Vijnana Bhairava Tantra – The Questions

The Vijnana Bhairava is a conversation between Bhairava and Bhairavi. Bhairava and Bhairavi is translated as Shiva and Parvati traditionally. But, as I have said in the Introduction, we need to question what is Bhairava and Bhairavi? If we attribute external human forms to Bhairava and Bhairavi and interpret this as a conversation between them, then the context set for reading the text automatically becomes that of a one person answering the questions of the first person. But, if we start looking at them as concepts, (the concepts being the Bhairava as the unmanifest and Bhairavi as manifest), then it becomes that the “manifest” is questioning within itself and finding answers about the “unmanifest”.

If we translate “Vijnana” as coherence, as we saw in Chandogya Upanishad, the title directly translates to “Coherent Unmanifest”. If we had a “coherent unmanifested” that can answer, what would we as the “manifest” ask to understand the truth? The questions posed then become as important as the answers, because that shows us how we can start to find the truth.

While all upanishads mostly have stayed in the realm of describing the concepts related to the truth, the Vijnana Bhairava talks about various paths to reaching the truth. Though what is described is just a summary of how it can be done, as opposed to a in-depth description. If, what is indicated in the Japji Sahib Paudi 24 and various other upanishads is true, “It has to be known inherently”, there is no other way to it. No amount of explanation is going to help I would assume, all that is required is a single word or a sentence to start off the process.

But, I will devote this blog to the questions, because I believe the questions asked in the Vijnana Bhairava is pretty illuminating and needs to be understood thoroughly to understand the answers. Without this, the answers seem like every other blabber, “open cakras”, “apana”, “breathing techniques” etc etc.

The following is what is asked by Bhairavi or the “manifested”:

Srutam devamaya sarvam rudrayamalasambhavam 
Trikabhedam seshena sarasaravibhagasah |1|
Adyapi na nivrtto me samsayah paramesvara
Kim rupah tattvato deva sabdarasikalamayam |2|
Kim va navatmabhedena bhairave bhairavakrtau 
Trisirobhedabhinnam va kim va saktitrayatmakam |3|
Nadabindumayam vapi kim candrardhanirodhikah 
CakrarUdamanackam va kim va saktisvarUpakam |4|
Paraparayah sakalam aparayasva va punah
Paraya yadi tadvat syat paratvam tad virudhyate |5|
Nahi varnavibhedena dehabhedena va bhavet
Paratvam, nishkalatvena, sakalatve na tad bhavet |6|
Prasadam kuru me natha nihasesam chindhi samsayam

Taking a few verses at a time:

Srutam = listen deva = energy maya = made/consisting of 
sarvam = entirely rudra + yamala + sambhavam = noise + coupled + existing
trika+bhedam = three-variations seshena = remaining
sarasara + vibhagasah = moving + proportionately
adyApi = still/even now na = not 
nivrtto = retreated me = to return 
saMshaya = refuge/shelter 
param + ishvara = completely + potential

Putting it together, the question seems to come out to:

Energy is made entirely of coupled noise existing in three variations, the remaining distributed appropriately, still not retreating back to the potential completely.

What is “coupled noise”? I wonder!! If you look at coupled noise in electromagnetism, this is actually two noise of different frequencies inter-modulate.

I wonder what the three main variations are! Maybe it is heat, light and sound. Maybe because most upanishads and ancient texts seem to reference to them. I am not even sure why these are the three primary forms of energy? Yet, the other thing to consider is from “OM”. While it possibly could be a single vibration of frequency of 7.3Hz as is told, we need to consider the fact that it is composed of “AA” + “UU” + “MM” which actually forms three frequencies. So, can it be possible that this is actually the three frequencies that is referred to here? I wonder!! Is it possible that all around us is a variation in some form of these three frequencies coupling with each other?

Yet, the question is a very valid one. How is it that these frequencies have not retreated back to the original potential form (or Isha) completely and there is still this residual that is remaining in these three forms of variations?

Moving on:

kim = what rupa = form tattvato = elementarty property deva = energy 
sabda + rashi + kalA + mayam = noise collection part become

Translated to:

What elementary property forms of energy is this coupled noise made of?

It should be noted here, while we say in electromagnetism that coupled noise is inter-coupling of two frequencies, here even that assumption is not made. It says what properties of energy is varying to form the coupled noise?

kim = how va = also nava+atma+bhedena = new + self + variation 
bhairave = from unmanifested bhairav+krtau = manifested + become

Translated to:

How does a new self variation of the unmanifested become manifested?

Isn’t this a very good question? Obviously, if we have a number of births and deaths, then new manifestations are occurring around us and we do not even realize how this happens? How does a variation in the unmanifested become the manifested? The next question is even more intriguing.

trishira+bhedha+bhinnam = three-pointed + variation + split 
va = also kim = how 
sakti + traya + atmakam = ability + consisting of three + self become

Translated to:

How does this three point variation split become a self consisting of three characteristics?

Exactly!! How can a variation in energies form a sentient being? How does it translate into characteristics of a self?

nada+bindu+ mayam = noise + drop + made of vApi = collection 
kim = how candrardha + nirodhikah = crescent + obstructing

Translated to:

How is the drop of noise obstructed from the whole noise collection?

Another, very apt question. If we said, it is just coupled noise that is becoming manifest, how then is this part of the noise protected from the whole set of noise that is present?

Cakra + rUda+manackam = circle + risen + thought + ask 
va = also kim = how sakti+sva+rUpakam = energy + self+form
parapara+yah = cause and effect + this sakalam = entire
apara+aya+Shrva = having no beyond + going + noise 
va= also punah = again
paraya = to go away yadi = if tadvat = thus syat = perhaps 
paratvam = distance/remoteness/superiority/consequence 
tad = then virudh + yate = obstruct/hinder + held in / kept down
Nahi = not also varna+vibhedan = appearance + variety 
deha+bhedana = body + distinction 
va = also bhavet = present
paratvam = difference/distinction, nishkalatva = indivisibility 
sakalatve = entirety na = not tad = that bhavet = present
Prasadam = clearness 
kuru me nAtha 
nihasesam = finished / passed away / without reminder 
chindhi = appear/seem saMshaya = entirely

Translated to:

How has this entire circle of thought arisen with just self-formed energy with cause and effect, having nothing beyond just noise going again and again. Perhaps all this will go away if the obstruction is reduced.

Without variety present in appearance or body, if indivisibility is present in entirety, then should this not appear entirely without a reminder?

This is also a true question. How can a just a thought go round and round in circles and produce a cause and effect to keep the cycle of life going? The Japji Sahib brings this out very nicely in this:

iknaa hukmee bakhsees ik hukmee sadaa bhavaa-ee-ah.

translates to “By sacrificing one impulse always another impulse is formed”. The Isha Upanishad also says this:

om kratu smara krtam smara kratu smara krtam smara sada tadbhavabhavitah

translates to: persistence of intention and action being the cause of persistence of intention and action. This being the cause of become and becoming.

Yes, the questions asked here are pretty illuminating.

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