Did Yogananda say anything about Tantra Yoga?
—John, Republic of Panama
Paramhansa Yogananda wrote very little about Tantra (or Tantra Yoga, as it’s sometimes called). Perhaps it’s because the term was relatively unknown in the West during Yoganandaji’s lifetime, so there would have been little need for him to talk about it. Here is one snippet from his Autobiography of a Yogi:
Pertaining to the shastras, literally, “sacred books,” comprising four classes of scripture: the shruti, smriti, purana, and tantra. These comprehensive treatises cover every aspect of religious and social life, and the fields of law, medicine, architecture, art, etc. The shrutis are the “directly heard” or “revealed” scriptures, the Vedas. The smritis or “remembered” lore was finally written down in a remote past as the world’s longest epic poems, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Puranas are literally “ancient” allegories; tantras literally mean “rites” or “rituals”; these treatises convey profound truths under a veil of detailed symbolism.
It’s worth pointing out that there are different expressions of Tantra, some lower and some higher, spiritually speaking. Those that have been sensationalized in the West, with their emphasis on sensuality, are certainly not among the higher forms. In The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita – Explained by Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda calls such forms “falsely understood tantra.”