Part 10: Verses – 39 – 41.

Skill 16: Verse 39.

Shiva for the first time in Vijnāna Bhairava, addressees his consort as Bhairavi in this verse. Shiva says that by reciting OM for three mātrās duration and meditating on the void caused at the end of the third mātrā, Shiva is realised. One matra is the time taken for one wink of eyes, approximating to a second.

There are three types of ‘pranavas’. One is the regular ‘OM’ that is associated with Vedas and known as known as Vedic Pranava. The second one is Shiva Pranava ‘huṃ’. The third pranava is ‘hrīm’ which is also known as ‘māyā’ pranava. ‘Hrīm’ is also known as maya bijā. There is a difference between Shiva pranava and maya pranava. Recitation of ‘Hrīm’ or maya pranava produces good results for the self and recitation of ‘huṃ’ or Shiva pranava produces all-round auspiciousness or the auspiciousness of the society. When ‘huṃ’ is recited, evil forces are driven away. This is also known as ‘vignothsāranaṃ’ which means eradication of any obstructions. Maya pranava is different from Shakthi pranava. Shakthi pranava is ‘īṃ’. Shiva says that one can recite any of these three pranavas. But one has to fix his consciousness in the void created by the gap between two consecutive recitations. It is important that one should recite any of these pranavas using three matras. It should be pronounced as ‘OMMM’ prolonging the recitation of ‘ṃ’. Another important point that is to be noticed here is that instead of concentrating on the ending of OM, one has to concentrate on the void created after that ending. There will always be a void between in breath and out breath, which has been discussed earlier. In the same way the consciousness is to be fixed on the void or stillness or silence or śūnya at the end of one OM or any other pranavas. .

Sage Patanjali says in his yoga sūtrā (aphorisms) (I.37) ‘tasya vācakah praṇavah’ which means ‘that word is pranava’. Pranava is the sound of Brahman. There is no difference between OM and the Brahman. Brahman in the form of sound is OM therefore manifestations of OM and the Brahman are not different. Brahman can be named as OM or Shiva or Shakthi, or Jesus or Allah or Vishnu. Brahman has nothing to do with these forms, as He is beyond attributes. The difference between OM and other manifested forms is that the former is manifestation of sound (ṣabdha Brahman) and the latter is manifestation of form.

Verse 40: Skill 17.

Shiva after discussing about three types of pranavas, He proceeds to discuss the ways of realising Him through other mantras. Mantras are recited one after another (repetitions) and this is called ‘japa’. During this process, when the first count ends the next count starts. During the recitation of manta, energy is built up before exact time of delivery of mantra. The exact delivery happens after a few fractions of a second once the energy is completely gathered for its delivery. Most of the times, this happens unconsciously. In mantra japa, this process happens consecutively. Before the process of energy build up happens and at the end of drain of the entire built up energy after delivery of mantra, there is void. In this void Shiva is realized.

In most of the verses of Vijnāna Bhairava, Shiva directs that one should fix his consciousness in void. This is the main idea of Zen meditation. In Zen meditation abstractedness happens layer after layer finally leading to void and this process is known as ‘downing’.

Verse 41: Skill 18.

When one listens attentively to the music coming out of musical instruments (like guitar, flute) in a concert, at the end of the concert, the music would be reverberating. This reverberation happens in his mind, in which period his sensory organs stand disconnected from his mind. His consciousness is absorbed in the reverberating sound of music. During this absorption, Bhairava is realised. This is a typical example of disconnecting senses and fixing consciousness on a subject. Such should be the kind consciousness to realize the Brahman. But the reverberation of sound is not possible if the concert is attended without focusing his attention on the music. Such is the type of consciousness one requires to realize the Brahman.