Vijnana Bhairava Tantra PART 23: VERSE 96 – 101

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 96: SKILL 73

Every person will have some desire or other. The origin of all such desires is the sensory inputs to the mind. When eyes see an apple, it causes impression in the mind about the apple. Mind by default succumbs to the sensory inputs and the mind looks for an apple, causing a desire. When one’s intellect and will power are strong enough, he can overcome desires. This state is normally explained as ‘man in control of the mind’. In such a state the wisdom and willpower of man prevails. If a person does not have these two significant qualities, he succumbs to the pressures of the mind and this state is known as ‘mind in control of the man’. Having understood that desires originate from the mind, one has to control the mind by intellect and willpower. An idle mind always gives room for various types of desires and many such desires cannot be accomplished in a normal way of life. When unachieved desires become too potent, they afflict the quality of a person.

According to this verse, desires are to be eliminated at the time of their germination in the mind. They should not be allowed to grow. Desires are the results of sensory inputs from the material world. In order to annihilate a sprouting desire, the mind is to be turned inwards, concentrating on the Self within. When this is practiced, sprouting desires will lose their strength and ultimately perish. Looking within is known as spirituality. Pursuing spiritual path has all the good qualities in shaping up a perfect personality. Such a person not only shines in the spiritual world, but also in the material world. He commands respect from the society and becomes one of the great achievers.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 97: SKILL 74

This verse explains the benefits of practicing the principles laid down in the previous verse. When a person does not have desires or knowledge, what sort of a person he is? When a person is without desire, he has crossed the first step in spirituality with ease. But in addition to desire, the verse has also included knowledge. But knowledge in this verse refers to the knowledge of the material world. There are two types of knowledge. One is the knowledge about material world and the other is the knowledge about the Self. Knowledge about the material world is attained through sensory organs and experience. But the knowledge about the Self is difficult to attain and is generally taught through a Guru. Again, spiritual knowledge is not the religious knowledge, which is generally gained through various rituals. True spiritual knowledge is about the Self, which can be imparted only by a Guru who has already realized the Self. Though books and other materials can provide only the basic inputs, one to one interaction with a Guru alone can make one’s spiritual knowledge absolute.

This verse says that without the desire as explained in the previous verse and without the knowledge of the material world as explained in this verse, one becomes the essence of the Self. He can with authority and confidence say that “I am Brahman” or “I am Śiva”. This affirmation is possible for him as his individual consciousness, predominated by his ego, has merged into the Supreme Consciousness. During this merger, his mind, intellect, consciousness and ego shed their identities and become One with the Self. Shedding their identities happens before the merger and not during the merger. One’s consciousness has to be pure before merging with the Self. Practically speaking, this state was pre-existing in him and only now he has realised this truth and this is known as Self-realization.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 98: SKILL 75

What one has to do, if he could not control his mind in spite of his best efforts? Controlling the mind here means controlling his desires and material knowledge derived from sensory inputs. He has to fix his mind on uprising desire and the related knowledge, treating both of them as the Self. At the perfect point of treating them as the Self, he realizes the Self within. The emphasis of this verse is on the effectiveness of the awareness.

Many spiritual aspirants are unable to succeed because of the ineffectiveness of their awareness. Awareness is also known as consciousness. When one practices fixing his awareness on a particular point, say an object or even a dot on a wall, at the point when his awareness becomes highly focused on that object or point, all other thought processes are totally annihilated and his entire awareness, also known as his consciousness is fixed only on the point of his concentration. Assume that point as the Self and realizing that point without distraction, (as all other thought processes are annihilated because of the intensity of the concentration) is known as Self-realization.

This verse says when one is unable to eliminate desires and material knowledge, concentrate on them instead and at the time of highest level of concentration, Self is realized.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 99: SKILL 76

In this verse, Bhairava addresses Bhairavi as “Śivaḥ priye” which means fond of Śiva. Bhairavi (Śakti) is always fond of Bhairava (Śiva) and they are not two different personalties. They are one and each one of them is inherent in the other.

What is the cause of knowledge? It is nothing, says this verse. No knowledge has either a cause or a base. When there is no cause or base for knowledge, then it implies that the knowledge is deceptive (māyā) in nature. It is deceptive because it is not real. Unless there is a cause, there cannot be any effect. Since there is no cause, this knowledge is useless. This knowledge is not spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is not deluded; it gives knowledge about the Reality. It alone leads to the Self. Spiritual knowledge has both cause and effect. Cause is the need to realize the Self (for cessation from transmigration) and the effect is the Self itself (goal of life).

This verse says that one has to understand this point thoroughly and contemplate on this reality, he then realizes the Self at the point of perfect contemplation. It is perfect contemplation because, the knowledge of “I” consciousness (individual self) is to be merged into “universal consciousness” which is also known as “Śiva consciousness”. Unless this union between the individual self and the Universal Self is complete, Śiva realization is not possible. The union of individual consciousness and Śiva Consciousness is known as yoga. Yoga means union.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 100: SKILL 77

There is no difference in the Self that is present in all the beings. Self is omnipresent. Only It’s outer covering in the form of gross bodies differ. The outer covering could be a plant, insect, animal or human. Only the gross bodies differ and not the souls within. The soul within is known as the essence as the other types of bodies are formed around this essence. This is called Consciousness, the Supreme Self. In order to attain this Consciousness, one has to focus his consciousness, instead of diversifying it. If one asks where to focus, this verse says just focus on anyone thing and there Self is realized.

This verse can be better explained through Śhiva Sūtra (I.1) Caitanyamātmā चैतन्यमात्मा.

Caitanya means Consciousness and ātmā refers to the Self. Caitanyam is derived from the word cetana (चेतन). Both caitanya and cetana mean only consciousness. To be more precise, cetana is the conscious being (individual consciousness) and Caitanya is the Universal Consciousness. Caitanya = Śiva + Śakti, while mere Cít or Consciousness is only Śiva as Prakāśa or Self-illuminating light. As Ātmā has Power apart from Light (without power, It becomes inert), the word used is Caitanya (Śiva and Śakti) and not Cít (Śiva), in order to denote both Śiva and Śakti and not Śiva alone, who is referred as the Brahman in Advaitavedānta. Svātantrya is ānanda śakti2, the energy of bliss of Śiva. Citśakti, the energy of Consciousness and ānanda śakti, the energy of bliss of Śiva are inseparable In other words Śiva and Śakti are inseparable. Cetana also means visible or conspicuous. The entire universe emerges (becoming visible or conspicuous) from Caitanya, which has two sides, one is gross and the other is subtle. Gross is made up of names and forms and the subtle is made up of antaḥkaraṇa, the inner psychic apparatus, which comprises of mind, intellect and ego (according to advaita, consciousness forms a part of antaḥkaraṇa). Gross forms give direct experience and the subtle forms give internal experience. This is how the universe appears. How is Caitanya related to Ātmā? The purest form of Caitanya is Ātmā (Śiva), the Self.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 101: SKILL 78

When one is able to make his mind pure by practicing to look within, even if his mind is afflicted with lust, anger, greed, delusion, arrogance and jealousy, the different emotional states of the mind, he can disconnect his mind from these qualities. All the emotional states arise due to the afflicted mind; the mind gets afflicted because of some external factors. Factors could be an object or an action. Before the mind bursts out due to these afflictions, one has to look within, to find out the cause of these afflictions and stay put on the points of origin of the afflictions. This should be done before these adversities erupt in the forms words or actions. The point of origin is the one where sensory inputs are made in the mind. Once the inputs get embedded in the mind, it is difficult to remove them. One has to act before the impressions are formed. Mental impressions can cause irreparable damage to the character of a person.

If one is able to look within at the times of turbulence in his mind, spiritual energy is generated and become more and more powerful and begins to pervade his mind, resulting in the annihilation of the causes of these emotional states. Depending upon the intensity and ability to look within, spiritual energy transforms into bliss, a state of inexplicable joy, when Śiva is realized.

Further Readings:

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra - Part 22

Vijnana Bhairav Tantra - Part 24

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra- Part 25