Vigyana Bhairava Tantra

Parvati-Devi asks:

“Oh Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
What constitutes seed?
Who centres the universal wheel?
What is this life beyond form pervading forms?
How may we enter it fully, above space and time, names and descriptions?
Let my doubts be cleared!”

Shiva replies:

1. Radiant one, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in and just before turning up, the beneficence.

2. As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down, through both these turns, realize.

3. Or, whenever in-breath and out-breath fuse, at this instant touch the energy-less, energy-filled centre.

4. Or, when breath is all out and stopped of itself, or all in and stopped, in such universal pause, one’s small self vanishes.

5. Attention between eyebrows, let mind be before thought. Let form fill with breath essence to the top of the head and there shower as light.

6. When in worldly activity, keep attention between two breaths, and so practicing, in a few days be born anew.

7. With intangible breath in centre of forehead, as this reaches heart at the moment of sleep, have direction over dreams and over death itself.

8. With utmost devotion, centre on the two junctions of breath and know the knower.

9. Lie down as dead. Enraged in wrath, stay so. Or stare without moving an eyelash. Or suck something and become the sucking.

10. While being caressed, sweet princess, enter the caress as everlasting life.

11. Stop the doors of the senses when feeling the creeping of an ant. Then.

12. When on a bed or a seat, let yourself become weightless, beyond mind.

13. Or, imagine the five-coloured circles of the peacock tail to be your five senses in illimitable space. Now let their beauty melt within. Similarly, gaze at any point in space or on a wall, until the point dissolves.

14. Place your whole attention in the nerve, delicate as the lotus thread, in the centre of your spinal column. In such be transformed.

15. Closing the seven openings of the head with your hands, a space between your eyes becomes all inclusive.

16. Blessed one, as senses are absorbed in the heart, reach the centre of the lotus.

17. Unminding mind, keep in the middle, until.

18. Look lovingly at some object. Do not go to another object. Here in the middle of the object, the blessing.

19. Without support for feet or hands, sit only on the buttocks. Suddenly, the centering.

20. In a moving vehicle, by rhythmically swaying, experience. Or in a still vehicle, by letting yourself swing in slowing invisible circles.

21. Pierce some part of your nectar-filled form with a pin, and gently enter the piercing and attain to the inner purity.

22. Let attention be at a place where you are seeing some past happening, and even your form, having lost its present characteristics, is transformed.

23. Feel an object before you. Feel the absence of all other objects but this one. Then, leaving aside the object-feeling and the absence-feeling, realize.

24. When a mood against someone or for someone arises, do not place it on the person in question, but remain centred.

25. Just as you have the impulse to do something, stop.

26. When some desire comes, consider it. Then, suddenly, quit it.

27. Run around until exhausted and then, dropping to the ground, in this dropping be whole.

28. Imagine you are gradually being deprived of strength or of knowledge. At the instant of deprivation, transcend.

29. Devotion frees.

30. Eyes closed, see your inner being in detail. Thus see your true nature.

31. Look upon a bowl without seeing the sides or the material. In a few moments become aware.

32. See as if for the first time a beauteous person or an ordinary object.

33. Simply by looking into the blue sky beyond clouds, the serenity.

34. Listen while the ultimate mystical teaching is imparted. Eyes still, without blinking, at once become absolutely free.

35. At the edge of a deep well look steadily into its depths until, the wondrousness.

36. Look upon some object, then slowly withdraw your sight from it, then slowly withdraw your thought from it. Then.

37. Devi, imagine the sanskrit letters in these honey-filled foci of awareness, first as letters, then more subtly as sounds, then as most subtle feeling. Then, leaving them aside, be free.

38. Bathe in the centre of sound, as in the continuous sound of a waterfall. Or, by putting the fingers in the ears, hear the sound of sounds.

39. Intone a sound, such as aum, slowly. As sound enters soundfulness, so do you.

40. In the beginning and gradual refinement of the sound of any letter, awaken.

41. While listening to stringed instruments, hear their composite central sound; thus omnipresence.

42. Intone a sound audibly, then less and less audibly as feeling deepens into this silent harmony.

43. With mouth slightly open, keep mind in the middle of the tongue. Or, as breath comes silently in, feel the sound “hh”.

44. Centre on the sound “aum” without any “a” or “m”.

45. Silently intone a word ending in “ah.” Then in the “hh”, effortlessly, the spontaneity.

46. Stopping ears by pressing and the rectum by contracting, enter the sound.

47. Enter the sound of your name and, through this sound, all sounds.

48. At the start of sexual union keep attentive on the fire in the beginning, and so continuing, avoid the embers in the end.

49. When in such embrace your senses are shaken as leaves, enter this shaking.

50. Even remembering union, without the embrace, transformation.

51. On joyously seeing a long absent friend, permeate this joy.

52. When eating or drinking, become the taste of the food or drink, and be filled.

53. Oh lotus-eyed one, sweet of touch, when singing, seeing, tasting, be aware you are and discover the ever-living.

54. Wherever satisfaction is found, in whatever act, actualise this.

55. At the point of sleep, when the sleep has not yet come and the external wakefulness vanishes, at this point being is revealed.

56. Illusions deceive, colours circumscribe, even divisibles are indivisible.

57. In moods of extreme desire, be undisturbed.

58. This so-called universe appears as a circus, a play. To be happy, look upon it so.

59. Oh beloved, put attention neither on pleasure nor on pain, but between these.

60. Objects and desires exist in me as in others. So accepting, let them be transformed.

61. As waves come with water and flames with fire, so the universal waves with us.

62. Wherever your mind is wandering, internally or externally, at this very place, this.

63. When vividly aware through some particular sense, keep in the awareness.

64. At the start of sneezing, during fright, in anxiety, above a chasm, flying in battle, in extreme curiosity, at the beginning of hunger, at the end of hunger, be uninterruptedly aware.

65. ‘The purity of other teachings is an impurity to us.’ In reality, know nothing as pure or impure.

66. Be the unsame same to friend as to stranger, in honour and dishonour.

67. Here is the sphere of change, change, change. Through change consume change.

68. As a hen mothers her chicks, mother particular knowings, particular doings, in reality.

69. Since, in truth, bondage and freedom are relative, these words are only for those terrified with the universe. This universe is a reflection of minds. As you see many suns in water from one sun, so see bondage and liberation.

70. Consider your essence as light rays from centre to centre up the spine, and so rises “livingness” in you.

71. Or in the spaces between, feel this as lightning.

72. Feel the cosmos as a translucent ever-living presence.

73. In summer when you see the entire sky endlessly clear, enter such clarity.

74. Shakti, see all space as if already absorbed in your own head in the brilliance.

75. Waking, sleeping, dreaming, know your self as light.

76. In the rain on a dark night enter that darkness as the form of forms.

77. When a moonless rainy night is not present, close eyes and find blackness before you. Opening eyes, see blackness. So faults disappear forever.

78. Wherever your attention alights, at this very point, experience.

79. Focus on fire rising through your form, from the toes up, until the body burns to ashes, but not you.

80. Meditate on the illusory world as burning to ashes and become being above human.

81. As subjectively letters flow into words and words into sentences, and as, objectively, circles flow into worlds and worlds into principles, find at last these converging in your being.

82. Feel: my thought, I-ness, heart, me.

83. Before desire and before knowing, how can I say I am? Consider. Dissolve in the beauty.

84. Throw attachment for body aside, realizing ‘I am everywhere’. One who is everywhere is joyous.

85. Thinking no thing will limited-self unlimit.

86. Suppose you contemplate something beyond perception, beyond grasping, beyond not-being, you.

87. I am existing. This is mine. This is this. Oh beloved, even in such know illimitably.

88. Each thing is perceived through knowing. The self shines in space through knowing. Perceive one being as knower and known.

89. Beloved, at this moment let mind, knowing, breath and form be included.

90. Touching eyeballs as a feather, lightness between them opens into heart and there permeates the cosmos.

91. Kind Devi, enter etheric presence pervading far above and below your form.

92. Put mindstuff in such inexpressible fineness above, below and in your heart.

93. Consider any area of your present form as limitlessly spacious.

94. Feel your substance, bones, flesh, blood, saturated with the cosmic essence.

95. Feel the fine qualities of creativity permeating your breasts and assuming delicate configurations.

96. Abide in some place endlessly spacious, clear of trees, hills, habitations. Thence comes the end of mind pressures.

97. Consider your lungs to be your own body of bliss.

98. In any position gradually pervade the breast with great peace.

99. Feel yourself as pervading all directions, far and near.

100. The appreciation of objects and subjects is the same for an enlightened as for an unenlightened person. The former has one greatness: he remains in the subjective mood, not lost in things.

101. Believe omniscient, omnipotent, pervading.

102. Imagine spirit simultaneously within and around you until the entire universe spiritualises.

103. With your entire consciousness in the very start of desire, of knowing, know.

104. O Shakti, each particular perception is limited, disappearing in omnipotence.

105. In truth forms are not separate. Not separate are omnipresent being and your own form. Realize each as made of this consciousness.

106. Feel the consciousness of each person as your own consciousness. So, leaving aside concern for self, become each being.

107. This consciousness exists as each being, and nothing else exists.

108. This consciousness is the spirit of guidance of each one. Be this one.

109. Suppose your passive form to be a spacious room with walls of skin, empty.

110. Gracious one, play. The universe is an empty shell wherein your mind frolics infinitely.

111. Sweet hearted one, consider knowing and not-knowing, existence and non-existence. Then leave both aside that you may be.

112. Enter space, support-less, eternal, still.

From the translation by Lakshman Joo