Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

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Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Postby Nefastos » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:49 pm

There have been quite a lot of talk about Tantras already: how they are held in great esteem by many brothers of SOA, how they are often difficult to grasp, and whether or not their shadowy language should be taken as allegoric.

Let's take yet another approach, a practical stumbling upon the texts themselves. Here under this topic I will start to read the famous Vigyan Bhairav (Vijnana Bhairava) Tantra little by little. I shall make no true "commentary", just some stray thoughs as they come, and am of course happy if other people will join me in this reading & giving comments, questions, thoughts. No knowledge on the subject is needed altogether.

Part of this particular practice is to go on by whim, so I can't say how long this will take. The whole tantra is 112 stanzas long. You can find several different translations all over the web; the one I'll be using here is Paul Rep's.

And here we go.

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (Prologue) wrote:Devi Asks:

O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
What constitutes seed?
Who centers 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: (...)


Devi, the Supreme Goddess, the power & manifestation aspect of the universe is the one who asks; the one who asks is Shiva, the inner aspect of being - the Spirit, and by Spirit I think Meaning is always meant.

As brother Obnoxion just before said in his interview, science gives us good enough knowledge on how our world is outwardly built, but when we are in need of meanings inside, we must turn to spirituality.

Here the Goddess approaches the God, her husband, asking about HIS reality. It can be something other than hers, or can it? In Kashmir Shaivism these two aspects of divinity - Shiva and Shakti, or God & Goddess - are seen as equally important; as one, but not as identical.

All of us who have our eyes open, even a little bit, see universe as "wonder-filled". It is really something that strikes us with awe. Be it joyful or horrible, or both. The more we know, the more there is to know: universe is immense mystery. (Although we shouldn't say we can't ever understand it, or else even this book wouldn't have been written.)

"Seed" is where everything is as potentiality, and where everything will spring forth as manifestation.

The center of the wheel brings Laozi to mind. In Tao-Te-Ching he tells how Tao or the supreme secret of being & non-being is "the empty center of the wheel": its emptiness makes it useful. (This is what the yogis might call "laya" or the zero point of being. To us it is âtma.)

It comes as granted that there is life beyond forms, and our Great Mother wants to "enter it fully, above space & time".

If we would only be able to clear our thoughts, all would fit. The problem is in human thoughts, and that is why Patanjali gave his definition of yoga as the cessation of the modifications of the thought processes.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Postby Nefastos » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:00 pm

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (1) wrote: Radiant One, this experience may dawn between two breaths.
After breath comes in (down)
and just before turning up (out) - the beneficence.


"Radiant One" is how Shiva calls his wife. This brings to mind several things. For example, Shakti as aura shining from and around its source/complement. Also, the word for gods in Sanskrit is Deva, as Shiva's spouse is called Devi - the word means "shining". It is not enough to be: we must shine.

(As we know from Stephen King's novel, it also means magical ability. :))

However, the first methods Shiva gives for the attainment focus on breathing, as is usual custom in many meditation techniques. Controlling breath is very important in many yoga forms, and even in those which it is not sought to be controlled consciously, it is the one which infuses body with powers. Breathe is prâna, the life force that is the principle of unification in our (SOA's) symbolism. From Latin breath comes also the word Spirit, as we all know.

Here the magical, potentially most beneficent moment is the one when the focus is inside man's body: our "spirit" is focused inside of us, and for a moment, it rests there before going back to the world. In that moment we can reach the more spiritual meaning of "Spirit inside" too, tells Shiva.

I myself am terrible in breathing meditations, but pray tell if you are any luckier using this method. Otherwise, onwards we go...
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Postby obnoxion » Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:16 am

I am very grateful of this topic!
Nefastos wrote:"Radiant One" is how Shiva calls his wife.
"He whose face gives no light shall never never become a star", says William Blake, a true Seer of Tantric porportions, and, at least for me, a genuine biblical Prophet.

I think this shining means "enlightened energy", or the immense power of matter focused on Her Transcendental Self. This energy bent on enlightenment is one of the meanings of dancing Dakinis, as well as Dancing Shiva.
Nefastos wrote:I myself am terrible in breathing meditations, but pray tell if you are any luckier using this method. Otherwise, onwards we go...
For me, breathing meditations are very suitable. If my memory serves me right, Kularnava Tantra says that Hamsa, the sound of breathing itself, is the greatest of all mantras. Now that the birds are migrating back to North, it has been enchanting time for breathing mediation. The Hamsa, meaning "The Gander", is indeed like the migration of the birds, the in-breath being the flight to South, and the out-breath being the flight to the North. I think that in breathing meditations it is important to see world as a process of flowing Breath.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Postby Nefastos » Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:05 pm

obnoxion wrote:The Hamsa, meaning "The Gander", is indeed like the migration of the birds, the in-breath being the flight to South, and the out-breath being the flight to the North.


I have to remember that analogy the next time I'm doing work with bodily breathing. Birds are such a joy to me that to think with such associations could help a lot.

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (2) wrote: As breath turns from down to up,
and again as breath curves up to down -
through both these turns,
realize.


Not only when "Spirit" (breath, focus) is in its deepest point in solar plexus - or wherever - but at its opposite peak point in exhalation there is possibility for attainment. The word used here isn't "beneficence" (blessing, beatitude) but "realization" (enlightenment of sorts). So, we have two slightly different kinds of attainment, the ones I'd like to identify with buddhi and manas:

Breath-focus is in the deepest turning point within oneself: "spirit within" - buddhi.
Breath-focus is at its peak point in exhalation: "spirit without" - manas.

Or actually, the latter is not manas alone, but buddhi-manas: as Shiva says, the first method concentrates within, and the second methods concentrates both within and without.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Postby Nefastos » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:10 pm

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (3) wrote:Or, whenever in-breath and out-breath fuse,
at this instant touch the energy-less,
energy-filled center.


The third way corresponds to (jiv-)âtma, as the former ones to buddhi & manas.

It is "energy-less" and "energy-filled". It is the center. In the Prologue comments I already meantioned this ultimate point of being.

It is where the breaths fuse; it is where the paths meet. The Right Hand Path and the Left Hand Path become as one in that âtmic point of which Alice Bailey said that it corresponds to Shiva & Satan. Verily so.

Let us notice that the center must be "touched", not only imagined or remembered. Âtmic path is the one of direct contact; it is most fundamental experience. But this touch is spiritual one, it can't truly be simulated with any physical replica.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Postby Nefastos » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:05 pm

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (4) wrote:Or, when breath is all out (up) and stopped of itself,
or all in (down) and stopped -
in such universal pause, one's small self vanishes.
This is difficult only for the impure.


This is a modification of the reflection of the former method. Not where the paths meet, but where one path has ended (for a moment), there is a possibility. When the subjective spirit (a breath) has ended, so may end "one's small self". It is as with death, at what point yogi (occultist) can acchieve liberation, as teaches the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

The last point was about jivâtma, or the "spiritual breath", and this point is about "bodily breath" or prâna (& apâna). These two are the two principal poles of the cycles of samsara, and although it may sound a bit weird, we can name these jivâtma & prâna Satan (see above) and Death.

When studying the arcana of Devil (number 15), Golden Dawn relates it to Death (number 13):

"This card should be studied in conjunction with No. 13. They are the two great controlling forces of the Universe, the centrifugal and the centripetal, destructive and reproductive, dynamic and static. The lower nature of man fears and hates the transmuting process; hence the chains binding the lesser figures and the bestial forms of their lower limbs. Yet this very fear of change and disintegration is necessary to stabilize the life-force and preserve continuity." (Book T: The Tarot Trumps)

It is not that I have herein chosen terrible names for these fundamental energies because we as Satanists consider them most holy, but it is the other way around: terrible names have been given to these energies affecting man's life just because they are so fundamental that they are almost impossible for humankind to grasp. They are "mysterium tremendum": forces so deep aspire terror when confronted straight, because we are not yet sufficiently developed to understand them in a right way. And that is the reason why Satan is also "the last veil before God", and the highest of God's angels.

"This is difficult only for the impure." Compare to: "The lower nature of man fears and hates the transmuting process."

As of purity, I already stated elsewhere that "purity" is the state of "Suchness", known & emphasised both in Hindu esotericism, Taoism, Zen & Vajrayana buddhism. People who have lost their "virginity" - that is, the pristine understanding of the world that is - have great difficulty in these practices of Death. That is also why Jesus taught his disciples to become as children; that is, capable for wondering & seeing world without presumes.

But is this "breathing" symbolic or physical? It is both. These meditations given by Shiva can be seen either as (fully) mental or (partly) bodily. The stage for bodily yoga - meditation practices requiring physical discipline - is important indeed, for it is physical prâna, carried by regulated breath, that awakens the siddhis in body. But physical siddhis, the miracle-making powers like kriyashakti, are a catastrophical hindrance for one who is not ethically, intellectually, bodily and wholly ready for them. The mental meditation is much more important, and in it we need no other asanas (postures) but those of a psychological kind.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Postby Nefastos » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:36 am

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (5) wrote: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.


Between the eyebrows is ajna chakra, at the top of the head, sahasrâra chakra. These energy portals correspond to the following human principles:

Sahasrâra: [linga]-ÂTMA-buddhi
Ajna: âtma-BUDDHI-manas

For every such portal is not only linked to certain type of energy, but the one above and below it. Beyond sahasrâra/âtma there is no principle, no other human chakra, but there is "cosmic" mûladhara/linga, because all emanation & life works in spiral cycles.

The unifying buddhic principle that we have chosen to name as love is more neutral in vedânta: it means the abstract roots of thought. There's no contradiction here, just different kind of emphasis.

In this fifth stanza, we are taught to have "mind before thought". This is about buddhi-manas, the true abstract thinking. The mind itself is pure, white void. At every moment, it is there; all formal thoughts are like words on this blank paper. And under the ink, it remains blank all the time.

Breath-essence is mentioned. All prâna, the vital breath, is always magnetized by the machinery through which it goes. Here, mind tries to magnetize prâna with the said pure buddhic aspect, bringing it in contact with âtma. This is the fundamental union, the very first Sun or Shiva-Shakti intercourse: âtma as center, buddhi as circumference. Pranic substance is mentally taken to form this two-way bridge between these two: first reach the sahasrâra, then rain back down. Also notice that this bridge is done by the manasic line of Fohat - as jiva - between the center and circumference: Finnish readers can check my article Fohat (not to be confused with brother Nox's text with the same name). So in the process, the âtma-buddhi becomes âtma-buddhi-manas by the very fact that the one who guides the thought is man himself. And at the same time, it even becomes "Tetragrammaton", for as mentioned, the power of this mental cohesion is Fohat or the "magical bride" of that thought, which completes the first elemental quaternary.

It should be done "as light": for when we start to focus on any chakric point (or any point whatsoever) we put a pressure there, if our will is strong. If this thought starts to coagulate, it will do great harm instead of good, and that's why I have many times said that usually we should rather not meditate upon chakras. If we fail to bring the contact "as light" and let it form more substantial magnetism, there will be blockings & problems. In regard to these head centers, insanity (as problems with ajna) and materialistic tendencies (as problems with sahasrâra) will arise.

Although these tantric texts are nowadays so readily available & seem to give so easy instructions, it doesn't mean they are easily harnessed into fruitful action. Especially nowadays, when there usually is no true guru to guide a pupil personally, one must be extremely ready to notice any discomfort in one's studies & refrain from any physical methods that start to bring even slight problems. Unheeded, those problems escalate quickly to unilateral development, sickness to both soul & body. We can be much more strict with ourselves when it comes to purely mental training without concentration on parts of etheric body.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Postby Nefastos » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:35 pm

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (6) wrote:When in worldly activities,
keep attention between two breaths,
and so practicing,
in a few days be born anew.


See the first stanza. But here it's specified that the practice is done while "in worldly activities". To a certain mindset, this is easier way; to another, it's harder.

It should be borne in mind that the tantric way (~the Left Hand Path) is open to all castes, different genders, & all people with different personalities & preferences. That is why there are so many different practice methods given, too.

This does not mean, however, that the practice can be done without great spiritual ability & real effort. The thing is, different neophytes do have very different sets of developed abilities, and tantric practice seeks to a) apply the stronger points and with them overcome the weaknesses, and b) to root out unilateral development, not seeking to destroy difficult aspects in one's personality but to use them as tools for well-rounded spiritual attainment.

One other thing. For the attainment reached here, it is said to be "new birth". It's like shedding one's skin, and such a process is done in pranic cycles. Usually it's subconscious & slow, but here adding the concentration of cognition to the process makes it extremely rapid. But it is not said that the new personality will be the final one: with this practice, trainee can take a step onwards and be "born anew". Such a thing holds very positive connotation, but it is not necessarily enlightenment per se. Revigoration & mind's renovation it will most certainly be.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Postby Nefastos » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:31 pm

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (7) wrote:With intangible breath in center of forehead,
as this reaches the heart at the moment of sleep,
have direction over dreams and over death itself.


"Intangible breath" = Prâna, automatically magnetized by concentration, i.e. focusing thought to this place. This kind of feeling on forehead feels like ants are crawling on skin, but it is not discomfortable in the least, being stimulating instead. (As said above, if the feeling changes to tension, the focusing must be stopped & concentration led elsewhere.)

This energy from ajna portal, being of mentally charged kind (with cognition-applying faculties), will then be brought in contact with anâhata or heart portal. When this is done when "falling asleep" - let's consider for a moment what exactly is "sleep"! - there is a grasping moment. Mind infuses subconscious, the side of seeming otherness, and direction can be given.

As said here, sleep & death are in perfect correspondence. They are basically the same. Tibetan Book of the Dead stresses so much the bardo moment(s) of death just because of this same teaching: when we can control the liminal state of our mind & in that bardo moment bring our mind energy to the Heart where "the triangles meet", we can acchieve liberation. Dream-yoga is an application or training method for this kind of grasping of new, formerly subconscious reality. (Problem with dream yogas is, that often we are led astray by our new astral experiences, and rather than putting end to our wanderings, we put even more energy into them.)

What is important here is the word "direction". It is not said that this bridge between ajnic energy & anâhata will bring liberation or even empowerment automatically: it just gives us the possibility to direct our newly-forged mind to the direction of liberation.

Let us remember that already mentioned Sanskrit & Hindu term "jiva" actually means geometrical chord. In a symbol of Sun where Shiva is the middle point and Shakti the circumference, jiva unites two points of the Shaktic field's periphery: that, exactly, is our soul, polarized by two-fold expression of Maya. Now this concentration method gives us the possibility to re-direct energy of this chord of mind in a way it passes through the middle point, or Shiva. Only that way will we reach the Attainment.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Postby Nefastos » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:01 pm

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (8) wrote:With utmost devotion,
center on the two junctions of breath
and know the knower.


Much the same as the ones before, but herein the dominant feature of the mind is "devotion". It brings along a little modified result.

Devotion is a form of concentration, a form that centers on the heart. This heart-focus grasps intuitively the very foundation of buddhi-manas or the abstract, unifying intelligence. That pure intelligence beyond all rationality is "the knower" told apart from the known.

So, another way of talking about these same applications & results would be to say: "Put your effort in buddhic development, and (by the application of this practice) you will also reach the very center of manas." Or even, "When you reach the essential point of the Right Hand Path (of devotion), (by the practice) you have already stepped on the Left Hand Path (of the abstract individual knowledge)".

The thing we are trying to do here, "to know the knower", is the reaching out for Ego, in order to understand it, & hence get free from its dominance. The Voice of Silence speaks of same, but uses more violent, traditional language:

Voice of Silence wrote:Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil must seek out the rajah of the senses, the Thought-Producer, he who awakes illusion.

The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real.

Let the Disciple slay the Slayer.


(About the principles of buddhi, manas, &c. see Appendix I of Fosforos. As said elsewhere, we use these terms slightly differently from theosophists or Vedântists.)

Next time, something quite different...
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"

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