Vijnana Bhairava Tantra Part 2. Verses 5 – 9
Bhairavi now wants to know whether ‘para’ is compatible with ‘apara’. Since para stage cannot be complex in nature, can it be differentiated in the form of mantras or bodily forms? Bhairava clarifies the doubts of Bhairavi. Bhairavi is the disciple and Bhairava is Her guru. It becomes obligatory on the part of a guru to dispel the doubts of his disciples. There are two aspects to guru-disciple relationship. Only a self-realized person can function as proper guru. Disciples have to have total faith in their guru. Guru’s job does not end by mere initiation of mantras. He has to impart knowledge of the Brahman to his disciples. The guru has to set in motion his own consciousness, in the consciousness of his disciple. Guru guides his disciple from the initial process of initiation to final liberation of his disciple.
Para is the ulterior, because it is the supreme. Totality of manifestation appears in three forms – gross (sthula), subtle (sukshma) and ulterior (para). Nature of para can also be interpreted as the expansion of the Brahman (Shiva) in the form of ‘aham’ (I am), the essential form of Shakthi. A-para is the other extreme of para. In the stage of apara (nara), manifestation of the gross materialistic world happens. The highest form of divine is Bhairava (para). His differentiating power is a-para (nara) and His differentiating cum non-differentiating power is para-para (Shakthi). Why Bhairavi wants to know about the compatibility of para with a-para or Shiva with a living being? Probably She could have perceived that this compatibility is connected to the process of creation. Para is undoubtedly the supreme among the three. Para or the Brahman cannot be attained either by mantras or by forms. Therefore, Bhairavi wants to know the real form of Her guru cum consort Bhairava. If the real identity of the Brahman is known, it is easier to attain Him. The question of Bhairavi could also lead not only to Shiva but to the entire universe as well. After all, She is the embodiment of supreme knowledge, hence She formulates questions that leads to understanding of the Brahman and His acts. Bhairavi’s questions can be arranged like this: 1. What is the reality of Bhairava. 2. What is this universe. 3. What is the central point of this universe. 4. Can time and space be transcended. 5. What is formless form.
Now Bhairava begins to clarify the doubts of Bhairavi. In the course of His clarifications, He declares 112 techniques. One can choose any one of the 112 techniques that suits him most. There is no ritual involved in any of these techniques. The highest form of concentration is required to practice these techniques. One has to keep his consciousness pure. To have pure consciousness, thoughts need to be pure. Ultimately, it is the mind that establishes connection between jivatma (apara) and Paramatma (para). Bhairava begins by saying that Her question is about the essence of tantras. There is difference between tantra sastra and yoga sastra. Both tantra and yoga lead to Self-realisation, but the path that is to be traversed are quite opposite to each other. Yoga says that one should fight against one’s nature but tantra accepts what you are. In yoga one has to transform oneself to realise the Brahman. But tantra does not advocate such transformation but it emphasises on concentration. Tantra does not care for senses and it cares only for the mind. Vijnana Bhairava is a tantra.
Bhairava says that answers to Her questions are understandable only by the enlightened. Still he was willing to share with His disciple, His wife. Guru decides that His disciple is fit enough to receive the knowledge of the Brahman. The knowledge of the Brahman expounded by Brahman Himself is considered as highly secretive in nature. Shiva is all set to share His secrets with His Shakthi. Bhairava says ‘The mantras and forms are only for the sake of writing and understanding them is not worth the time. Bhairava is neither the forms nor mantras. These are the effects of maya and deceptive in nature. They are like dreams.’ In the opening statement itself, Shiva rules out nine forms and 51 alphabets that has been discussed in part 1. These descriptions are used for those who are still associated with rituals. Ritual is miles away from Reality. Rituals are only introduction to spirituality and one cannot continue to dwell only on the introduction. If ritual is considered as introduction, then liberation is conclusion. The process of spirituality is like education. One has progress from lower class to higher class by thoroughly understanding the subjects taught in the lower class. If one is not able to understand the subject taught, then he is not allowed to go the next higher class. Without understanding significance of rituals, one cannot proceed to the next higher stage in spirituality. The transition has to be firm but gradual.