Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (Verses 1 - 12)


Vigyan Bhairav Tantra is the classic text of Tantra which detailed 112 ways of meditation. It is a poetic conversation between Devi (Shakti) and Bhairava (Shiva), in which Devi asks and Shiva answers.

Devi is the Creative Energy permeating the universe. Her nature is power, strength, and might. Bhairava is the infinite consciousness that embraces her.

In the initial verses, Devi is speaking from within her awe at existence. She assumes the body of a seeker of truth and dares Bhairava to reveal to her the secrets of yoga. Rising to the occasion, Bhairava accepts her questions as beautiful and invites her to accompany him on the path of intimacy with all life. In verses 1-23, they converse back and forth in this way.


* Verses 1- 2

One day the Goddess sang to her lover, Bhairava:

Beloved and radiant lord of the space before birth,
Revealer of essence,
Slayer of the ignorance that binds us,

You who in play have created this universe
And permeated all forms in it
With never-ending truth,
I have been wondering …

I have been listening to the humps of creation,
Enchanted by the verses,
Yet still I am curious.

What is this delight-filled universe
Into which we find ourselves born?
What is this mysterious awareness
Shimmering everywhere within it?

*Verses 3-4*

I have been listening to the love songs of
Forming longing for formless.

What are these energies
Undulating through our bodies,
Pulsing us into action?

And this “matter” out of which our forms are made -
What are these dancing particles
Of condensed radiance?

*Verses 5- 6

What is the power we call Life,
Appearing as the play of flesh and breath?
How may I know this mystery and enter it more deeply?

My attention is enthralled by a myriad of forms,
Innumerable individual entitles everywhere,
Flashing into existence and fading away again.
Lead me into the wholeness beyond all these parts.

Do me a favour, my love.
Let me rest in your embrace.
Refresh me with the elixir of your wisdom.
Ravish me with your truth.

*Verses 7 - 9

Bhairava replies,

Beloved, your questions
Touch the heart of wonder,
The path of intimacy with all life -
Weaving together body and soul,
Sex and spirit, individuality and universality.

This is my Cave of Secrets.
Your inquiry has led you here.
I feel your fingers on my pulse.

Come with me.
Leave behind everything you know.
The teachings about me are
A light show put on by the celestial musicians,
As beautiful and insubstantial as clouds.

*Verses 10 - 12

Elaborate rituals and garnish images
May be useful in meditation when your
mind is swirling with thoughts

Of sex, money and power, wandering like
an elephant in heat.

Go ahead and use these tools, yet know,
Beating drums and blaring trumpets,
Cannot summon the One who is already

I am not a collection of incantations
Known only to experts.
I am not a ladder to be climbed,
A sequence for piercing energy centres in your body.
I am not to be found at the end of a long road.
I am right here.

~ Extract from the “The Radiance Sutra”, poetically translated by Lorin Roche