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RC Passage

Tantrik practices mainly aim at the illumination through the unification of polarities inherent in the world and one’s self. These opposites are symbolically subsumed as “Shiva” and “Shakti” or consciousness and energy, personified as male and female forces of nature. Shiva, the Destroyer, represents universal consciousness diffused throughout the galaxies, while Shakti, the Divine Mother, is the power swinging in a celestial dance, between energy and matter, giving birth to all creation, both tangible and transcendent. Long ago, tantrik masters discovered that to be successful externally or internally we must first awaken our latent power, for only those who are strong and blessed with great stamina reach the final destination. The key to success is the Shakti – the power of the soul, the power of divine force within. Although every individual possesses an infinite and indomitable Shakti (power), most of it remains dormant. Without this Shakti, we can neither find spiritual illumination nor enjoy worldly life. Unfortunately, a large number of tantrik enthusiasts, in both the West and the East, mistakenly identify tantra as the yoga of sex, black magic, witchcraft, seduction, and an amalgam of techniques for influencing the minds of others. This is due, at least in part, to the fact that tantra is both a spiritual path and a science. As a spiritual path, it emphasizes on the purification of mind and heart, cultivating a spiritually illuminating philosophy of life. As a science, it experiments with techniques whose efficacy depends on the precise application of “mantra” and “yantra”, ritual use of specific materials, and the performance of tantrik mudras and accompanying mental exercises. In the layman’s language, such practices can be thought of as tantrik formulae. They will yield a result if properly applied, regardless of the character, spiritual understanding or intention of the practitioner. When this scientific aspect of tantra falls into the hands of charlatans, it is inevitably misused giving tantra a bad name. Fortunately, however, there are still tantrik masters, authentic scriptures to undercut such false and distorted notions and make it possible for us to gain a better understanding of this sublime path.

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

1. Tantra earns a bad name when the aspects of tantra are misused by

  • A. tantric enthusiasts in the West
  • B. people who pretend to have more knowledge of tantra than they actually posses
  • C. people who are masters of tantra
  • D. people who are unable to find spiritual illumination
  • E. quacks
Answer

The correct answers are B and E.

The author clearly brings out that tantra earns a bad name when it is misused by charlatans. The word ‘charlatan’ is used to refer to someone who pretends to have more knowledge about something than he actually has; in other words, a quack. This implies that A, C and D are clearly incorrect. B and E refer to the correct meaning of charlatan and hence, B and E are the correct answers.

2. ‘Shakti’ is the power that gives birth to creation that is

  • A. conceptual and simple
  • B. imperceptible and abstract
  • C. discernible and magnificent
  • D. corporeal and extraordinary
  • E. concrete and conventional
Answer

The correct answers are C and D.

It has been brought out that the Shakti gives birth to creation that is both tangible and transcendent. The word ‘tangible’ is used to refer to something that is physically real or substantial and is discernible by touch. ‘Transcendent’ refers to something that is supreme or that surpasses ordinary. This implies that A, B and E are clearly incorrect. ‘Corporeal’ and ‘discernible’ mean the same as ‘tangible’ and hence, C and D are the correct answers.

3. Which of the following is NOT true in respect of ‘Shakti’?

  • A. It is a power that resides within only those who practice tantra
  • B. One cannot be spiritually contended unless one does not invoke the ‘Shakti’ within
  • C. It is a power used for controlling one’s mind as well as the minds of others
  • D. It is the female personification of the forces of nature
  • E. Success in life can be achieved easily by awakening the ‘Shakti’ within
Answer

The correct answers are A and C.

It has been brought out in the passage that every individual possesses an infinite Shakti and hence, A is not true in respect of Shakti and therefore, A is a correct answer option. The content of the passage implies that B and E are both incorrect answer options. In the beginning of the passage the author has clearly defined Shakti as the female personification of the forces of nature and hence, D is an incorrect answer option. C refers to the misunderstanding that certain people have in respect of the tantra philosophy. C is not related to Shakti at all and therefore, A and C are the correct answer options.

4. Which of the following has been used to substantiate the claim that tantra is a science?

  • A. It involves experiments in various forms
  • B. It advocates a spiritual philosophy of life
  • C. It is based on explicit application of various rituals and exercises
  • D. It involves Shakti
  • E. It can be misused by people
Answer

The correct answers are A and C.

It has been brought out that tantra is both a science and a spiritual path. A and C refer to the evidence that has been provided by the author in support of the claim that tantra is a science. B refers to the fact that tantra has a spiritual aspect too. D and E are not related to the scientific aspects of tantra. Therefore, B, D and E are incorrect and A and C are the correct answers.

5. Which of the following best describes the function of ‘tantra is both a spiritual path and a science’ in the passage?

  • A. It substantiates a claim made in the preceding sentence
  • B. It refutes the claim made in the preceding sentence
  • C. It provides the evidence for a claim made in the preceding sentence
  • D. It has not major purpose
  • E. It provides the claim that is being discussed in the succeeding sentences.
Answer

The correct answers are A, C and E.

The sentence preceding the claim in question states that tantra is mistaken as a dark science by many people. The sentence in question clearly gives out the explanation as to why tantra has earned the reputation being discussed in the preceding sentence. Moreover, the succeeding sentences explain how tantra is both a science and a spiritual path. This implies that B and D are incorrect and A, C and E are the correct answers.

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