Dissolution of Mind: Vigyana Bhairava Tantra

Nov 13, 2019

What is Vigyana Bhairava Tantra?

Vigyana Bhairava Tantra is part of the ancient Hindu Agama literature, on meditation related practices for awakening deeper levels of consciousness and awareness. This is a conversation between the male and female half of the creative source, Shiva and Shakti, on how by using the mind body senses one can move to the energy beyond mind and body that integrates our male and female selves, into that Oneness Shiva and Shakti are.

The 112 practices outlined in this scripture are sense focused exercises called ‘dharana’ in Yoga, which can then evolve into thought based meditation ‘dhyana’, and then into the final Fourth State of Mindless witnessing awareness ‘samadhi’.

Coacharya finds these practices useful in creation of a disengaged, non judgmental, mindless mind state in a coach that is essential for mastery.  Written as blog posts many years ago, these are now formatted as coaching aids, in no particular order.

112th Dharana and 138th Verse

Shiva says, “Mind, awareness, energy, and Self,

When all merge and dissolve,

Shiva manifests.”

When we study about koshas or sheaths and sareeras or bodies in Hindu scriptural writings, some of the energy bodies associated with the mind-body stricture are: anna maya kosha or the gross physical body; prana maya kosha or the breath energy body; manonmaya kosha or emotional energy body; vigyana maya kosha or the super-intelligent energy body; and finally ananda maya kosha or the realized energy body. In some contexts, there are more such bodies and sheaths as well.

Body mind is the lowest level of awareness. Mind itself has multiple attributes of conditioned ego, memory, senses, and higher intelligence. At the higher intelligence of buddhi level, we can glimpse awareness of our true non-dual Self. Prana, breath energy, both in tantra and yoga is the vehicle that sustains this mind-body, and when managed appropriately leads us to the non-dual state of awareness.

When the multiple dualities of these attributes of mind and body merge and dissolve into atman, the infinite Self, we truly become aware. At each level of body, mind, prana energy, emotional energy, and thought energy we need to create the awareness that their functions are creations of the Self. While the Self itself is unchanging, the energy of maya causes changes in perception to allow us to cope with worldly realities. Maya has a genuine function. Without maya we cannot exist. However, we can become aware that we are affected by maya and keep checking with the awareness of how we interact with the world and disengage constantly.

The disengagement is needed because nothing in this world is permanent. We all perish. Every single thing around us changes and eventually perishes. So, why get engaged?

Ramana Maharishi’s Self Inquiry is the path to non-duality. Constantly keep inquiring as to where thought, emotions, and actions arise from. If it is the senses, what is behind the senses? If then the mind what then behind the mind? If energy behind the mind, what is that energy? What operates that energy? There is no answer to this from another person. Your answer needs to come from within you. Your answer will jot be the same even as that of your guru. Your atman is a holographic piece of the eternal Brahman, and yet different from all other creations of the same Brahman. This is the source of the duality and also its answer and solution.

The sources I refer to, from Osho to Joo and Satyasanagananda Saraswati, have been sources of great knowledge. Errors in transmission are mine alone. The purpose of this commentary is to demystify Shiva. The tools he offers in Vigyana Bhairava Tantra allow us to glimpse his wisdom. I bow down to his divine wisdom.

The graphic of Krishna with Shiva to close is deliberate. They are not different. They are the same consciousness. Shiva consciousness is Krishna consciousness. Those who treat them as separate entities fall into the intellectual trap of duality. They need to evolve into non-dual Advaithic awareness and consciousness.

Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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