The similarities between the Tantras and overall tantrik philosophy and Gnosticism is uncanny. Despite my numerous studies, it is only recently that I've discovered that I'm not the only one who has made that connection, and those within the western occult have seemed to have embraced such philosophies describing the nature of "reality". Nonetheless, wisdom has a way of unveiling herself, when one is ready to perceive, and my research into both Tantrik and Gnostic literature occured in perfect timing for my own development. However, that development and understanding usually begins with the painful attempt to dissolve prior cultural-religious programming that I so romantically have held onto.
As someone who still holds devotional attachments to external objects of worship, be it Yoginis, Christ, or Shiva, any information that causes me to reassess who these beings may be, becomes an attempt to painfully synthesize such information where I need to trust my own inner resonance while expanding my horizons with new contrary information.
Information that I have come across previously have shattered my paradigm on how I perceive the G-O-D trinity of Hinduism, the Brahma (Generator), Vishnu (Operator), and Shiva (Destroyer) concept. As the Indian Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Tibet, Padmasambhava aka Guru Rinpoche, had stated to his consort, Lady Tsogyal, those who wish to reach for enlightenment can no longer take refuge in mundane deities, "Mahadeva, Vishnu, Mahesvara". (Padmasambhava, Dakini Teachings). Though Mahesvara may be understood differently, where the masses understand a Shiva in form that is worshiped as a necessary element through our cyclical cosmos, and the mystics understand the yogas of Shiva as a means to transcend the cosmos. Further, in stating Mahesvara (Shiva), it is also important to note that Padmasambhava's guru, or his Vajrayogini, was none other than the Mahavidya Chinnamasta, a Yogini typically associated with Shiva (as Parvati feeding her two hungry consorts).
Moreover, for the Hindu who may take assault at such statements above, Shiva himself also describes similar sentiments in his conversation with Parvati in the Kularnava Tantra where he states in describing the illusory nature of the universe, "Gods like Brahma, Visnu, Mahesa and the various Elemental Beings are also perishable". (ch.1 v.3). Shiva beautifully includes himself, understanding the transient nature of his form. Therefore, I believe the power in these teachings is to simply dissolve the external world of maya-illusion in search of the non-transient Self within. Moreover, the Hindu G-O-D complex seems to be the mode of cycles within the wheel of samsara, to generate, manage, and dissolve for further generation as a way of nature in samsara. In opposition, Tantrik philosophy seeks transcendence from samsara, including the G-O-D cycle.
Going back to Tibetan Tantra, in the Tantrik Vajrayogini, the creator deity known as Isvara, was the worldly deity who has placed his "linga/mandala" throughout the world for worship, but would obstruct anyone seeking liberation/enlightenment. In light of numerous tantras (Saiva/Buddhist), such seems true where such teachings are limited to those considered ready, who are not so attached to the worldly dominion. Through the assistance of the Vajrayogini, the hero becomes Heruka who overcomes the worldly deity Isvara. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Guide To Dakini Land.
Gnostic Christianity, though with many different flavors ranging from the more open Valentinian to the strict Encratities, seem to still fall under common beliefs that contradict orthodoxy. The Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea Scrolls provide a further understanding, where texts such as the Gospel of Thomas rings more like Tantrik philosophy of locating the Kingdom within than Creed of Nicea material seeking to find the Kingdom within an external being and created by an external being. Firstly, Professor Jodi Magness in her Holy Land Revealed (Greater Courses) has revealed, the dead sea scrolls holds documents including copies of the Old Testament that date to roughly 1st or 2nd Century B.C., whereas, modern Abrahamic religions that use the Old Testament use versions of the Old Testament that date to 9th or 10th century A.D. Hence, there has been a significant time lapse between the Gnostic/Essene writings and the works that modern Abrahamic religions have based their religion upon. As anyone who reads such texts and see the counter-philosophies can attest, the Gnostic works were considered "heretic" and a threat to worldly elite dominion, the Roman empire needed to silence such teachings and find a new way of control.
As a topic of discussion here, one major precinct of Gnostic philosophy is the rejection of the Creator. In the unnamed Nag Hammadi text given the modern name of On The Origin Of The World, as the true God described as infinite light created immortals, one of which was Pistis Sophia who sought to "know" or be "equal" to God, they could not equal God where the closest to God, Sophia, cast a shadow. Within that shadow, a being arose who lost in the shadow thought himself to be a god. Therefore, this being named Yaldabaoth began ignorantly creating, only knowing the voice of Sophia. This god ignorantly considered himself to be the one true god and would describe himself as such to his creation. It is interesting to note the parallels between this deity and the Puranic stories of Hindu's creator God, Brahma, who had his 5th head cut-off by Shiva for claiming to be superior due to his creation. Moreover, Brahma has a controversial relationship with Saraswati (daughter?), where Yaldabaoth's daughter Sophia rebels against the worldly king. Moreover, this Yaldabaoth is the father of Yao, an entity which calls itself YHVH (an individual being as opposed to the I Am Presence), the biblical creator god.
In other Gnostic texts and commentaries, this deity described as the "worldly deity" was considered to be the false deity, who required vehement obedience, worship, sacrifices, temples, where the true God doesn't not require any such support. Moreover, such attachment to the material world, and the worship of the creator of the material world, keeps the individual soul (glue between Matter and Spirit) trapped into the realm of matter, where the human is to be perfected through being filled with Spirit, a concept that seems to be closer to Shaktipat in Tantrik Saivism as opposed to the evangelical description of Holy Spirit as described under my protestant education.
As the creator god concedes, "Then the LORD God said, [']Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever[']". (Genesis 3:22 NASB). The texts seems to be clear, the creator gods (plural) not only lied about death, but the serpent spoke the truth, and eating of the fruit was a necessary step for mankind's ascension to "knowledge" and "immortality". Moreover, these creator gods do not want Man elevated to the creators' status contrary to Christ's teachings, where Jesus himself states "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I SAID, YOU ARE GODS '?" (John 10:34 probably citing to Psalm 82:6) (The same argument is again addressed with the Tower of Babel). Therefore, the Gnostics, the secret group claiming privy to Jesus, the Essene (connection further established by psychic Edgar Cayce and hypnotherapist Dolores Cannon's clientele past life regressions), noticed the direct conflict between the creator god and Jesus, where the Gnostics praised the serpent.
In diving further into the rabbit hole, it's becoming clearer that orthodoxy has sought to suppress substantial information that counters doctrinal teachings. At the heart of such discrepancy seems to be Constantine's need to continue a broken empire, though under a new disguise, where such information was deemed "heretical" forcing groups and documents to be hidden creating mystery schools. As the Roman empire most likely usurped doctrines similar to the Library of Alexandria, where the Catholic church houses the largest private library in existence, all the while giving the public a small text to place their complete faith within, it appears information needs to be disclosed to a mass public who may not even be able to handle such information. Where the cards are overturned, and the serpent is closer than the truth than the creator god, is our consciousness ready to handle such neurological reprogramming, in a world where orthodox religion stresses blind passionate belief without understanding the nature of consciousness or the law of attraction/physics double-slit theory understanding that beliefs/consciousness effects matter.
Overall, these teachings may hint to something even deeper, as I dive further into the rabbit hole. As these beings may simply be archetypes of the mind, could this creator god, this YHVH/Brahma, be none other than simply our ego-identity where we are to transcend and transmute the material-animal instinct into higher Self via the kundalini serpent, reaching the Christ consciousness? One thing is sure, getting to the truth may be much more difficult, where many of us have been programmed to only see one side of the story, the world creators' story.
Overly educated and continuously exploring and revealing more behind the veil.
"It cannot be too highly emphasized that the mystic swims in the same waters in which the psychotic drowns."
-James Wasserman, The Mystery Traditions