The tantra is for all
men, of whatver caste, and for all women - Gautamiyatantra, quoted by
This very brief tantra, ascribed
like many another to the Rudrayamala,
is a practical work of yoga full of different methods of realising
oneness with Shiva/Shakti. It exists, with Sanskrit text and an English
translation, by Jaideva Singh, and is published by Motilal Banarsidas.
It prescribes over 100 dharanas, or things to meditate on, which can
bring a person to realise that she or he is one with Shiva and Shakti.
Referring to the Shiva
Sutras, on this site, will help in an understanding of this
Some years ago I wrote this summary of
Vijnanabhairava which may be of some interest to people. It looks at
the different verses of the tantra and outlines the yoga techniques
1. Fix the mind at the centre of the body (prana) and
at the dvadashanta (apana = about nine inches outside the body)
The human body breathes 21,600 times during 24 hours,
according to the tantras. The outward breath extends to around nine
inches outside the body. This is a meditation on the cycle of this
breath. Breath is one with time and therefore the Kalachakra or wheel of
time. This is expanded in the Tantrarajatantra, which shows the
essential unity of breath, time, the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet
and the planets.
2. Fix the mind at the moment of pause at the heart
and at the dvadashanta.
3. Prana and Apana enter the Sushumna or central
The in-breath and the out-breath both have their seat
in the Sushumna, which is the central axis of the human body, according
to the tantriks.
4. Retention of Prana Shakti at the heart and at the
The breath, as Shakti, is one with the supreme
Shakti. It moves throughout the body through the different nadis or
conduits of bioenergy but can be concentrated at different points by
5. Meditate on Shakti rising from Muladhara and
getting subtler and subtler up to Brahmarandhra.
This and the next few verses relate to the so-called
Kundalini experience. In the Shri Vidya tradition,
you can meditate upon the different mandalas of the Shri Yantra
relating to these centres and being identical with the 15-lettered
mantra, piercing through the three knots (granthis) and becoming more
and more void. See Varivararahasya.
6. Successive Kundalini rising through the Shaktis.
7. Meditation of the 12 stages - Janmagra, Mula,
Kanda, navel, heart, throat, root of palate, centre of eye brows,
forehead, Brahmarandhra, Shakti, Vyapini: these are the first 12 vowels
in the Sanskrit alphabet.
8. After filling the Brahmarandhra with Prana, free
the mind of all thought constructs.
9. Meditate in the heart on the five voids of the
10. Meditate successively on things outside the body.
11. Fix attention on the inside of the skull. Close
12. Meditate on the inner emptiness of central nadi.
13. Block the openings of the senses.
14. Meditate either in the heart or in the
Brahmarandhra on the bindu.
15. Listen to the Anahata sound.
The essential pulse or vibration exists as sound in
the heart centre. By listening, one can achieve high states of
consciousness. These sounds may start as bells or like other different
sounds produced by musical instruments. See Kaulajnananirnaya.
16. Meditate on Om and the void at the end of it.
Each of the bija or root mantras, of which Om is the
most famous, do not end but gradually fade away into a void.
17. Contemplate on the state of a letter before and
after its utterance.
18. Listen to the sound of a musical instrument as it
19. Meditate on bija mantras up to their subtle
20. Meditate on the void in one’s body extending in
all directions simultaneously.
21. Concentrate on the void above and the void below.
22. Meditate on the three voids: below, in the heart,
23. Contemplate on the body which as the limited
subject is void.
24. Contemplate on the dhatus or bodily elements as
pervaded with voidness.
25. Meditate on the skin as being like an outer wall
with nothing within it.
26. Merge the mind and the senses in the interior
space in the heart.
27. Dissolve mind in the Brahmarandhra.
This is the so-called 1,000 petalled lotus.
28. Fix mind repeatedly at the Dvadashanta.
29. Burn body by fire of Kalagni Rudra issuing from
the big toe of the right foot using the mantra Om raksharayum tanum
This technique is also described in
Kaulajnananirnaya, ascribed to Matsyendranath.
30. Imagine the entire world as being burnt by
31. Meditate that the subtle constituents of the body
or the world are being absorbed in their own respective causes.
32. Make Pranashakti subtle and meditate on it in the
Brahmarandhra or in the heart.
33. Meditate on the whole cosmos dissolving from
gross into subtle into supreme until the mind dissolves in
34. Meditate on the Shaiva Tattva as pervading the
35. Concentrate intensely on the idea that the
universe is completely void.
36. Meditate on the empty space within a jar.
37. Concentrate on a deserted space.
38. Concentrate on the space which occurs between two
39. Contemplate on the gap between one thought while
suppressing another thought.
40. Contemplate on one’s own body as the universe and
as of the nature of consciousness.
41. Fusion of Prana and Apana gives rise to a void.
42. Contemplate on the universe or one’s own body as
being filled with bliss.
43. Contemplate in the delight which arises from a
44. Contemplate on the tingling sensation caused by
Prana Shakti moving upwards.
45. Concentrate on the consciousness between upper
and lower Kundalini. This is like internal sexual union.
46. The delight of orgasm is the delight of Brahman.
47. Meditate on the delight of sexual union.
48. Meditate on the occasion of any great delight.
49. The delight of taste.
50. The delight of song.
51. Concentrate on the feeling of satisfaction.
52. Concentrate on the hypnagogic state.
That is the space between waking and sleeping.
According to the tantriks, consciousness exists in the waking, dreaming,
deep sleep states. There is a Fourth state (Turiya) which pervades all
these and the Turiyatita (beyond the fourth) which is the basis of all.
53. Concentrate on space variegated with the rays of
the Sun and the Moon.
54. Concentrate on the following mudras. a) The world
viewed as a skeleton b) Gathering all 24 tattvas into the body of
mantra. c) Keep eyes fixed externally while turning inwards. d) Tasting
of whole cosmos in the nature of I-consciousness. e) Remaining in Shiva
55. Six relaxed.
56. Sit relaxed, place arms in form of arch overhead.
57. Fix gaze on object whilst directing attention
58. Keep mouth open, invert tongue to touch palate.
Fix mind in the centre of your open mouth and voice a vowel-less H
59. Sit on soft seat and meditate body sits without
support of the seat.
61. Contemplate cloudless sky.
62. Contemplate entire sky as being in Bhairava and
dissolved in the head.
63. Concentrate on wake, dream, deep sleep as being
the Bhairava continuum.
64. Concentrate on external darkness of a dark night
in the dark fortnight of the Moon.
65. Contemplate on terrible darkness first and then
the terrible form of Bhairava.
66. Obstruction of an organ of sense causes spiritual
67. Recite the letter A without bindu or visarga.
That is, the first vowel without a sound.
68. Concentrate on the end of visarga in a letter.
69. Concentrate on one’s own self as a vast unlimited
70. Concentrate on pain.
71. Concentrate that within yourself the inner
psychic complex does not exist.
72. Concentrate on Maya and her Shaktis as limiting
73. Cut a desire as soon as it has arisen.
74. Iccha, Jnana and Kriya of the limited individual
are not the same as the essential self.
75. When a desire, knowledge or activity arises,
concentrate on it.
That is, Iccha, Jnana and Kriya shaktis.
76. Concentrate that all knowledge is without cause,
is base and deceives, it does not belong to any one person.
77. The same self is in every body.
78. Make mind one pointed when under the dominion of
desire, anger, greed, infatuation, arrogance or envy.
79. Conceive the cosmos as a juggler’s act.
80. Dwell on the reality which exists between pain
81. Think: "I am not my own body. I exist
82. Knowledge, desire and activity appear in all
83. Contemplate that the same consciousness exists in
84. Free the mind from supports and refrain from all
thoughts and their associations.
85. Think: "I am Shiva".
86. As waves come from water, flames from fire, rays
from the Sun, so the waves of the cosmos come from Bhairava.
88. Mental dizziness.
89. Concentrate on the reality within while looking
outside, so merging the Absolute as Sound (the Shabda Brahman).
90. Concentrate on a bottomless well or as standing
in a very high place.
91. Whether outside or inside, Shiva is omnipresent.
92. Every sensation is an expression of pure
93. Ordinary consciousness shocked in sneezing,
terror, sorrow, deep sighs, flying from battles, at the beginning or the
end of anger, can reveal the Shiva state.
94. Ignore the memory of an object and fix attention
on the original experience which was the basis of the memory.
95. Look at an object, withdraw it, slowly eliminate
the knowledge of the object together with the thought and impressions.
96. Intuition emerging from intensity of devotion.
97. When one object is perceived, all other objects
become empty. Concentrate on that emptiness.
98. Mental purity arises above variations in
association of thought.
99. Bhairava appears in the I-consciousness.
100. Develop Sama towards all.
Sama means equipoise. See Ecstasy on this site.
101. Reject both repulsion and attachment, cleave to
102. Bhairava is that which is not an object, cannot
be grasped, is void, even in non-existence.
103. Concentrate on space as omnipresent free of all
104. Withdraw attention from distracting object and
concentrate on the object of meditation.
105. Recite the name Bhairava incessantly.
106. Look for the I which exists in all limited "I’s"
107. Think of the sense of words which are eternal,
omnipresent, have no support, pervade and is the Lord of all that is.
108. The whole universe has the reality of a magic
109. How can Knowledge (Jnana) or Action (Kriya)
exist in the eternal? All external objects are based on knowledge,
therefore the world is void.
110. There is no bondage or liberation, the universe
is a reflection like the Sun in water.
111. All contact with pleasure and pain is through
the senses. If you detach the senses from oneself, you can withdraw.
112. Concentrate on the Knower and the Known as one
and the same.