PART 22: VERSE 89 – 95
VERSE 89: SKILL 66
When the function of a sensory organ is affected either naturally or by practice, the aspirant enters into the state of void, wherein he realizes the Self. Reference to eyes and ears is implied in this verse, as they are the most potent of all the sense organs.
There is a yoni mudra where ears and eyes are plugged using fingers. When this mudra is perfected, one could listen to the subtle sound of OM within. This sound is due to the friction caused by air during inhalation and exhalation. This sound cannot be heard unless one explores for the sound within. During this state, the idea of duality is lost and the aspirant becomes one with Śiva, the Self.
Meditation is not something wherein one should sit erect by closing the eyes. Meditation is a perpetual process of exploration of within. At the end of the exploration, one can realize the Self pervading his mind. When Self pervades the mind all other thought processes are annihilated.
VERSE 90: SKILL 67
When one recites ‘a’ (अ) without bindu (a dot above अ making it as अं) or visarga (inclusion of two dots one above the other at the end of an alphabet or bīja. Visarga of अ is अः), the highest knowledge for realizing Śiva dawns on him.
This verse subtly coveys the state of holding breath either within or outside the body, which is known as kumbhaka. When अं is recited, during the recitation one inhales (but mostly one tends to inhale during the recitation of अं). In the same manner, when अः is recited one tends to exhale, which can be clearly noticed. This inhalation and exhalation happens automatically due to the involuntary system of the body. When अ alone is recited, there will not be much movement of breath when compared to the recitation of अं and अः. This state is very close to the state of kumbhaka. In the state of kumbhaka, Śiva illumines at ājñā cakra. The effect of inhalation and exhalation is realized only at ājñā cakra. When ājñā cakra is opened and activated, one need not worry about any of the lower chakras.
During holding the breath, one’s consciousness does not stray and stay fixed on the act of holding breath. Hence both internal (antar kumbhaka) and external or bāhya kumbhaka are recommended for advanced aspirants. Rhythm of breath and kumbhaka varies from person to person. But, the ideal practice for the beginners is the ratio of 1:1:1 (inhalation – holding – exhalation) to 16:64:32 for the advanced practitioners at the level of yogi-s. The best practice is that the time taken for exhalation should be as long as possible when compared to inhalation. Holding the breath purely depends upon one’s capacity to hold. If one attempts to cross the inherent system of the body to hold, it could lead to serious health issues.
VERSE 91: SKILL 68
When one recites an alphabet with a free mind with his awareness fixed on the visarga of an alphabet (example अः), he comes into contact with the Self.
The previous verse said that one should not concentrate on bindu and visarga. But this verse says that one should concentrate on the visarga. The difference lies in kumbhaka. The previous verse subtly conveyed that one should fix his awareness on kumbhaka and this verse says that one should fix his consciousness on exhalation. While reciting visarga, exhalation happens automatically. Again, while reciting an alphabet with visarga, for example अः, the concentration should be on the ājñā cakra and on the breath. One can mentally connect exhalation to the ājñā cakra. If this is practiced, ājñā cakra will become fully activated, paving way to reach the higher levels of spirituality. Without activating ājñā cakra, higher spiritual realms may not be possible. In many people, either due to the depth of love for Him or Her (typically there is no difference between the Two and it is only our perception that alone matters), ājñā cakra gets activated on its own.
VERSE 92: SKILL 69
One should meditate on his own self as the boundless sky (ākāśa). When this meditation is perfect without any distraction, Goddess Śakti reveals Herself in the form of Power of Pure Consciousness. The verse says citiḥ śaktiḥ svarūpaṁ darśayettadā || चितिः शक्तिः स्वरूपं दर्शयेत्तदा॥ This means that Śakti reveals Herself in the form of consciousness in his mind, devoid of any other thought constructs. The word citiḥ śaktiḥ is important in this verse. Śakti reveals Herself to the aspirant in the form citi śakti, which refers to the power of consciousness of Śiva, that brings about the manifestation of the universe and this Power of Śiva is known as Śakti. She is the dynamic energy of Śiva and She alone brings forth the world process.
The subtle conveyance of this verse is that one should erase all the impressions in the mind making the mind as pure and as boundless as the sky. If the aspirant is able to visualize his own form as the sky, the creative and dynamic aspect of Śiva is revealed to the aspirant in the form His own power known as Śakti.
VERSE 93: SKILL 70
If one shallowly pricks his body with a sharp object and if he concentrates on the point of pricking, he reaches the pure state of Bhairava. We have to admire the simplicity with which Bhairava teaches Bhairavi. The concept is simple. When there is a prick in the body (not amounting to injuring the body; it should be only a light and shallow prick), our entire concentration get focussed only on the point on which a prick was made, due to light pain in the body. During this state, all other thought processes are relegated to the background. When one fixes his awareness on a particular object, in that object Bhairva is revealed.
This is the significant point to notice. Bhairava is neither someone with some form or other nor different from us. He is nothing but single pointed awareness, which is called consciousness. Un-afflicted, unpolluted, unaffected and single pointed awareness is consciousness and this consciousness is Bhairava. Only to achieve this state, meditation is practiced. This can be attained either in a minute or in a span of time lasting to several years, depending upon the ability of the practitioner.
VERSE 94: SKILL 71
Visualize that one’s body does not have antaḥkaraṇa known as inner psychic organs consisting of mind, intellect and ego. Some are of the opinion (particularly advaita philosophy) that consciousness is also included in this. Since consciousness is the Supreme Self, according to Trika philosophy, it is excluded in antaḥkaraṇa. When antaḥkaraṇa is absent, one becomes devoid of all thought processes. When mind is absent, intellect and ego cannot exist, as both of them need mind to operate. Ultimate in spirituality can be attained only if the mind is purged and purified. Only through the mind, realization of the Self happens.
VERSE 95: SKILL 72
Māyā is a deceptive principle and this is the primary cause for duality. Māyā has five coverings through which, it causes illusion and they are known as kañcuka-s. Kañcuka means covering and māyā unfolds illusion through these five coverings. The five coverings are kalā, vidyā, rāga, kāla and niyati and they cause limitation on action, knowledge, attachment, time and place. They cause limitation on the omnipotence, omniscience, completeness, eternity and omnipresence of Śiva. Because of these limitations, one is not able to realize the true nature of the Self within, as māyā deceptively projects the infinite Self as the limited self. As a result, one enters into the state of duality thinking that he is different from the Supreme Self within. When one is Śiva, māyā extends her tentacles of delusion making Śiva within appear as the limited soul. In reality, He always remains infinite and full with the five qualities viz limitation on omnipotence, omniscience, completeness, eternity and omnipresence.
One has to transcend māyā to understand and realize the Glory of Śiva within. Because of the illusion caused by māyā we tend to treat Him as different from us and continue to seek Him elsewhere, thereby wasting the most precious time in human life. When one is able to understand the effects of māyā and isolate Her, Śiva is revealed. This happens only due to the Grace of Śakti. This is the reason for saying that She alone can impart the knowledge of Śiva, says Lalitā Sahasranāma 727. The seeker of Śiva becomes Śiva Himself after She imparts knowledge about Śiva and She Herself reveals Śiva to him.