There are several commentaries on the Vignyan Bhairav Tantra. So here I will write a bit on what I use and my experience, as it should be. Sanatan Dharm (Hinduism) gives complete importance to the Observer, the One who Experiences. I cannot comment on something that someone else has observed and experienced. The same event is seen differently by different people, who is correct and wrong? No one is correct or wrong, they all Are. Eg, someone dies, each one of his family members will have different experiences, some may feel grief, pain, separation, agony, happiness, even relief, all are justified and Are.
‘Modern age Gurus’ focus on fancy words and complicated explanations, which intend to confuse and keep their disciples tied to them. I want everyone to understand and eventually experience their True Self. This road is not easy and maybe one in a million will actually do it, but it is the final destination, everyone is moving towards it knowingly or unknowingly.
My Sat-Guru taught me a meditation technique from this Vignyan Bhairav Tantra (VBT) which I have detailed in this post. VBT is a collection of 108 techniques for achieving the complete experience of Oneself. Some techniques repeat thus in some translations and texts it is mentioned to be 112 or some other figure. However here are 108 techniques which are described by Bhairav to his beloved Devi. It is the list of options given by the Ultimate to his own fragments, individual souls/us which will help us evade the enticements of His own Creative Force and realise the Himself. A mind-bender.
So what happens when you do Dhyan. This is Tantra, the practice. Your body is the Yantra, with the energy vertices making perfect multidimensional geometric patterns, a sort of a hyper Meru within you. And your intention is fulfilled using mind entraining techniques called as Mantra.
First and foremost in Dhyan your mind stills. Your mind is imperfect but strangely perfect. This world that we see around us is however quite imperfect. If you can observe energy structures, this world that we see has ‘gaps’ in it, especially around boundaries of individual objects. Our mind cannot make sense of these ‘gaps’, so works to ‘fill in the gaps’ with something that makes sense to it. Our extraordinary mind thus creates a construct. Every single instant your mind is making a construct thus consuming vital energy/ prana. The mind makes the pran move, change, create duality. The mind is working frantically every single instant. It needs to be stopped so that it can rest. It needs to be trained to acknowledge the ‘gaps’ and thus slip out of the construct it is creating for itself. It needs to gain confidence to See what is actually there. The Real self is so terrifyingly beautiful, a tremendous paradox that the mind shirks away from “seeing’ it. There are several examples of people who did some spiritual practice or something without proper guidance and lost their minds. Also the mind needs to stop consuming such humongous quantities of vital energy, wasting it creating constructs rather than using it to See Reality.
- Example from VBT – Bhairav tells the aspirant to visualise his body full of the Paramtatva/ the Ultimate consciousness and also the surrounding environment as the Paramtattva too. The skin is to be visualised as a insubstantial barrier between these two sets of Paramtattva. As the concentration becomes deeper the barrier dissolves and both sets of Paramtattva merge and you See the Ultimate. We all are energy, all vibrating at different levels. If the mind can be encouraged to focus on the highest possible energies it will sooner or later entrain itself to this goal you have set for it.
- The mind in a normal human being works under the direction of Devi or Prakruti or Mahamaya. She is the creative principle of the Paramtattva/ Bhairav. We are souls born of the Bhairav and we are Bhairav ourselves. She entertains us with her creative force/ the mind. In an enlightened soul who has experienced his true identity as Bhairav, the mind does not exist as such, it is still, in the Moment.
Now the breathing activity, this connects the mind to the perceived Universe. There are also glaring ‘gaps’ in this breathing activity. The gap between the inhale/ purak and exhale/ rechak and also between the exhale and the inhale is called the ‘kumbhak’. There are books and books written on this rechak-purak-kumbhak cycle and the importance of Kumbhak. But the operative part is this, the kumbhak is the ‘gap’. If your consciousness can utilize the energies of this ‘gap’ to slip out of the construct you achieve Moksh.
- Example from VBT – the pran/ vital energies do not move in either direction and there is utter stillness, the true self is experienced. There are several references to this Kumbhak ‘gap’ it happens always for a fraction of a second but we are unaware of this as our mind and physical body both partners in crime, gloss over it.
- Breathing is a very important activity which has to be in your conscious control because this is the most important source of pran/vital energy from the Universal source/ Hiranyagarbha/ Samashti pran. If you can control the quality and quantity of pran entering your body you have pierced the secrets of the Universe.
Finally when the breath and mind both reach their optimum states of stillness the Reality is Experienced. A simple example.
- There is a wall of mud blocking your way. You know you have to see beyond it. It is all muddy you cannot see through it. So you take water and wash off the mud. You see that it is in fact a mirror, it is reflecting your perception of yourself. You are caught in your perceived beauty till you realise that you are still stuck on this side. You want to cross this mirror see what is beyond it.
- You work on the glass again to remove the silvering. It is now transparent you can see through it. There is the Reality you always wanted to see on the other side. You admire it till you realise that you are still stuck on this side of this glass. Even if it is transparent now, this glass is blocking your actual experience. But now you do not know what to do so you keep knocking against the glass with the faith that someone will answer and remove it.
- Then suddenly you realise that you have now sufficient strength to remove this peice of glass yourself. You do so and merge with your understanding and experience your Self.
Every object that you perceive has the capacity to to lead you to your goal. So the problem is to define your goal. If you concentrate enough on a stone you will become a stone. If you concentrate on the Universe you will become the Universe. If you concentrate on Your Own Self you will Become..
- Bhairav in VBT tells of concentrating on an enlightened Guru. This is a very deceptive statement. When I think of my Guru, what do I see? A old bald man or the stupendous tremendousness that He Is?
- You can concentrate on sound too, for this Bhagwan tells of the 12 different sounds associated with the different energies of the Dwashant. This is deceptively simple too. But the real sound you should concentrate on is Om, the summary (anta) of the twelve (dwadasha).
All the 108 techniques start off as different techniques but during deep Dhyan they all merge into one continuous experience. You will start off with So-hum, then feel the stillness of the kumbhak, then feel that your eyes will go blind with the crashing beauty of illumination, feel yourself being consumed by time, feel your personal boundary dissolving, it is beautiful and experience is everything. Dissolution of boundaries leads to the light of self realization.
VBT is an exceptional book because it tells you how to go about it. No philosophy and no debates, just the action required. Each line in it is worth a entire book in itself. One post cannot hope to do justice to VBT so will try write more on this as I get more time and experience.
(Here is a link to a copy of VBT, the translations are very basic and word to word.)