Vijnana Bhairava Tantra PART 27: VERSE 119 – 126

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 119: SKILL 95

One has to recollect some incident from his past experience or recollect an object and stay attuned with that experience or object firmly, detaching his body from the mind. During this time, he loses his body consciousness as he is totally occupied with a particular past experience. For example, one can think about school days, school buildings, etc. When the mind gets focussed on the school, the vision of the past unfolds, such as his teachers, friends, class rooms, etc. Though the body remains here, he totally forgets the existence of his body. With no bodily experience and with his consciousness fixed in a past experience, which also fades away after a few moments, flow of supreme Consciousness takes place, where Śiva is realized.

This a typical example of out of body experience. Though it is not mentioned in the verse, it can be said that instead of associating with some past experience, one can contemplate on his or her favourite divine form and when the contemplation is perfect, one can experience (it is only an experience) the presence of the deity in flesh and blood. This contemplation is only for the beginners. When contemplation is perfect and absolute, body consciousness would be lost completely and when the body consciousness is lost, “I” consciousness gets annihilated and when “I” consciousness is annihilated, there is no need for the mind to get influenced by ego.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 120: SKILL 96

When an object is seen, the sight of the object is formed in the mind. Apart from the sight, the mind also acquires knowledge about the object. For example, if one sees an apple, sensory organ eyes pass on the impressions about the apple to the mind and also provides knowledge about the apple, like its taste, colour of its pericarp, pulp, etc.

Now, one has to practice like this. Now that the sight and knowledge about the apple have caused impressions in the mind, one has to learn to remove these impressions in the mind. The more one wants to remove the impressions the mind, by default will not remove those impressions that easily. On the contrary, mind will be bombarded with more powerful thoughts. This is going to be a tough practice, but repeated practice ultimately leads to perfection. When the impressions about the apple are completely removed, what remains in the mind is void. Since there is no impression in the mind whatsoever, he enters the state of blissfulness.

This verse also speaks about Bhairavi mudra. The message conveyed is the importance of looking within. Unless one attains complete perfection to look within, irrespective of opening or closing his eyes, no significant progress can be achieved in any type of meditation.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 121: SKILL 97

It is only Śakti, the independent power of Śiva, known as His svātantrya śakti alone can reveal the essential nature of Śiva. That is why Śakti worship has become very popular and widely followed. There are several tantras that provide ways and means to attain Her and many of these tantras are told to Śakti by Śiva, including this Vijñānabhirava Tantra. Śiva taught all the sacred tantras to Her by remaining as Her GURU. She is worshipped through these tantras, in the way Śiva taught. But unfortunately, His teachings have undergone several modifications for convenience, yielding no results today.

Her divine vision is directly related to the depth of one’s love for Her. Mere devotion is not enough to have Her darśan (ocular perception). There is a stage beyond extreme devotion which is known as Love for Her. When devotion metamorphoses into love, there She is realized and when She is realized, She reveals the ever effulgent Śiva and here ends one’s spiritual journey and the purpose of this life is achieved.

Lalithā Sahasranāma 727 says that She alone can impart the knowledge of Śiva and the interpretation of this nāma is given below:

Śiva-jñāna-pradāyinī शिव-ज्ञान-प्रदायिनी

She imparts the knowledge of Śiva, the Ultimate. Śiva jñāna (knowledge) means the knowledge of the Brahman, which is also known as the Supreme knowledge. To know Śiva, one should first know His Śaktī, who alone is capable of leading a person to the Brahman or Śiva. Rāmāyaṇa says ‘wind can be realized through movements, fire can be realised through heat and Śiva can be realized only through Śaktī.’ It can also be said that Śiva is the source of knowledge for Her.

It is said śaṁkaraṁ caitanyam which means that Śiva is both jñāna and kriyā. He is the sovereign, pure free will in knowledge and action. Based upon this principle, Shiva Sūtras opens by saying caitanyamātmā. Caitanyam means consciousness of the highest purity and knowledge. There is no difference between Brahman and the highest form of consciousness. But how Śaktī alone is capable of unravelling Śiva? This is answered by Śhiva Sūtra (I.6) again which says that by meditating on Śaktī, the universe disappears as a separate entity thereby unveiling Self illuminating Śiva. The process of such happening is described in Spanda Kārikā (I.8) (another treatise of Kashmiri Saivism) which says ‘the empirical individual cannot ward off the urge of desires. But entering the energetic circle of the Self (Śiva), he becomes equal to that Self.’ The seeker of Śiva becomes Śiva himself. This is known as Śiva jñāna and She imparts this kind of Supreme knowledge.

It is also said that Śiva cannot be attained without first realising Śaktī. She alone can lead one to Śiva. Śiva is inaccessible directly. Unless She chooses to impart the required Supreme knowledge, none can realise Śiva. Hence, She is called Śiva-jñāna-pradāyinī.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 122: SKILL 98

When a person contemplates on a particular object with absolute awareness, other impressions in the mind are annihilated making the mind fully occupied with that particular object. During this state, one experiences inexplicable happiness. At the time of activation of this happiness, even that object disappears leading to absolute purity of the mind and there exists only a void in his mind where Śakti and Śiva are realized.

The emphasis of this verse is on the purity of the mind, which alone leads to realization. This is further explained through the next verse.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 123: SKILL 99

Purity or impurity arises only through status of the mind. Either purity or impurity has nothing to do with the gross body, but is related directly to the subtle body viz. the mind and the emerging thought processes. When one thinks good, all bad impressions are relegated and when one thinks bad, all good thoughts are relegated. Bad thoughts are several times powerful than good thoughts and once evil thoughts get embedded in the subconscious mind, it is almost not possible to remove them. Hence it is said that one has to keep a good company. Spiritual discourses and soul stirring music vastly help in preventing the mind from wavering. Thought processes are generated in the mind only due to the wandering of the mind and this happens when the mind is either idle or not effectively put into use.

As far as this verse is concerned, it says that purity or impurity does not matter as long as the mind is perpetually fixed on Śiva Consciousness. This is the state where all dualities are annihilated and when dualities are annihilated, there remains only Śiva. “I” consciousness is dissolved and only Śiva Consciousness alone prevails in this state.

This concept is further explained in the next verse.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 124: SKILL 100

Śiva prevails everywhere as He is omnipresent and even a spiritual novice says “I”, he knowingly and unknowingly means only Śiva. If this understanding is put into practice, he attains the state of non-dualism where omnipresence Śiva is realized.

The verse says that one need not spend precious time in performing rituals and sacrifices. Who is being sought after through these rituals is omnipresent. Though everyone knows this reality, many fail to convince themselves and go forward in seeking Him in a fixed place. This lack of conviction is called ignorance or avidya in spiritual parlance. Instead of wasting time on invoking Him through rituals, one has to repeatedly affirm His omnipresence and these affirmations bear fruit one day and at that moment, He is realized.

This reality is carried forward in the next verse.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 125: SKILL 101

Dualism leads nowhere and there is no logical conclusion in dualism. It is like two rails of a railway track, one being jīvātman and another being Paramātman, which never meet. Rituals and sacrifices come under dualism and they lead only to obscurity.

On the other hand, dualism leads to liberation, where one becomes Bhairava Himself. If a person considers and treats both his enemies and friends with the same mental attitude, his mind experiences happiness as duality is dissolved.

In one’s life honour and dishonour are bound to happen. One cannot be happy always and similarly one cannot be sad all the time. Dualities always work in cycles, with ups and downs. If one has trained his mind to treat both honour and dishonour; success and defeat or grace and disgrace with the same mentality, he always remains in the state happiness, an exclusive quality of Bhairava and ultimately he becomes Bhairava Himself (i.e. he attains liberation).

The idea behind this verse is that Bhairava is free of dualities and when one wants to become Bhairava, he has to have the same qualities as that Bhairava.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 126: SKILL 102

Likes and dislikes, attachment and hatred are emotional dualities. Dualities in any form will not transform even the best of devotees as Bhairava. There is a central point or a dot between the two opposites placed at the extreme ends. One has to concentrate and fix his awareness on this bindu point, where Bhairava prevails. Concentrating on this bindu point is known as brahmabhāva (absorption into Bhairava).

Further Readings:

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra - Part 26

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra - Part 28

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra - Concluding Part