Vijnana Bhairava Tantra PART 28: VERSE 127 – 138

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 127: SKILL 103

When one contemplates all those that cannot be seen, realized, beyond human perception, void, etc, at the time of intense contemplation, Bhairava is realized. Any object beyond human perception such as void is devoid of tattva-s. Every perceivable object is bound by tattva-s (principles) and when an object or a being is bound by tattva, it or he has a shape and form. When one looks beyond shapes and forms, an exclusive attribute of Bhairava, at that time, He is realized. At the time of realization, the ever effulgent Consciousness is realized in the form of flashes of Light. One can reach this state only if the mind as a whole is made dysfunctional.

This can be easily practiced in daily life. Sit quietly, forget about breath, etc. Contemplate on some familiar object. After a few minutes of intent contemplation, the object will disappear and you enter into a state of quick and successive trances and during this state, the mind becomes thoughtless and becomes dysfunctional. With persistent practice, one can see light in different shapes and forms such as stars, moon, etc.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 128: SKILL 106

One should fix his consciousness on the space, for example the vastness of the sky which appears as boundless and without support. When his concentration becomes intent and perfect, he gets absorbed into the purity and vastness of the sky. During this state, his mind becomes totally dysfunctional and he becomes one with the vastness of the sky, without boundaries, without impurities, etc and this is realization.

Realization is a simple process, though appearing to be complicated. Realization has to happen only through the mind and therefore, mind should be made pure by purging all thoughts related to the material world. This is possible if one fixes his awareness on a boundless and pure object such as sky or even some form of his or her favourite god or goddess. When the awareness becomes intent, he or she gets absorbed into that form of god or vastness of the sky and during this state he or she does not even realize the existence of his/her mind. This is a simple contemplation, and if practiced, one can reach a reasonably perfect state in less than a month.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 129: SKILL 107

The mind by nature is bound to move towards various objects (extravert). For example, when an apple is placed on a table the mind moves towards the apple, causing various agitations in the mind. The awareness about the apple gets intensified with every passing minute. Instead of intensifying the awareness on apple, one has to move his awareness away from the apple, the moment he sees the apple. When the attention is moved away from the apple, for a few moments, before the mind could get fixed on something else, the mind becomes without support and remains completely purified. Purification of the mind is possible only if there is no agitation in the mind.

In God realization, the mind acts in three different ways.

1. The mind is controlled with the support of breathing, postures, mudras, etc.

2. In the second state, the mind is cleansed with the help of the mind and will power. During this state, the mind is fully pervaded by pure consciousness, which is also known as Bhairava. It is like cleaning the flour. When the dirt is removed, purity of the flour is seen. When the impressions of the mind are removed, purity of the mind is revealed, which is nothing but Bhairava Himself.

3. In the third state, the mind becomes totally non-existent or dysfunctional and this is the stage where one experiences trance. There is no question purity or impurity here.

Ultimately, God realization totally depends upon one’s ability to manoeuvre his mind.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 130: SKILL 108

Bhairava means fear, terror, formidable, etc. Bhairava is explained in Śhiva Sūtra (I.5) which says that Bhairava is realized as the effulgent Light in a fraction of a second. There are many interpretations for Bhairava. There are two types of explanations. One is Para Bhairava which refers to Paramaśiva, the Supreme. Another is Apara Bhairava which means Siddhas, who always stay connected with the Supreme Self. Bhairava also means the consolidation of all the energies of the universe; it is the essence of all energies and later manifest as different energies such as air, water, beings, etc. Bhairava is not only prakāśa but also vimarśa. This verse says that repeatedly reciting “Bhairava” as a mantra japa, he becomes one with Him.

Mantra japas are used only to control the mind. Now it has become a habit to recite mantras mechanically without even contemplating the form given in the dhyana verses. Unless the reciter, the object of recitation (Bhairava here) and the mantra (recitation of Bhairava) are unified, nothing can be achieved by reciting any mantras.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 131: SKILL 109

When affirmations are made, such as “I am That” or “I am Śiva” or “I am Śakti”, etc during such affirmations, the mind listens to those powerful affirmations. Generally affirmations work effectively when someone affirms about what cannot perceived by him. If affirmation is made about a known object, then the mind becomes confused and agitated because its inability to concentrate on the object as a whole. It is said, “To believe in the things you can see and touch is not belief at all; but to believe in the unseen is a triumph and a blessing (Abraham Lincoln).” This triumph and blessing is nothing but Śiva realization.

Such affirmation works directly on the mind and purges all other impurities that got deposited in the mind due to the effects of worldly life. When the mind is cleansed, the affirmations work on the mind by fully pervading it. The pervasion becomes absolute when the affirmation also becomes absolute. This is where realisation happens. Realization could happen in a fraction of second or could last long as a trance and during this trance realization happens.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 132: SKILL 110

Sometimes, mere recitation of a name (or mantra japa) may not work. Even if one recites mantra “Bhairava” repeatedly, he may not be able to fix his consciousness on Bhairava. For those, this verse describes the qualities of Bhairava. Contemplate on the qualities of Bhairava such as “eternal, omnipresent, without support and all pervading” and mediate on these qualities put together. With the intensity of meditation, these qualities are realized and as these qualities belong exclusively to Bhairava, ultimately Bhairava is realized. Realization is always achieved through a series of processes.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 133: SKILL 111/1

The universe is like a magic show without any reality. It is illusory and deceptive. It is like a dream, without any purpose. If one understands this reality and mediates on this reality, he enters blissful state. Realization happens only at the end of blissful state.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 134: SKILL 111/2

There cannot be any activity in the changeless Self, which does not undergo any modifications. When there is no activity or modifications, how can there be knowledge about that changeless Self? The verse says, “ātmano nirvikārasya आत्मनो निर्विकारस्य” which means that Self does not undergo changes; it always remains eternal and immutable. Therefore, when we say knowledge, it refers only to the knowledge of the material world. When we call the knowledge about the material world as knowledge, then what is the knowledge about the inner Self. It is no knowledge at all or the negation of knowledge about the material world. When the soul is not outside, then it is inside. There are only two sides to our body. One is outside our body and another is inside of our body. When the soul is not outside, it has to be inside. What is outside can be seen and understood and what is within is to be visualized and realized. Former leads to transmigration and the latter leads to liberation.

When knowledge about the external world and the actions that take place are unreal (the reality is deluded by māyā), then it is void. Where there is no action in the Self, obviously it has to be void as nothing is there to change in void. Whatever the changes that we see belong to the changes that happen on and for the empirical individual and not on the Self. By contemplating on this reality, one enters the state of bliss.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra VERSE 135: SKILL 111/3

“I am free both from bondage and liberation” says the liberated one. Bondage and liberation are dualities, hence limited by time and space. Only the ignorant are bound by dualities and consequent delusion. They consider the image of the sun in water as the real sun, not knowing that they are seeing is only a reflection. Bondage and reflection arise due to the wild imagination of buddhi or intellect. In reality, Pure Consciousness is the Self, which alone is Self-illuminating and which alone is real. All that we see is only the Self, the all pervasive, which is wrongly perceived as the material world. But He alone exists everywhere in different shapes and forms.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra​​​​​​​ VERSE 136: SKILL 111/4

When we live in the material world and we experience pleasure and pain due to sensory organs. Sensory organs gather material inputs from the material world and pass on to the mind which becomes susceptible to the dualities of pleasure and pain. As long as we exist, we will continue to have pleasure and pain. One has to understand that pleasure and pain is a duality concealing the true nature of the Self and has to set all types of dualities aside to remain with the Self all the time.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra​​​​​​​ VERSE 137: SKILL 111/5

Whatever we see is revealed to us by the knowledge of the Self which is known as jñāna, which is different from the mundane knowledge discussed earlier. This jñāna is very simple. The principle of this jñāna has three aspects in realizing the Self. One is the knower, who wants to know the Self; the second is the object of knowing, the Self; and the third is jñāna, through which the knower, the object of knowing and the path of knowing should become homogenous. When the knower and the known are the same Self, there is no question of inherent impurity in anything. All are pure by nature and it is only the mind that bounds a person with dualities and when he is bound by dualities, he experiences impurities such as pleasure and pain. His pure inherent nature gets bound by time and space. Knowing this process is realization.

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra​​​​​​​ VERSE 138: SKILL 112

“O! My dear one! When the mind, individual consciousness, vital force (prāṇaśakti) and the bound self (ego) get dissolved, the state of Bhairava described so far appears” concludes Bhairava. Bhairava uses the word cetana to mean conscious individual, the one who perceives and he cannot perceive without cetana, which is unconditioned form of consciousness in its functional state.

The verse explains these four as manasaṁ, cetanā, śakti and ātman (mind, consciousness, prāṇic energy and soul). These four are called catuṣṭaya (four fold). If one wants to know the state of Bhairava, one has to leave the catuṣṭaya aside. By ignoring mind, awareness, breathing and ego (individual and bound soul is considered as ego), one can realize the true state of Bhairava. This is the ultimate stage one can reach by attaining spiritual knowledge, the higher level of knowledge as opposed to the worldly knowledge. Call the sun as sun is worldly knowledge and calling the sun as the Self is the spiritual knowledge. It is the perception that matters. This stage can be attained only in the state of annihilated mind. As long as the mind is active, the rest three also become active, thereby preventing realization.

(this series will be concluded in the next part)

Further Readings:

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra - Part 26

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra - Part 27

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra - Concluding Part