Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

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The Vigyan Bhairav Tantra (Sanskrit: विज्ञान भैरव तन्त्र, Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra) is a key text of the Trika school of Kashmir Shaivism. Cast as a discourse between the god Shiva and his consort Devi or Shakti, it briefly presents 112 meditation methods or centering techniques (dharanas).[1] These include several variants of breath awareness, concentration on various centers in the body, non-dual awareness, chanting, imagination and visualization and contemplation through each of the senses.[2] A prerequisite to success in any of the 112 practices is a clear understanding of which method is most suitable to the practitioner.[3]

The text[edit]

The text is a chapter from the Rudrayamala Tantra, a Bhairava Agama. Devi, the goddess, asks Siva to reveal the essence of the way to realization of the highest reality. In his answer Siva describes 112 ways to enter into the universal and transcendental state of consciousness. References to it appear throughout the literature of Kashmir Shaivism, indicating that it was considered to be an important text in the monistic school of Kashmir Shaiva philosophy.

The text appeared in 1918 in the Kashmir Series of Text and Studies (KSTS).[4] The Kashmir Series published two volumes, one with a commentary by Kshemaraja and Shivopadhyaya and the other with a commentary, called Kaumadi, by Ananda Bhatta.

It was introduced to the west by Swami Lakshman Joo, whose western associates included Miguel Serrano and Paul Reps. The latter brought the text to wider attention by including an English translation in his popular book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Reps' translation was the subject of a voluminous commentary by Osho. Several other translations and commentaries have since become available.

English translations and commentaries (alphabetically by title)[edit]

(all info verified on, or from the websites listed, 3 December 2013)

Nothing Exists That Is Not Siva: Commentaries of the Siva-sutra, Vijnanabhairava, Gurugita, and Other Sacred Texts, by Swami Muktananda, softcover, SYDA Foundation, New York, NY, 1997, ISBN 978-0911307566 , out of print

Sri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra: The Ascent, by Swami Saraswati Satyasangananda (Swami Satsangi), softcover, Yoga Publications Trust/Bihar School of Yoga, 2003, 499 pgs., includes for each verse: Devanagari script, English with Sanskrit pronunciation, word-by-word meaning, overall meaning, relevance of words used, and commentary; plus appendices, glossary, and index.

Tantra Yoga, le Vijñänabhaïrava Tantra, by Daniel Odier, translated from French into English by Jeanric Meller, not in print - available at

The Book of Secrets: The Science of Meditation, Volumes 1-5, by Osho (Rajneesh), softcover, St. Martin's Griffin, 2010, (1st edition 1972), ISBN 978-0-312-65060-5, 1328 pgs., a commentary based on Paul Reps' translation below

The Book of Secrets: 112 Meditations to Discover the Mystery Within, by Osho (Rajneesh), hardcover, St. Martin's Griffin, 1998, (1st edition 1972), ISBN 978-0-312-18058-4, a commentary based on Paul Reps' translation below

The Radiance Sutras: 112 Gateways to the Yoga of Wonder and Delight, by Lorin Roche, Ph.D., softcover, Sounds True, 2014 (1st edition 1994), ISBN 978-1-60407-659-2, 352 pgs., purposely personal, poetic, non-scholarly; admits that he omits or changes more 'difficult' verses.

Vigyan Bhairava Tantra - 112 Meditations for Self-Realization, by Ranjit Chaudhri, softcover, Prakash Books, New Delhi, India, 2008, ISBN 978-81-7234-292-0, republished as: 112 Meditations for Self-Realization, 2011, ISBN 978-81-7234-371-2

Vijnana Bhairava: The Manual for Self-Realization, by Swami Lakshmanjoo, edited by John Hughes, Swami Lakshmanjoo was a Kashmiri Shaivite Master, and teacher of Paul Reps, Jaideva Singh, and Lilian Silburn, hardcover + 7 CDs, 315 pgs., the book is a transcript of Swami Laksmanjoo's talks on the 7 CDs, A. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers in association with Ishwar Ashram Trust, 1st Indian edition (3rd revised edition), 2011, ISBN 978-81-215-1238-1, B. Universal Shaiva Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA, 2007, 4th edition (1st edition 2001), ISBN 978-0-9816228-0-4,

Vijnana Bhairava: The Practice of Centring Awareness, by Bettina Baumer & Sarla Kumar, commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, softcover, Indica Books, Veranasi, India, 2002 (republished 2007), ISBN 978-81-86569-35-1 or 9788186569359, highly edited version of Swami Lakshmanjoo's book with CDs above

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, by Mike Magee, 1995, not in print - available at, commentary on Jaideva Singh's translation above

Vijnana Bhairava Tantra (Chant Book), by Paramahamsa Nithyananda, softcover, 75 pgs., includes just the verses (for chanting) without commentary, (a) eNPublishers, Karnataka, India, 2009, ISBN 978-1-60607-063-5, (b) through Nithyananda Vedic Temple, Montclair, CA

Vijnanabhairava or Divine Consciousness: A Treasury of 112 Types of Yoga, by Jaideva Singh, student of Swami Lakshmanjoo, and a Kashmiri Shaivism scholar, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, India, 2002 (1st edition 1979), ISBN 978-81-208-0820-1, includes the Sanskrit, a transliteration, a translation, a commentary on the language of the verse, a commentary on the techniques, and a glossary, re-published as The Yoga of Delight, Wonder and Astonishment, by Jaideva Singh, softcover, State University of New York Press, Albany, NY, 1991, ISBN 978-0791410745 or 9780791410749

Vijnanabhairava or Techniques for Entering Liminal Consciousness, by Dmitri Semenov, softcover, Sattarka Publications, 2010, ISBN 978-0-578-06042-2, 198 pgs.

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings, by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki, Paul Reps was a student of Swami Lakshmanjoo, softcover, Tuttle Publisher, 1998, ISBN 978-0-8048-3186-4; Anchor Books, 1989, ISBN 978-0-385-08130-6; 1st edition 1957, ISBN 978-0-8048-0644-2. The Vigyan Bhairav Tantra is titled "Centering" in a section toward the back of the book


  1. ^ Paul Reps, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings (ISBN 0-8048-0644-6)
  2. ^ Osho, The Book of the Secrets, vols. 1-5, St. Martin's Griffin, 1998, ISBN 0-312-18058-6, ISBN 978-0-312-18058-4
  3. ^ Vijnana Bhairava – The Manual for Self Realization, ed. John Hughes. Contents pp. vii-xi.
  4. ^ "Mutktabodha Institute". Retrieved 2008-02-16. 

External links[edit]