The British Museum’s latest exhibition explores the way in which Tantra has been linked to successive waves of revolutionary thought, from its transformation of Hinduism and Buddhism, to the Indian fight for independence and the rise of 1960s counterculture. Here’s what critics have had to say about it…

Evening Standard: *** “It would require a great deal of study properly to get to grips with this nebulous and complex set of ideas and I’m afraid I left this show a long way from enlightenment, but it’s an enjoyable journey.”

Londonist: ***** “While it’s hosted in the smaller of the museum’s two main exhibition spaces there’s a whole load to take it. The combination of beautiful artefacts and the unlocking of a history I knew little about that really makes this exhibition an eye opener.”

The Telegraph: “The BM’s enlightening exhibition replaces Tantra-related clichés with revolutionaries, female empowerment and proper historical context.”

The Financial Times: “In a time of uncertainty and a heightened collective sense of mortality, with new rebellions breaking out almost every month, this exhibition feels eerily timely — just as any true tantric would want it.”

The Times: **** “Wall texts take a stern, stop-that-sniggering-at-the-back tone. Tantra, curators explain, is a “philosophy” that, emerging in India in around AD500, is rooted in instructional sacred texts. These texts or “tantras” (from the Sanskrit for “to weave”) outline rituals that often “transgress social and religious conventions”. They have a subversive power. And it is the radical effect of this on social, cultural and political establishments that this exhibition charts.”

The Guardian: **** “The exhibition claims Tantra is subversive, “transgressive” and revolutionary. But to understand what it is subverting you have to understand India’s entire religious history – and the British Museum seems to assume you already know it. I really wanted to start a bit further back. Tantra is not an independent religion. It’s a flavouring or style of spiritual practice that adds new dimensions to two ancient faiths.”

Ian “An exhibition about Tantra is bound to arouse a few sniggers, but unsurprisingly for a museum, this is a rather more intellectual investigation into the heart of this often misunderstood philosophy.”

Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution is on display at the British Museum until the 24th January 2021.