The Cult of Ecstasy

Hugh B. Urban

in Tantra

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780520230620
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936898 | DOI:
The Cult of Ecstasy

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Tantra has emerged as a “cult of ecstasy”: an ideal wedding of sexuality and spirituality that provides a much needed corrective to the prudish, repressive, modern West. In the process, it has also spawned a variety of new spiritual forms, such as American Tantra, neo-Tantra, and even the Church of Tantra. This chapter discusses the increasing fusion between East and West, as in our own time Tantra becomes more and more a part of popular culture and New Age religion. It examines the widespread popular impact of Tantra as manifest in the Tantrik Order in America, the “sex magick” of Aleister Crowley, the cult of Osho-Rajneesh, and the growing search for Tantric ecstasy online, in the strange new world of cyberspace. We might even say that the contemporary appropriation of Tantra—with its fusion of spirituality and materialism, sacred transcendence and this-worldly profit—has in many ways become the ideal religion of late-twentieth-century Western consumer culture, or perhaps even the “spiritual logic of late capitalism.”.

Keywords: Tantra; cult of ecstasy; sexuality; spirituality; India; New Age religion; Tantrik Order; sex magick; Osho-Rajneesh; materialism

Chapter.  24472 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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