appealing to the ego. That is why Mount. Everest has so much appeal. There is so much attraction to reach to the top of a Himalayan peak because it is so difficult. When Hillary and Tensing reached Mount. Everest they felt a very ecstatic moment. What was that? It was because the ego was fulfilled ; they were the first. When the first man landed on the moon, can you imagine how he felt? He was the first in all of history. Now he cannot be replaced; he will remain the first in all the history to come. Now there is no way to change his status. The ego is fulfilled deeply. There is no competitor now, and there cannot be. Many will land on the moon but they will not be the first. But many can land on the moon and many can go to Everest – Yoga gives you a higher peak. And the more unreachable the end, the more there is the perfection of the ego – pure, perfect, absolute ego. Yoga would have appealed to Nietzsche very much because he felt that the energy which is working behind life is the energy of will – the will to power. Yoga gives you that feeling. You are more powerful through it. The more you can control yourself, the more you can control your instincts, the more you can control your body and the more you can control your mind, then the more you feel powerful. You become a master inside. But this is through conflict; this is through struggle and violence. It always happens, more or less, that a person who has been practicing Yoga for many lives comes to a point where the whole journey becomes drab, dreary and futile because the more ego is fulfilled, the more you will feel it is useless. Then the follower of the path of Yoga turns to Tantra. But Yoga appeals because everyone is an egoist. Tantra never appeals in the beginning. Tantra can appeal only to the higher depths – to those who have worked on themselves, who have really been struggling through Yoga for many lives. Then Tantra appeals to them because they can understand. Ordinarily you will not be attracted by Tantra, and if you are attracted you will be attracted by the wrong reasons, so try to understand them also. You will not be attracted by Tantra in the first place because it asks you to surrender, not to fight. It asks you to float, not to swim. It asks you to move with the current, not to go upstream. It tells you nature is good; trust nature, do not fight it. Even sex is good. Trust it, follow it, flow into it; do not fight it. “No-fight” is the central teaching of Tantra. Flow. Let go! It cannot appeal, there is no fulfillment of your ego through it. In the first step it asks for your ego to be dissolved, in the very beginning it asks you to dissolve it. Yoga also asks you, but at the end. First it will ask you to purify it. And if it is purified completely it dissolves, it cannot remain. But that is the last in Yoga, and in Tantra that is the first. So Tantra will not appeal generally. And if it does appeal, it will appeal for wrong reasons. For example, if you want to indulge in sex then you can rationalize your indulgence through Tantra. That can become the appeal. If you want to indulge in wine, in women, in other things, you can feel attracted toward Tantra. But really, you are not attracted to Tantra. Tantra is a façade, a trick. You are attracted to something else which you think Tantra allows you. So Tantra always appeals for wrong reasons. Tantra is not to help your indulgence, it is to transform it. I have heard that Mulla Nasruddin was interested in girls, but he had very bad luck with girls; no one would like him. He was going to meet a certain girl for the first time, so he asked a friend, “What is your secret? You are wonderful with women, you simply hypnotize them, and I am always a failure. So give me some clue. I am going on a date for the first time with a girl, so give me some secrets.” The friend said, “Remember three things: always talk about food, family and philosophy.” “Why about food?” Mulla asked. The friend said, “I talk about food because then the girl feels good – because every woman is interested in food. She is food for the child, for the whole humanity she is food, so she is basically interested in food.” Mulla said, “Okay. And why family?” So the man said, “Talk about her family so your intentions look honorable.” Then Mulla said, “And why about philosophy?” The man said, “Talk about philosophy. That makes the woman feel that she is intelligent.” So Mulla rushed away and immediately, when he saw a girl, he said, “Hello, do you like noodles?” The girl was startled and said, “No!” Then the Mulla asked the second question: “Have you got two brothers?” The girl was even more startled and wondered, “What type of date is this?” She said, “No!” So for a moment Mulla was at a loss. He wondered, “How to start talking about philosophy?” Just for a moment he was at a loss, and then he asked, “Now, if you had a brother, would he like noodles?” If you are really flowing with sex energy, totally surrendered, sooner or later you will arrive at the point where you will know that sex cannot only give birth to a new life: sex can give you more life. To lovers sex can become a life-giving force, but for that you need a surrender. And once you are surrendered, many dimensions change. Philosophy is more or less nonsense. Tantra is not interested in philosophy; Tantra is interested in actual existential life. So Tantra never asks whether there is a God or whether there is moksha, liberation, or whether there is hell or heaven. Tantra asks basic questions about life. That is why there is so much interest in sex and love. They are basic. you are through them; you are part of them. You are a play of sex energy and nothing else, and unless you understand this energy and transcend it you will never be anything more. You are, right now, nothing but sex energy. You can be more, but if you do not understand this and you do not transcend it you never will be more. The possibility is just there as a seed. That is why Tantra is interested in sex, in love, in natural life. But the way to know it is not through conflict. Tantra says you cannot know anything if you are in a fighting mood because then you are not receptive. Then because you are fighting the secrets will be hidden from you – you are not open to receive. And whenever you are fighting you are always outside. If you are fighting sex you are always outside; if you surrender to sex you reach the very inner core of it; you are an insider. If you surrender; then many things become known. You have been in sex, but always with a fighting attitude behind it. That is why you have not known many secrets. For example, you have not known the life-giving forces of sex. You have not them known because you cannot know – that needs you to be an insider. If you are really flowing with sex energy, totally surrendered, sooner or later you will arrive at the point where you will know that sex cannot only give birth to a new life: sex can give you more life. To lovers sex can become a life-giving force, but for that you need a surrender. And once you are surrendered, many dimensions change. For example, Tantra has known, Tao has known that if you ejaculate in the act, then it cannot be life-giving to you. There is no need to ejaculate; ejaculation can be totally forgotten. Tantra and Tao both say ejaculation is because you are fighting; otherwise there is no need of it. The lover and the beloved can be in a deep sexual embrace, just relaxing into each other with no hurry to ejaculate, with no hurry to end the affair. They can just relax into each other. And if this relaxation is total, they both will feel more life. They both will enrich each other. Osho, The Book of Secrets