1. Ravana was not only a learned pandit, and a scholar of the Vedas, but he was also engaged in spiritual activity (he used to practice spells and incantations).
2. He derived great power from the practice of these spells and incantations.
3. His other source of strength was that the Lord Shiva was pleased with him.
4. In fact, his entire family was possessed of supernatural powers: Meghnad (Indrajit), who had the strength to confront almighty Hanuman; and Kumbhkaran, before whom the army of immortal Rama stood helpless.
5. The Uddisa Tantra is a religious text in the form of a dialogue between the Lord Shiva and Ravana... a work that tradition holds was composed by none other than Ravana himself.
[This book contains some specific tantrik formulae, including some formulae that may be used in our daily life.]
6. The Lord Shiva opens his inner eye, and Ravana greets him in salutation.
Ravana speaks - O Lord to Indra and the other gods! I desire to listen to that knowledge (of the tantra), by which I may attain supernatural power.
Shiva replies - As you are desiring the welfare of the world, I will reveal to you the Uddisa Tantra. This tantra is an abstract or summary of all the other tantras.
7. But, first, listen to what I have to say:
-> The devotee needs to spend some time time with a teacher (of the dharma) to understand the essential features of that dharma;
-> To improve one's conduct and one's thinking;
-> To develop a commitment to use one's spiritual practice for the welfare of society;
-> Only after gaining the permission of the guru, and giving a token (of appreciation) to one's perceptor, may one use the knowledge gained.
The six actions - along with their characteristic features - by using which an end is put to misdeeds, social harmony established, and mental peace obtained, are as follows:
# Hypnotic control, by means of which violent beasts and birds of prey are pacified and brought under control.
# Peaceful works, by means of which wrongful deeds are ended.
# Attraction, by means of which a person, place or thing is drawn (towards one).
# Power of Restraint, by means of which the movement / momentum of a person or object is stopped.
# Removal, by means of which a person is forced to shift (from his) stand or position.
# Punishment, by means of which all power (strength and potency) is drained from a living being.
[Later Hindu doctrine speaks in terms of sama (conciliation), dama (appeasement), danda (punishment) and bheda (divide and rule); indicating the age of this text, and its historical importance]
8. O Ravana! The subject of this treatise is detailed and difficult. This text must be studied with a great deal of concentration and single-mindedness.
9. By means of this text, one may lawfully gain knowledge of (hitherto) secret works.
10. The person who is unaware of this Uddisa tantra, he may do great wrong out of anger.
11. Knowledge of this Uddisa tantra should not be given to those persons who are unfit to receive it. [If only because it will never be of any use to them]
12. To preserve one's soul - that is, to protect one's life - this Uddisa tantra may be revealed to (deserving persons such as) the guru, the devotee, the ascetic, an old speaker of truths, and the altruist.
Appendix - Instructions, for the recitation of mantras [Meditation]
i) During the recitation of mantras, one is not advised to think about any other subject or matter.
ii) The recitation of mantras is forbidden without the (blessings of the) guru.
iii) It is forbidden to recite mantras in the presence of other persons.
iv) It is forbidden to chatter between the recitation of mantras.
v) Meditation is not be carried out while in a reclining pose or posture.
vi) One cannot practice meditation while resting on a comfortable bed.
vii) Intake of heavy or undigestible (tamasik) food is not advisable [prior to the recitation of mantras]
viii) One cannot practice meditation while sleeping.
ix) Do not practice meditation if you are unwell or suffering from some disease.
x) It is not possible to practice meditation if you are unhappy or sad.
xii) Do not practice meditation on an uncovered floor.
xiii) Meditation should not be carried out withouth bathing; that is, in an unclean or impure state.