Vijnana Bhairava Tantra Part 5. Verses 24-27
Now Bhairava answers Bhairavi by expounding 112 types of pragmatic and proficient skills through concentration. From now on, each verse deals with one skill. Wherever possible, Sanskrit terms have been dispensed with to make the understanding easier. It is not necessary that one should follow all the 112 skills. One can choose any one or more of the skills that suit him best. For making a choice, one should understand all the 112 types of awareness.
Vijnana Bhairava Tantra Verse 24 – skill 1
During normal breathing, breath goes in (inhalation) and goes out (exhalation). Inhalation is the process where the breath enters our body through trachea to the lobes of the lungs and reaches the end points of the lobes. These end points meet the heart and the diaphragm. Visualise this point. Medically this area is known as cariodphrenic pleural sinuses. The air that we breathe in goes up to this point making an impact on the heart and the diaphragm. The movement of the diaphragm helps kundalini to ascend. At the end of inhalation the air stands still for a fraction of a second before it makes a U turn ( in fact it is V turn, as we do not get a point in U) to commence its exhalation process. Once the process of exhalation is complete and before the commencement of the process of inhalation, the air stands still for a fraction of a second before it commences its inhalation process. Normally inhalation begins 12 inches from the tip of nose. Observe this stillness of breath, the state of breathlessness. This may not be possible immediately, but persistent practice this becomes possible to realize this two stillness points. When these points of stillness are realized, one realizes the state of Bhairava. In other words, Self realisation happens. It is to be distinctly remembered that God or the Brahman is the highest level of consciousness.
Vijnana Bhairava Tantra Verse 25 – skill 2
This skill is the continuation of the previous one. At the end of inhalation and before the commencement of exhalation and after that momentary stillness, the breath takes a U turn and commences its exhalation process. Observe this exact point of V turn, the point where the return (exhalation) begins. There Bhairava is realized within in this point. If one is able to concentrate on the points that Bhairava mentions, such awareness cleanses the path of kundalini, the central canal of the spinal cord. The cleansing happens due to the vibratory effect of the awareness.
Vijnana Bhairava Tantra Verse 26 – skill 3
This skill activates the sushumna nadi or the central canal of the spinal cord. This skill involves in knowing the point of fusion of in-breath and out-breath. This fusion happens around the point of return that has been discussed in skill 2. This point of fusion is where neither inhalation nor exhalation happens. While fixing awareness here, the entire intellection ceases to function as awareness is fixed on the point of fusion and not on the worldly connections. The awareness becomes so minute that his thoughts are disconnected and he becomes thoughtless. His consciousness is fixed inwardly and his external connection through senses is sealed. During this process, sushumna becomes activated. In skill 2, sushumna is cleansed by mere concentration. In this skill, sushumna is activated by the stage of thoughtlessness (nir-vkalpa). In this stage, one realizes Bhairava.
Vijnana Bhairava Tantra Verse 27 – skill 4
When inhalation is made, exhalation does not happen immediately and when exhalation is made inhalation does not happen immediately. Either breath is retained for a moment or one is without breath for a moment. It is called ‘kumbhaka’. Breath is the source of energy for the body to survive and hence it is called ‘prana’ the vital energy. Without prana the physical body cannot continue to exist. Prana is the vital force. On many occasions one could have noticed that he could have momentarily entered the state of death out of fear when his breath stops for a moment. When someone is flying and the aircraft develops serious technical snag, he becomes breathless when hears the announcement made by the commander. Though he continues to exist, his consciousness for a moment becomes un-conscious. He becomes unaware of himself and the surroundings. He becomes thoughtless. For effective functioning of the mind, pranic energy is required. When the required supply of prana is suspended, the mind also becomes thoughtless. During the stage of thoughtlessness, the individual self ceases to exist due to lack of prana and merges into Bhairava. The ignorance of duality paves way for the knowledge of Reality. This skill does not refer to forced holding of breath (kumbhaka). When this skill is practiced in the stage of thoughtlessness, Bhairava is realized. It happens on its own.