Tantric deities are the focus of esoteric religious practices (tantras) that aim to swiftly and radically transform a practitioner’s conventional understanding of reality. These secret practices require an initiation and direct instruction.
Many forms of these deities, described in religious texts also called tantras, personify various enlightened qualities and can appear peaceful or wrathful. Tantric deities and practices are as diverse as people’s needs and capacities. Female and male deities in sexual embrace represent the unity of wisdom (understanding of reality) and method (compassionate action), two aspects of the enlightened mind. Tantric deities can have multiple heads, arms, and legs, symbolizing their many abilities.