Poison is the antidote for poison

The Tantra enforces the Vaidik rule in the cases, ritual or otherwise, for those who are governed by the vaidikacara. The Nitya-Tantra says: ‘(They (pasu) should never worship the Devi during the latter part of the day, in the evening or at night” (ratrau naiva yajeddevim samdhyayam va paranhake); for all such worship connotes maithuna prohibited to the pasu. In lieu of it, varying substitutes (1) are prescribed, such as either an offering of flowers with the hands formed into the kaccapamudra, or union with the worshipper’s own wife.

In the same way, in lieu of wine, the pasu should (if a Brahmana) take milk, (if a Ksattriya) ghee, (if a Vaisya) honey, and (if a Sudra) a liquor made from rice. Salt, ginger, sesamum, wheat, mashkalai (beans), and garlic are various substitutes for meat; and the white brinjal vegetable, red radish, masur (a kind of gram), red sesamum, and paniphala (an aquatic plant), take the place of fish. Paddy, rice, wheat, and gram generally are mudra,

The vira, or rather he who is qualified (adhikari) for viracara – since the true vira is its finished product – commences sadhana with the rajasika pancatattva first stated, which are employed for the destruction of the sensual tendencies which they connote. For the worship of Sakti the pancatattvas are declared to be essential. This Tantra declares that such worship without their use is but the practice of evil magic.

Upon this passage the commentator Jaganmohana Tarkalamkara observes as follows: Let us consider what most contributes to the fall of a man, making him forget duty, sink into sin, and die an early death. First among these are wine and women, fish, meat and mudra, and accessories. By these things men have lost their manhood. S’iva then desires to employ these very poisons in order to eradicate the poison in the human system. Poison is the antidote for poison. This is the right treatment for those who long for drink or lust for women.

The physician must, however, be an experienced one. If there be a mistake as to the application, the patient is likely to die. Siva has said that the way of kulacara is as difficult as it is to walk on the edge of a sword or to hold a wild tiger. There is a secret argument in favour of the pancatattva, and those tattvas so understood should be followed by all.(2)

None, however, but the initiate can grasp this argument, and therefore Siva has directed that it should not be revealed before anybody and everybody. An initiate, when he sees a woman, will worship her as his own mother or goddess (Istadevata), and bow before her. The Visnu-Purana says that by feeding your desires you cannot satisfy them. It is like pouring ghee on fire. Though this is true, an experienced spiritual teacher (guru) will know how, by the application of this poisonous medicine, to kill the poison of samsara. Siva has, however, prohibited the indiscriminate publication of this. The meaning of this passage would therefore appear to be this: The object of Tantrika worship is brahmasayujya, or union with Brahman. If that is not attained, nothing is attained. And, with men’s propensities as they are, this can only be attained through the special treatment prescribed by the Tantras. If this is not followed, then the sensual propensities are not eradicated, and the work for the desired end of Tantra is as useless as magic which, worked by such a man, leads only to the injury of others.

The other secret argument here referred to is that by which it is shown that the particular may be raised to the universal life by the vehicle of those same passions, which, when flowing only in an outward and downward current, are the most powerful bonds to bind him to the former. The passage cited refers to the necessity for the spiritual direction of the Guru. To the want of such is accredited the abuses of the system. When the patient (sisya) and the disease are working together, there is poor hope for the former; but when the patient, the disease, and the physician (guru) are on one, and that the wrong side, then nothing can save him from a descent on that downward path which it is the object of the sadhana to prevent. Verse 67 in Chapter I of Mahanirvana. Tantra is here, in point.

1. See as to these and post, the Kulacudamani, and chap.i of Bhairavayamala.
2. Mahanirvana-Tantra, Chapter V, verses 23, 24. (See also Kailasa Tantra, Purva Khanda, chap. xc), where reasons are given why the worship of Devi isfruitless without the five elements; and where also they are identified with the five pranas and the five mahapretas.