Sunday, February 05, 2017
Toss aside your map of the world,
All your beliefs and constructs.
Dare the wild unknown.
Here in this terrifying freedom,
Naked before the universe,
Commune with the One
Who knows everything from the inside:
Invisible power pervading everywhere.
Divine Presence permeating everything.
Breathe tenderly as
The lover of all beings.
– Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra
The Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra (sometimes spelled in a Hindicised way as Vigyan Bhairav Tantra) is a key text of the Trika school of Kashmir Shaivism in Sanskrit language. Cast as a discourse between the god Shiva and his consort Devi or Shakti, it briefly presents 112 meditation methods or centering techniques (dharana). These include several variants of breath awareness, concentration on various centers in the body, non-dual awareness, chanting, imagination and visualization and contemplation through each of the senses. A prerequisite to success in any of the 112 practices is a clear understanding of which method is most suitable to the practitioner. (from Wikipedia)
Note: There are many translations of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra but that by Lorin Roches is the most captivating. Called "The Radiance Sutras," it is a gorgeous poem capturing the divine essence of our existence. It is available on Amazon in book form and also (in an early version) available free on his website. It is something to be read and delighted in again and again. Here is the concluding section:
The Radiance Sutras
Beloved power-permeated one,
When the elements of your being –
the creative mind,
the one who divides things up,
the identification with your limited self –
When all these dissolve into essence,
and are experienced as delightful
manifestations of the true Self,
then that Self is known.
Being established in even one
of these hundred and twelve practices,
you can know from inside
the one who permeates all.
You will have the power to say a word, and
it will be done, the power to bless and unbless.
The one who goes deeply into any of these,
becomes friends with the life-force itself.
The goddess then asked,
If this is the nature of the universal self,
then who is to be worshipped?
To whom do I offer oblations,
To whom do I sacrifice?
If everything is divine,
and consciousness merges with that divine essence,
then what happens to the distinction between worshipper and worshipped?
Oh goddess, the practices you are speaking of
refer only to the externals.
When you enter into the great Self,
then all prayers go on inside you spontaneously
In reality all songs of gratitude
and ecstatic lovemaking are resonating in
every particle of creation at every moment.
When you are established in mindfulness
you are listening, and you hear them.
Plunging without reservation
into the ocean of being is meditation.
No image, no thoughts, no prop.
Concentrating on the image of a god
with a body, eyes, and a mouth,
is not meditation.
Worship does not mean offering flowers.
It means offering your heart to the vast mystery
of the universe. It means to let your heart pulse with the life
of the universe, without thought and without reservation.
It means being so in love that you are
willing to dissolve and be recreated in every moment.
Being transformed by even one of these practices,
fullness of experience develops day by day.
One day the desire of the self for the great Self
is consummated. Come ready for that day!
To dissolve in the fire of the great void,
senses dissolve, mind dissolves,
the objects of sense dissolve,
even the void is dissolved -
that is worship.
Sacrifice is to let your sins be destroyed
by the vast power of the universe;
It is to live in radiant bliss,
having sacrificed your shame before infinity.
The real purification with water
is to bathe in the essence of eternity.
Stunning autonomy, radiant bliss,
invisible consciousness permeating you
always and in every direction.
The flowers, the candles, the honey
that are offered in worship are
made out of the same divine stuff as you.
Who then is worshipped?
As the breath flows in, and as it flows out,
it travels always the curving path of the goddess.
Breath flows in and out spontaneously of its own will,
thus all breathing beings continually worship the goddess.
Be conscious of this unconscious prayer,
for she is the most holy place of pilgrimage.
The breath flows out with the sound sa,
The breath flows in with the sound ha.
Thus thousands of times a day,
Everyone who breathes is adoring the goddess.
Know this, and be in great joy.
Listen to the ongoing prayer that is breath.
Life shall dance in you
a dance of ever-renewing delight.
I am suffused with satisfaction.
My questions have led to fullness.
You have sung to me of the ways of union
of the god and the goddess,
space and time, personal and impersonal,
energy and form, infinite and finite.
You have sung the song of being at home in the universe.
Having said that, the goddess,
radiant with delight, embraced her lover.
According to the great Vedanta philosopher Śankara, vijñāna is a deep understanding or knowing that cannot come about merely through outer knowledge, that we receive through a teacher, or a spiritual textual tradition. Rather it is an inner clarity that is revealed through personal experience.