Shiva’s 112 Ways to Attain Enlightenment

Shiva Shakti - Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra (sometimes spelt Vigyan Bhairav Tantra) is a 5000 year old Sanskrit text of the Shaivism. The text is a chapter from the Rudrayamala Tantra, a Bhairava Agama.

Cast as a discourse between the god Shiva and his consort Devi or Shakti. Devi, asks Shiva to reveal the essence of the way to realisation of the highest reality. In his answer Shiva describes 112 ways to enter into the universal and transcendental state of consciousness.

These include several variants of breath awareness, concentration on various centres in the body, non-dual awareness, chanting, imagination and visualisation and contemplation through each of the senses.

Devi (Ma Parvati, Lord Shiva’s consort) asks:

O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is the wonder-filled universe?
What constitutes seed?

Who centres the universal wheel?
What is the life beyond form pervading forms?
How may we enter it fully, above space and time, names and descriptions?
Let my doubts be cleared!

And Lord Shiva replies by way of 112 sutras, each one describing a particular meditation techniques to find the ultimate reality.

There are nine ways concerning breath:

“1. Lo, Radiant one, this experience may dawn between two breaths, After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out) the beneficence.”

“2. As a breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down through both these turns, realise.”

“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 (up) and stopped in such universal pause, ones small self vanishes. This is difficult only for the impure.”

“8. 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.”

“27. When in worldly activity, keep attentive between the two breaths, and so practising, in a few days be born anew.”

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

“39. With utmost devotion, centre on the two junctions of breath and know the knower.”

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

There are eleven ways concerning syllables and their sound:

“7. Devi, imagine the Sanskrit letters in these honey filled foci of awareness, first as letters, then subtly as sounds, then as most subtle feeling. Then, leaving them aside, be free.”

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

“15. Intone a sound, as A-U-M, slowly. As the sound enters soundfulness, so do you.”

“16. In the beginning and gradual refinement of the sound of any letter, awake.”

“17. While listening to stringed instruments, hear their composite central sound; thus omnipresence.”

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

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

“65. Centre on the sound A-U-M without any A or M.”

“66. Silently intone a word ending in AH. Then in the HH effortlessly, the spontaneity.”

“89. Stopping ears by pressing and rectum by contracting, enter the sound.”

“105. Enter the sound of your name and, through this sound, all sounds.”

There are twelve ways concerning a point or centre for meditation:

“9. 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, at any point in space or on a wall until the point dissolves. Then your wish for another comes true.”

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

“12. Closing the seven openings of the head with your hands, a space between your eyes becomes all-inclusive.”

“25. Blessed one, as senses are absorbed in heart, reach the centre of the lotus.”

“26. Unminding mind, keep in the middle until.”

“37. Look lovingly on some object. Do not go on to another object. Here, in this middle object the blessing.”

“53. Without support for feet or hands, sit only on buttocks. Suddenly, the centring.”

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

“68. Pierce some part of your nectar-filled form with a pin, and gently centre the piercing.”

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

“97. Feel an object before you. Feel the absence of all other objects but this one. Then, leaving aside the object-feeling and absence-feeling, realise.”

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

The are seven ways taught concerning the practice of looking:

“10. Eyes closed, see your inner being in detail. Thus see your true nature.”

“34. Look upon a bowl without seeing the sides or the material. In a few moment become aware.”

“55. See, as if for the first time, a beauteous person or an ordinary object.”

“59. Simply by looking into the blue sky beyond clouds, the serenity.”

“88. Listen while the ultimate mystical teaching is imparted. Eyes still, without winking, at once become absolutely free.”

“90. At the edge of a deep well look steadily into its depths until the wondrousness.”

“95. Look upon some object, then slowly withdraw your sight from it, then slowly withdraw your thought from it, then.”

Concerning the feeling of ease, there are three ways taught by Shiva:

“41. While being caressed, sweet princess, enter the caressing as everlasting life.”

“42. Stop the doors of senses when feeling the creeping of an ant. Then.”

“57. When on a bed or a seat, let yourself become weightless, beyond mind.”

There are nine ways that deal with light:

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

“6. Or in the spaces between, feel this as lightning.”

“38. Feel cosmos as translucent everliving presence.”

“51. In summer when you see the entire sky endlessly clear, enter such clarity.”

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

“61. Waking, sleeping, dreaming, know you as light.”

“62. In rain during a black night, enter that blackness as the form of forms.”

“63. When a moonless raining night is now present close eyes and find blackness before you. Opening eyes and find blackness. So faults disappear forever.”

“104. Wherever your attention alights, at this very point, experience.”

There are four ways to enter into realisation by stopping in the middle of activity.

“64. Just as you have the impulse to do something, stop.”

“71. When some desire comes, consider it. Then suddenly, quit it.” “86. Roam about until exhausted and then, dropping to the ground, in this dropping be whole.”

“87. Suppose you are gradually being deprived of strength or of knowledge. At the instant of deprivation, transcend.”

Practice in regard to the relationship with several objects, desires or moods is covered in twenty three ways:

“43. At the start of sexual union, keep attentive on the fire in the beginning, and, so continuing, avoid the embers in the end.” “44. When in such embrace your senses are shaken as leaves, enter this shaking.”

“45. Even remembering union, with the embrace, the transformation.”

“46. On joyously seeing a long absent friend, permeate this joy.” “47. When eating or drinking, become the taste of the food or drink and be filled.”

“48. O ! lotus-eyed one, sweet of touch, when singing, seeing, tasting, be aware who you are and discover the ever-living.”

“49. Wherever satisfaction is found, in whatever act.”

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

“70. Illusions deceive. Colours circumscribe. Even divisibles are indivisible.”

“76. In moods of extreme desire, be undisturbed.”

“77. This so-called universe appears as a juggling, a picture show. To be happy, look upon it so.”

“78. 0 Beloved, put attention on neither pleasure nor pain but between these.”

“80. Objects and desires exist in me as in others. So accepting, let them be translated.”

“85. As waves come with water and flames with fire, so the universal waves with us.”

“91. Wherever your mind is wandering, internally or externally, at this very place, this.”

“92. When vividly aware through some particular sense, keep in the awareness flying in battle, in extreme curiosity, at the beginning of hunger, at the end of hunger, be uninterruptedly aware.”

“96. Devotion frees.”

“98. The purity of other teachings is an impurity to us. In reality know nothing as pure or impure.”

“100. Be the unsame same to friend as to stranger, in honour and dishonour.”

“108. Here is sphere of change, change, change. Through change consume change.”

“109. As a hen mother her chicks, mother particular knowings, particular doings, in reality.”

“110. 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.”

There are eleven ways that we find proof of the fact:

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

“29. Meditate on the make-believe world as burning to ashes, and become being above human.”

“32. As subjectively, letters flow into words and words into sentences, and as objectively, circles flow into worlds, then into principles, find, at last, these converging in our being.”

“36. Sweet-hearted one, meditated on knowing and not knowing, existing. Then leave both aside that you may be.”

“69. Feel: my thought, I-ness, internal organs, me.”

“72. Before desire and before knowing, how can I say I am? Consider, dissolve in the beauty.”

“79. Toss attachment for body aside, realising I am everywhere. One who is everywhere, is joyous.”

“83. Thinking nothing, will limited-self unlimit.”

“102. Suppose you contemplate something beyond perception, beyond grasping, beyond not being, you.”

“106. I am existing. This is mine. This is this. O Beloved, even in such know illimitably.”

“112. Beloved, at this moment let mind, knowing, breath and form be included.”

There are seven ways in which it is confessed that they see consciousness as the ultimate reality:

“19. Imagine spirit simultaneously within and around you until the entire universe spiritualises.”

“73. With your entire consciousness in the very start of desire of knowing, know.”

“74. O Shakti, each particular perception is limited disappearing in omnipotence.”

“75. In truth, forms are inseparate. Inseparate are omnipresent being and your own form. Realise each as made of this consciousness.”

“82. Feel the consciousness of each person as your own consciousness.”

“99. This consciousness exists as each being and nothing else exists.”

“107. This consciousness is the spirit of guidance of each one. Be this one.”

The next and final three ways deal with emptiness which might be considered the void in the tantras:

“103. Enter space, supportless, eternal, still.”

“24. Suppose your passive form to be an empty room with walls of skinemptys.”

“33. Gracious one, play, the universe is an empty shell wherein your mind frolics infinitely.”

Further reading:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vij%C3%B1%C4%81na_Bhairava_Tantra
  2. http://www.oshomeditations.com/112-techniques-shiva/
  3. http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/yoga-meditation/demystifying-yoga/significance-of-shiva/
  4. http://www.yogichen.org/cw/cw33/bk088.html
  5. http://www.sutrajournal.com/the-love-song-of-devi-and-bhairava-by-lorin-roche

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