Tantra and Pancaratra
Tantra (Sanskrit: तन्त्र , "loom, warp"; hence "principle, system, doctrine", from the two root words tanoti "stretch, extend, expand", and trayati "liberation"), anglicised tantricism or tantrism or tantram, is the name scholars give to an inter-religious spiritual movement that arose in medieval India, expressed in scriptures (called "Tantras").
An important characteristic of this movement was that it is a radically positive, world-embracing vision of the whole of reality as an expression of a joyous Divine Consciousness (for example, as the divine play of Shakti and Shiva). Tantric spiritual practices and rituals aim to bring about an inner realization of this truth, bringing freedom from ignorance and rebirth in the process. Though not the case with most Tantric practices, in some schools of "left-handed" Tantra (Vamachara), ritual sexual practice is employed as a way of entering into the underlying processes and structure of the universe.
Pāñcarātra are the Vaishnava Sanskrit texts dedicated to worship of Narayana and form part of the Agamas.
Unlike Vaikhanasa tradition, the Pancaratric tradition of Agamas prescribe image worship in the place of rituals likeYajnas, mentioned in the Vedas. Agamas cover areas of worship inclusive of construction of the temples; the rules for installation and consecration of the deities; the methods of performing pujas in the temples; philosophy; recitation of mantras; worship involving figures or yantras; bhakti yoga; domestic rituals samskaras; rules of varṇāśrama-dharma and public festivals. Various Vaishnava traditions have different degree of adherence and various lists of texts included under the overall concept.