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RC Passage

Tantra is different from other traditions because it takes the whole person, and his worldly desires into account. Other spiritual traditions ordinarily teach that desire for material pleasures and spiritual aspirations are mutually exclusive, setting the stage for an endless internal struggle. Although most people are drawn into spiritual beliefs and practices, they have a natural urge to fulfill their desires. With no way to reconcile these two impulses, they fall prey to guilt and self – condemnation or become hypocritical. Tantra offers an alternative path. The tantrik approach to life avoids this pitfall. Tantra itself means “to weave, to expand, and to spread”, and according to tantrik masters, the fabric of life can provide true and ever- lasting fulfillment only when all the threads are woven according to the pattern designated by nature. When we are born, life naturally forms itself around that pattern. But as we grow, our ignorance, desire, attachment, fear, and false images of others and ourselves tangle and tear the threads, disfiguring the fabric. Tantra “sadhana” or practice reweaves the fabric, and restores the original pattern. This path is systematic and comprehensive.

The profound science and practices pertaining to hatha yoga, pranayama, mudras rituals, kundalini yoga, nada yoga, mantra, mandala, visualization of deities, alchemy, ayruveda, astrology, and hundreds of esoteric practices for generating worldly and spiritual prosperity blend perfectly in the tantrik disciplines. Proper recitation of mantras helps invoke the natural forces to produce the desired effect. “Tantrasadhana” or tantrik meditation and worship helps one attain many supernatural powers. These powers may be used for good or for bad purposes.

Directions: Consider each of the choices separately and select all that apply.

1. Which of the following is NOT related to the tantrik approach to life?

  • A. Attainment of one’s desires
  • B. Maintaining one’s spiritual beliefs alongside worldly prosperity
  • C. Meditation for attaining supernatural powers
  • D. Evade materialistic gains
  • E. Ignoring and shunning one’s desires
Answer

The correct answers are D and E.

The beginning of the passage clearly outlines the tantric philosophy as one that allows people to enjoy worldly pleasures and seek spiritual attainment at the same time. This implies that A and B are both related to the tantric approach to life and hence, both A and B are incorrect answer options to the question asked. However, E is not related to the tantric approach in life and hence, it is a correct answer option. The passage clearly brings out that the meditation procedures followed as part of the tantric approach to life can lead to attaining supernatural powers and hence, C is related to the tantric approach to life. Therefore, C is an incorrect answer option. As tantric philosophy advocates enjoying worldly pleasures, D is clearly not related to the tantric approach to life. This implies that D and E are the correct answer options.

2. The tantra philosophy advocates

  • A. following the path of nature for spiritual and materialistic fulfilment
  • B. avoiding an amalgamation of worldly pleasures with spiritual aspirations
  • C. avoiding the path that leads to guilt arising from desiring materialistic pleasures
  • D. avoiding natural way of living
  • E. following a path that builds will power for overcoming worldly desires
Answer

The correct answers are A and C.

A careful reading of the passage makes it aptly clear that tantric philosophy advocates following the path of nature and living life as nature has planned it for us. This includes enjoying worldly pleasures and attaining spiritual fulfilment. This makes it obvious that B, D and E are incorrect and A and C are the correct answers.

3. Which of the following substantiate the claim, “Tantra offers an alternative path”?

  • A. “Tantra is different from other traditions because it takes the whole person, and his worldly desires into account”
  • B. “Although most people are drawn into spiritual beliefs and practices, they have a natural urge to fulfill their desires”
  • C. “When we are born, life naturally forms itself around that pattern”
  • D. “The tantrik approach to life avoids this pitfall”
  • E. “These powers may be used for good or for bad purposes”
Answer

The correct answers are A and D.

The author uses the statement in question to bring out that tantra offers an alternative method for achieving full satisfaction from life. Option A refers to the fact that tantra is different from other spiritual traditions with respect to the principles it follows. Therefore, A implies that tantra offers an alternative path for complete satisfaction from life. D also indicates that tantra is offering an alternative path for avoiding the pitfall. Hence, A and D are correct. B, C and E refer to statements that do not substantiate the claim in question in any way whatsoever. Hence, B, C and E are all incorrect and A and D are the correct answers.

4. Which of the following best describes the relation between S1 – “teach that desire for material pleasures and spiritual aspirations are mutually exclusive” S2 – “fall prey to guilt and self-condemnation”

  • A. S1 and S2 are not related
  • B. S1 is the evidence that justifies S2
  • C. S2 is the evidence that justifies S1
  • D. S1 refutes S2
  • E. S2 can be concluded on the basis of S1
Answer

The correct answers are B and E.

It is implied that people fall prey to guilt because they are unable to give up worldly pleasures or are still attracted to them when they are expected to give them up on their path to attaining spiritual fulfilment. Hence, it is evident that S2 is the outcome of S1 and therefore, B and E are correct. This implies that A, C and D are incorrect and B and E are the correct answers.

5. Which of the following conclusions based on the contents of the passage are justified?

  • A. Renouncing materialistic pleasures sooner or later affects mental satisfaction even if one is on the path to attain spiritual fulfilment
  • B. Following spiritual beliefs precludes enjoying worldly pleasures in the tantric way of life
  • C. Tantrasadhana has a scientific aspect too which needs to be understood and mastered in order to utilize the tantra principles to their utmost potential
  • D. Renouncing materialistic pleasures does not affect mental satisfaction if one decides to take the path to attain spiritual fulfilment
  • E. Tantrasadhana is completely subjective with no scientific claims or procedures
Answer

The correct answers are A and C.

The contents of the passage make it aptly clear that the conclusion at A is justified. Hence, A is correct and D is incorrect. The term, ‘preclude’ is used to define two events that cannot coexist. This implies that B is clearly incorrect as it goes against the basic principle of tantric philosophy. The end of the passage brings out that there are many scientific practices that are involved in the tantric philosophy and the correct usage of these practices can lead to attainment of supernatural powers. Hence, C is correct and E is incorrect. Therefore, A and C are the correct answers.

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