The word “Tantra” in the Sanskrit-English Dictionary means the leading, principal, or essential part, a system or framework, a doctrine, rule, theory, scientific work, or a class of works teaching magical and mystical formularies. Tantra is usually not associated with the Ṛigveda, although it is a key feature. The Rigveda is the teaching of the Superintendent of Schools, and is not about magical and mystical formularies, but a system for humans to be happy upon the earth, a way to live in peace and attaining a state of heavenly bliss.
Another feature of Tantra is the correlation between macrocosm and microcosm, heaven and earth. Heaven and earth are outside of us for a place to exist and aspire to, and inside of us. The body has a limited lifetime, but the “I” will go on to be reborn with a new skin. The merry-go-round of life is a chakra, or cakra Sanskrit, and it means a circle or a cycle.
In the literature, you will find reference to five, seven, or more chakras located in the human body. These are mystical circles and are areas of greater psychic nerve ganglia than elsewhere in the body. The most prevalent theory is that seven chakras connect to a psychic channel in the backbone, the first chakra being located at the base of the torso and the seventh at the crown of the head.
The name given to the first chakra in the literature is Muladhara, or Mū́lâdhāra, and the Sanskrit-English Dictionary says it is a mystical circle situated above the generative organs, at the navel. The word Mū́la means a foundation or the first and dhāra means holding or supporting, and according to the Sacred Text, a foundational practice is holding the breath within the navel. In the literature, you will find that the location and number of chakras vary, how they look, what they do and so on. There are many books on the subject with many differences of opinion. It is a difficult subject to come to grips with because they are not physical structures, but psychic and not seen with the physical eyes.
Luckily, when we study the original teaching, there is no mention of mystical circles. The Sanskrit word appears quite often in the Ṛigveda and it means a circle or a cycle, and does not refer to the psychic centers in the body. We find in their place, three places of special importance in the body, the navel or womb, the heart, and the top of the head. Remember, Grandfather separates into heaven and earth and they are within us. The Goddess of the Earth is in the womb and connected to the God of Heaven by a channel, and the teaching is to bring both together as one.
The human body in the Ṛigveda is a nonentity, a person is a mover, a goer, a descendant, and the ego is the entity that inhabits the body. Interestingly, the ego, the “I” is also a nonentity, but is deluded into thinking it is an entity and a master of the body. We say the body is ours, we claim it for our self, a most precious possession, yet we have very little control over it. If we were the master of the body we would never be sick and would always experience happiness, but the body is non-self. In the translations of Wilson and Griffith, the body is a chariot and it is like that. If you plan to walk from point A to point B, the chariot will take you there. During the trip, you will find that you have lots of free time to look about and think about the three times of past, present or future.
The body may be the most precious, but it is non-self. The nourishment of food, water, and the Breath of God maintain the body. In the Veda, the air around us is called “that which is alive” so bring it into the non-entity to bring it to life. Most people are ignorant of the critical activity keeping the body alive. Such activity carries on without a person’s knowledge and the air is crucial for every activity. Everything moves because of the wind. All of the important activities of keeping the body alive are automatic, so people can be engaged in whatever, but the teaching is to give back for the gift of life.