Vijñānabhairava has 112 dhāraṇa-s and the 112th dhāraṇa was disclosed by Bhairava to Bhairavi in the 138th verse. In all, Vijñānabhairava Tantra has 163 verses. The last 25 verses are in the form of concluding remarks and they are summarised here.
Bhairava speaks to Bhairavi now. “Bhairavi! I have explained the112 ways to quieten the mind and if any one of them is followed, he becomes a wise man. By sincerely practicing any one of these 112 dhāraṇa-s, the practitioner becomes Bhairava himself. He can attain anything in the world. His (the yogi, who has attained perfection) blessings become true and if he curses that also will become true. His words become too powerful. (Such realized persons generally do not curse. But sometimes, if they are infuriated, they do curse and their curse become a reality. This is like hitting a ball on a wall that comes back immediately) My dear Wife! They are freed from old age and death. They are endowed with siddhis (aṣṭamāsiddhi-s as described by sage Patañjali. These siddhis cannot be attained and can only be conferred through the Grace of Śiva and Śakti). Such a person is loved and adored by all yogis and becomes their chief. He gets liberated in this birth itself; however he continues to perform his duties like any other person. However, they are not affected by karma. Whatever actions they perform will not have karmic impressions. (This stage is called jīvanmukta. They do not declare themselves as jīvanmuktas. They do teach disciples, not in groups but through one to one interaction. It is very important to understand that path of spiritual realization cannot be done in groups. Unless there is one to one interaction between the Guru and the disciple, nothing can be learnt usefully. These realized persons never teach in groups and always choose their disciples. There should be no monetary considerations while teaching spirituality.)”
Now Bhairavi, the Divine Mother seeks some clarifications from Bhairava, the Supreme Lord. “If this is the essence of reality (understanding and realising the Self within and getting liberated in this birth itself, etc), then what is the purpose of recitations (hymns, japas, etc) and in whose favour such recitations (mantra japas) are done. Who will be worshipped for gratifications and who will make these worships? And in whose favour the oblations are made (referring to ritual fire worships)?” The doubt arises in the Supreme Goddess (only for the purpose of others knowing) about ritualistic worships such as mantra japas and fire rituals. The question is about the performance of rituals when liberation is available through the mind. When liberation is available for free, why should one invest his time and money on materialistic worships? This is the question that lingers in our minds.
Supreme Lord Bhairava answers this most pertinent questions raised by the Supreme Goddess on our behalf. “O! Beautifully eyed Goddess! Rituals are meant for beginners (beginners of spiritual pursuit who continue to be ritualistic) and these worships are gross in nature (worshipping different forms of gods and goddesses). Contemplation of the Highest Reality is the true nature of japa (mundane recitation of mantras). Perpetual contemplation of the Self within is true japa. (Counting and reciting certain mantras at the prescribed timings is not japa. It is only the initial process in spiritual realization. From this, one has to move quickly to the next stage. Contemplating on the Supreme Self within, known as I consciousness, where all other thought processes are annihilated and individual consciousness is fixed on Him is the next stage. This is the state where consciousness becomes without support, either from sensory organs or from antaḥkaraṇa. Awareness about multiple objects while contemplating on the Supreme Self is known as relational consciousness, where awareness is fragmented and fixed on more than one object during contemplation. This relational contemplation is to be totally avoided.) The real sound of mantra should come from within (anāhata sound – the sound of OM). One should meditate with absolute awareness, without any distractions on the formless Supreme Self, which is without any support (everything rests on Him and He never rests on anyone). Meditation is not a cognitive process wherein a form of god is visualized with face, hands, legs, etc (with a form). Worship does not mean external worship of offering flowers and eateries. True worship is meditating with a pure mind without any thought processes on the Supreme Void and during a perfect contemplation like this, one gets absorbed into the Supreme Self (the dissolution of mind here is known as nirvikalpa samādhi). If one practices with firm faith, any one of the 112 methods of meditation, he grows day by day in spiritual life until he reaches that stage of spiritual satisfaction. A true oblation is where all the elements and senses (organs of senses and organs of actions) along with the mind are offered into the fire of Supreme Consciousness (connecting all the senses and antaḥkaraṇa into Bhairava, the Supeme). The ladle used in these visualised oblations is ones individual consciousness. (Individual consciousness becomes Supreme Consciousness only when individual consciousness is aligned with Supreme Consciousness through a purified mind.)
“O! Pārvati! Supreme Goddess! (He addresses Her as Parama Īśāni) The true sacrifice is characterised by Bliss (the state of inexplicable and extreme state of happiness) and during the state of Bliss, all his sins are destroyed. (Sins get destroyed only during perfect contemplation where the contemplator himself becomes Bhairava and not otherwise.) Physical visits to holy places are not holy pilgrimages. Absorption into the Śakti of Rudra is the greatest contemplation. There cannot be any other worship other than this because, who is to be satisfied? (There is none to be satisfied in shapes and forms as God does not exist in shapes and forms. He subtle question is “When I am there within you, whom else you are going to satisfy?”) There cannot be any worship in non-dualism (since Self and self are the same and this knowledge translates into mental affirmation “I am Śiva”). True sacred bath is the absorption into one’s own Self, which is full of independence, bliss and consciousness (can be compared to sat-cit-ānanda). When there is non-duality, where is the question of worship with offerings such as incense sticks, flowers, food offerings, etc? When the worshipper and the worshipped are the same what is the need for these offerings? (Any form of external worships is not approved by Bhairava.)
“Inhalation and exhalation happen on its own, thereby awakening the Kuṇḍalinī energy, which goes up the spine and She is to be worshiped in suṣumna, the central canal of the spinal cord. This is true kṣetra (pilgrimage centre). She is the experience that happens in the mind and She is also beyond human experience (immanent and transcendent). (Dualism gradually gets dissolved along with the gaining of potency by Kuṇḍalinī. It is like the growth of a girl to womanhood. Kuṇḍalinī does not become potent in the initial stages, but attains potency over a period of time. The increase in potency is directly related to the depth of contemplation, nature of life, food habits and above all practice.) The one who perpetually stays connected with Parāśakti, the Goddess Kuṇḍalinī (Parāśakti, the Goddess Kuṇḍalinī are the same) enters the state of supreme bliss, and in this state he attains Bhairava. (Śiva can never be attained directly. It is only through Parāśakti, the Supreme Śiva can be attained. Once Śiva is attained, there is nothing left for him and he is never born again. The knowledge about Śiva is sovereign in nature and none can impart that knowledge except Parāśakti and thus, She becomes his Guru. In reality there is nothing in that Supreme Knowledge and this is known as void. When one becomes Śiva due to realization, he does nothing and becomes like a moving object, unconcerned and unattached with the material world.) In a day (day and night consisting of 24 hours), a person inhales and exhales 21,600 times and this is the true mantra (ha at the time inhalation and sa at the time of exhalation. The continuous concentration on these subtle sounds gives rise to the inherent mantra ‘soham’ and this is known as a-japa, which means no japa. When the japa is happening inwardly and perpetually, where is the necessity of other mantra japas? 21600 breaths are meant for normal human beings. If one attempts to reduce this number – by slow breathing and by holding the breath both internally and externally – it not only increases the life span, but also helps in concentration during meditative sessions.)
“O! My dear Bhairavi! The Supreme Goddess! I have explained to you (upper case y is not used because She is now addressed by Śiva) the most precious and sacred teaching which leads to immortal state (liberation) and this should not be revealed to someone who is not worthy of this sacred teaching. This should be taught only through a Guru (not guru). One should learn from this teaching that all material things are impermanent and this sacred and secretive knowleldge alone is permanent. One can even choose to die but the quest for final liberation should never be given up.”
Finally Bhairavi thanks Bhairava, “O! Supreme Lord Śaṅkara! I fully understand and I am now satisfied (satisfaction arises due to the impartation of Pure Knowledge). This day I have understood the essence of Rudrayāmala Tantra (This is a Tantric Scripture which contains the highest level of teachings of Śiva about the union of Śiva and Śakti) and about the core of all types of energies.”
After having said this, Śakti embraces Śiva. This embrace is to signify that those who have read, understood and practice Vijñānabhairava become one with Śiva.
With this Vijñānabhairava is concluded.