The stages of development in Tantra are three, namely, Pashva'ca'ra, Viira'ca'ra and Divya'ca'ra.The first stage of Sadhana (spiritual effort), Pashva'ca'ra, is for those who are controlled by all types of animal-like propensities, therefore, the preceptor will impart the system of meditation in order to help them to ascend to the higher stage and to overcome the obstacles in their path towards progress. Pashu literally means 'animal'. So most sadhakas are considered to be in this stage when they begin their practice. As the sadhaka proceeds with earnestness in his/her sadhana and attains control over his or her animal nature, he attains the stage of virility, a stage where he becomes truly human. He or she no longer needs external pressure to advance in the path of spirituality. He becomes viira (brave), and this higher stage of sadhana is called Viira'ca'ra. Their progress is determined by external pressure and internal urge. Finally, when a sadhaka attains the peak of his humanity, transcending his own lower self, then he or she attains the stage of divinity; he becomes god-like, endowed with all divine qualities. This stage is called the path of Divya'ca'ra. He or she becomes established in the Supreme Stance and attains merger with the Supreme Lord of his heart. The Crude and Subtle Paincamaka'ra (the 5 Ms of Tantra) Many people criticize or have a misunderstanding about the 5 Ms of Tantra. Tantra is divided into two branches, one crude and the other subtle. Lord Shiva propounded the practice of both aspects with the objective to help those who cannot give up suddenly objects of enjoyment, to practice sadhana in the mid of all sensual gratifications. Therefore, a wine drinker may not be able to give up drinking abruptly, but can learn to control and reduce his/her drinking habits until he or she is ready to give it up. Similarly a meat eater can learn to regulate his meat eating habits by reducing the frequency of flesh eating, and also by avoiding the consumption of meat from large animals. For those who could easily give up crude sensual pleasures, the path of Yoga Marga or subtle tantra was prescribed. On the other hand, for those who could not stop the crude enjoyment of sensual pleasure, the path of gradual limitation of the use of these crude items was prescribed until they would gradually gain more psychic power, and rise above the allurement of crude enjoyment. Madhya Sadhana (Wine or Nectar) The crude interpretation of Madhya is the drinking of intoxicating items such as wine, alcohol or smoking ganja. However, the subtle practice of Madhya is to attain the experience of the divine nectar. All glands of the body secrete different types of hormones, and those hormones are consumed by the lower glands. Similarly the pineal gland secretes a special hormone called Soma rasa. Soma means 'moon' because it comes from the pineal gland and is consumed in the lunar plexus or ajina cakra. The ajina cakra is located at the level of the pituitary gland, in the point between the eyebrows. When, through intense meditation, specially during the time of the full moon or new moon, our mind rises upwards to the subtlest spiritual ideation, we may experience the divine intoxication of the divine nectar caused by this hormonal nectar from the pineal gland. In this spiritual ecstasy the sadhaka experiences the intense and passionate communion with the Supreme Consciousness; he/she feels that all the universe has become extremely sweet and that this divine sweetness is permeating all things in all the worlds. Mamsa Sadhana (Meat or tongue) Mamsa means meat in the crude interpretation, but for a Yogi meat is not a useful item for his or her spiritual practice. The practice of Mamsa is the control of one's speech or the control of the tongue. A true spiritual aspirant should learn to control his speech or talk only the necessary. Some sadhakas observe absolute silence for days or weeks in order to introspect their thoughts more towards the attainment of the Supreme. There is yet another interpretation of the word Mamsa: "One who surrenders all one's actions, good, bad, righteous, sinful, wicked --even the attainment of prolonged penance -- to the Supreme Lord, is called mamsa." Matsya Sadhana (Fish or Breath Control) Those who interpret Matsya Sadhana in its crude form think that it is part of Tantra practice to eat fish or meat. The Matsya Sadhana of a Tantric Yogi can be interpreted in this way: "One who eats the two fish that swim, one through the Ganges (representing the ida' na'dii)and the other through the Yamuna (representing the Piungala nadii)--that is, one that takes the breath flowing from the left and right nostril to the concentration point of the ajina cakra, and suspends them there by purn'a kumbhaka (holding the inhalation) or shunya kumbhaka (holding the exhalation) -- is a matsya sadhaka." Therefore, the true practice of Matsya Sadhana is the practice of Pran'aya'ma in order to help to attain the highest realization in dhayana (higher meditation). Mudra Sadhana (Shunning bad company) The crude interpretation involves the use of a certain type of food. The subtle practice involves the practice of Satsaunga. It is being said that good company can make a sinner to become a saint, and even a virtuous person in bad company can be led to great degeneration. The scriptures also say: Satsaungena bhavenmuktirasatsaunges'u bandhanam; Asantasungamudranam' sa' mudra' parikirttita' "Bad company leads to bondage; good company leads to liberation. Having understood this supreme truth, one should avoid bad company. This shunning of bad company is called mudra' sadhana" Maethuna Sadhana (Conjugal relations or Supreme Union) The crude interpretation of Maethuna has brought a lot of misguided misunderstandings. Many practitioners of Tantra think that by practicing copulation they will attain spiritual upliftment. In fact the actual crude meaning is that couples should learn to practice sexual restraint in order to strengthen their mind and body. Loss of excessive semen leads to loss of lymph, and therefore, the brain and the nerves become weak, thus hampering the practice of meditation. The subtle practice of Maethuna Sadhana is the raising of the kundalinii shakti to the superior cakras, until one reaches the highest point, the pinnacled point of attainment, where Shakti and Parama Shiva, or Radha and Krs'n'a become unified. That attainment of the Supreme Union is the true Maethuna Sadhana of the yogi or yoginii.