Before the Vedas, there was Tantra. Tantra is a path to liberation through living awake and aware, integrating divinity into the physical world and seeing the holiness of all things. It is a practice of mantra, homa, puja and Devi worship, originally led by village women. Women are the gurus who teach their Kaula (small groups of students) and give Diksha (initiation) to men and women.
This tradition was distorted by male priesthoods and conventional religion. It was diverted from the woman-led tradition and corrupted into practices that exploit and objectify women. In later times, it has been denigrated into nothing more than sexual workshops. The true woman guru holding the power of Shakta Kaula has almost disappeared.
The original tradition, however, continued to be taught by a woman guru known as Sri Mataji Pragya Devi . Mataji was a Bengali Tantrika, trained in lineage of Gorakhnath Siddha. Her guru had spent years looking for the right woman disciple, a strong woman who could restore the feminine path. Mataji was raised in a village in Bengal. When she was 15 her parents began to encourage her to find a husband. Mataji refused them, saying, Lord Shiva is the only husband for me.
In time, Mataji mastered the Shakta Tantra path and began teaching students in her kaula. She only took ten students at a time. One of them was Jyoti Ma, an American woman who had been living in India for ten years, studying the ancient yoga traditions. Jyoti Ma lived with Mataji for several years, learning the powers of women in the path of Tantra, and mastering the traditions of Homa (fire ceremony), mantra, yantra, Devi worship and the sacred art of Consort practice that initiates men into Divine Reality. In later years, Jyoti Ma spent time in the cave of her Siddha Master, Sri Hari Baba, learning the ancient tradition of Siddha.
At the end of her training with Mataji, Jyoti Ma was given the transmission to teach. Mataji said to her, You are the Mata now. She returned to the West, only to find great misunderstandings about Tantra. The distortions were so extreme, she felt unable to bring forth the true path for many years, in the midst of all of the sex workshop marketing and false teachings.
At last, Mataji Jyoti Ma has only recently taken the step to offer Tantra for Life: The Shakta Path to Liberation. This is the first course in a path of training and practice that will awaken you to the true depth and power of the ancient path of Shakta Tantra. She has established the Sri Mataji Shakta Kaula at Siddha Guru Ashram for sincere aspirants who desire to live the life of liberation.