The Vijnana Bhairava is a foundational tantric text to attain realization and divine embodiment through ordinary experiences, such as breathing, tasting, and making love.
There are 112 meditations techniques or technologies.
The text is written in the form of a dialogue between Shiva (Bhairava – male principle) and his lover/beloved, Shakti (Bhairavi – feminine principle).
I will offer two ways to work with the text, and this particular article.
- Read the sutra and immediately apply the technique and carry it with you for the day.
- If the sutra has helped you, practice it for 21-40 days and each day you will deepen into the meditation.
- One need not work with all 112 techniques, only 1 technique is needed for realization…and when realization is attained, all techniques can be disregarded and one can simply live life in meditation.
This is a uniquely Tantric position -to have a technique, use it, then drop it-. For many spiritual systems use techniques (yoga, prayer, monastic life), and they continue to use them, perhaps lifetime after lifetime.
Tantra says, the technique is a boat to the other side, when you have reached the other side, you don’t continue to carry the boat. That would be a control pattern, that would be forceful…Tantra is not about force and effort.
Tantra is opposite Yoga. Classical yoga is about control, as is becoming a monk – they require a diet, rigorous practice, seclusion, often a specific hair cut and garb. This is one pathway to realization, absolute control…Tantra is the opposite. It is about letting go, it is more soft and feminine than yoga and becoming a Buddhist monk. That is why Tantra, like Sufism, is for lovers. In yoga -In Monkhood-, there are no great romances, romance is dead to the yogi. The classic yogi and Buddhist’s do not delve into the human emotions, they seek universal emotions, they reject sex, and meat, and worldly affairs for spiritual affairs. Tantra is not about the rejection of anything, and some of the progenitors of Tantra were all about breaking taboo – many are familiar with the above mentioned eating of meat, having sex, and drinking wine…but, they went much deeper, they would drink menstrual blood, have orgies, drink each others urine, and dig up the dead..etc. Because once you obliterate the line between right and wrong, things can move quickly. However, most don’t take that extremist path, which can be compared to the yogic esthetic who starves himself/herself.
Bottom line: Tantra is about saying ‘Yes’ to life with unconditional love and allowing your love and inspiration to be the source of action instead of rules and doctrine. It is about techniques of meditation for the awakening of our True Nature in every day experiences, such as tasting, dancing, riding in the vehicle, etc.
Now, the meditation:
As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves up to down – through both these turns realize.
- Poetic Translation by Loren Roche –
The life essence carries on its place
Through the pulsing rhythm
Of outward and inward movement. This is the ceaseless throb, the rhythm of life –
Terrifying in its eternity, exquisite in its constancy.
The inhalation, the return movement of breath, sustains life.
The outgoing breath
These two poles
Between which respiration goes on unceasingly.
Between them is every delight you could desire.
Even when the senses are turned outward, your attention on the external world, attend to the inner throb, the pulsing of the creative impulse within you.
Poetic Translation by Aya
Let there be a presence to the rhythm of life that throbs and pulses with you.
A doorway into untold mysteries lies within.
With each inhalation, let there be a yearning
A conscious communication with the bliss of being, and a breathing in the star’s light.
With every exhalation, die. Surrender your life into the great mystery.
Become total in your absorption of the breath and realize.
Through the tides of breath, swim in the endless ocean
Ride the incoming breath into ecstasy!
Dissolve into infinity on the out-going breath
Beloved Shakti, carry the universe in your body, breath into body and become whole
And we will be one
Take these words and this meditation and be reminded to breath. Be reminded that eb and flow of the breath is the pulse of life. Nothing more is needed to realize than the simple witnessing of the breath, you are already whole.
Note: though this is part 1 of a new series, I have around a 10 other Tantric meditations and reflections on my blog already posted.