Saraha is the founder of Tantra* just as Bodhidharma is the founder of Zen. If I were to count on my fingers five benefactors of humanity, Saraha would be one.
Saraha was born in Vidarbha, in Maharashtra, very close to Poona. He was the son of a learned brahmin who was in the court of King Mahapala . . . The king was willing to give his own daughter to Saraha, but Saraha wanted to renounce, to become a sannyasin. He became a disciple of Sri Kirti, a Buddhist.
The first thing Sri Kirti told Saraha was to drop all the Vedas, all his learning. Years passed, and Saraha became a great meditator. One day, while he was meditating, he saw a vision—a vision that there was a woman in the marketplace who was going to be his real teacher. Sri Kirti had just put him on the way, but the real teaching is to come from a woman. He told Sri Kirti: "You have cleaned my slate. Now I am ready to do the other half of my work." He left with the blessings of Kirti, who was laughing.
And he found the woman of his vision in the marketplace. She was making an arrow; she was an arrowsmith woman— a low caste woman. For Saraha, a learned brahmin who had belonged to the court of the king, to go to an arrowsmith woman is symbolic. The learned has to go to the vital. The plastic has to go to the real.
He saw this woman, a young woman, very alive, radiant with life, cutting an arrow shaft, wholly absorbed in making the arrow. He immediately felt something extraordinary in her presence . . . she was utterly absorbed in her action.
Saraha watched carefully. The arrow ready, the woman closing one eye and opening the other, assumed the posture of aiming at an invisible target ...
And something happened, something like a communion. In that moment, the spiritual significance of what she was doing dawned upon Saraha. Neither looking to the left nor to the right he had seen her ... He had heard it said so many times, he had read about it, he had pondered it, he had argued with others about it, that to be in the middle is right. Now for the first time he had seen it in an action. And she had been so utterly absorbed, so totally in the action—that again is a Buddhist message: to be total in action is to be free action. Be total and you will be free.
The beauty, the luminosity of the woman came because of total absorption. For the first time he understood what meditation is—not that you sit for a special time and repeat mantra, not that you go to the church or to the temple or to mosque, but to be in life—to go on doing trivial things, with such absorption that the profundity is revealed in action. He could feel it. He could have touched it ...
Saraha became a Tantrika under the guidance of this arrowsmith woman. A disciple and a Master—it is a soul love affair. Saraha had found his soulmate. They were in tremendous love, great love, which rarely happens on the earth. She taught him Tantra...
Saraha had first to leave all the Vedas, the scriptures, knowledge. Now he left even meditation. Now singing was meditation. Now dancing was his meditation. Now celebration was his whole lifestyle.
Saraha and the arrowsmith woman moved to a cremation ground and lived together. Living in a cremation ground and celebrating! Living where only death happens and living joyously! If you can rejoice there, then joy has really happened to you. Now it is unconditional.
Play entered Saraha's being, and through play true religion was born.
Osho THE TANTRA VISION, vol. 1 pp.5-20
* The word "tantra" is derived from the combination of two words "tattva" and "mantra". "Tattva" means the science of cosmic principles, while "mantra" refers to the science of mystic sound and vibrations. Tantra therefore is the application of cosmic sciences with a view to attain spiritual ascendancy. In another sense, tantra also means the scripture by which the light of knowledge is spread: Tanyate vistaryate jnanam anemna iti tantram.