Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra

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The Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra (sometimes spelled in a Hindicised way as Vigyan Bhairav Tantra) is a key Tantra text of the Trika school of Pratyabhijna/Kashmir Shaivism in Sanskrit language. Cast as a discourse between the god Bhairava and his consort Bhairavi, it briefly presents 112 Tantric meditation methods or centering techniques (dharana).[1] These include several variants of breath awareness, concentration on various centers in the body, non-dual awareness, Mantra 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. Bhairavi, the goddess, asks Bhairava to reveal the essence of the way to realization of the highest reality. In his answer Bhairava 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. Trika and Kashmiri Shaiva tradition names the Absolute Reality as Bhairava. Combination of three syllables bha + ra + va form the word ‘’Bhairava”. Each of these three alphabets means three different acts of God. ‘bha’ means sustenance of the universe, ‘ra’ means dissolution of the universe and ‘va’ means manifestation of the universe. Vijnana Bhairava Tantra is the knowledge about the highest state of consciousness. It describes methods to merge the human consciousness with the divine consciousness or the individual consciousness with cosmic consciousness.[4]

Commentaries and English Translations[edit]

The text appeared in 1918 in the Kashmir Series of Text and Studies (KSTS).[5] The Kashmir Series published two volumes, one with a commentary in Sanskrit by Kshemaraja and Shivopadhyaya and the other with a commentary, called Kaumadi, by Ananda Bhatta.

In 1957, Paul Reps brought the text to wide attention by including an English translation in his popular book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.[6] Reps' translation was the subject of a voluminous commentary by Osho.[7]

Several other translations and commentaries have since become available:

  • Sri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra: The Ascent, by Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati[8]
  • The Manual for Self Realization: 112 Meditations of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, by Swami Lakshmanjoo, edited by John Hughes[9]
  • Vijnana Bhairava: The Practice of Centring Awareness, by Bettina Baumer & Sarla Kumar, commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo[10]
  • Vijnanabhairava or Divine Consciousness: A Treasury of 112 Types of Yoga Sanskrit Text with English Translation, Expository Note, Introduction and Glossary of Technical Terms by Jaideva Singh[11]
  • Tantra Yoga: Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, by Daniel Odier[12]
  • 112 Meditations for Self Realization: Vigyan Bhairava Tantra by Ranjit Chaudhri[13]
  • So You Wanna Meditate: A Concise Guidebook With Commentary on the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra by Swami Anantananda Giri[14]
  • Radiance Sutras: 112 Gateways to the Yoga of Wonder and Delight by Lorin Roche[15]
  • Vijnanabhairava or Techniques for Entering Liminal Consciousness by Dmitri Semenov[16]
  • The Book of Secrets: 112 Meditations to Discover the Mystery Within by Osho[7]
  • Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, by Mike Magee, a commentary on Jaideva Singh's translation[17]
  • Handbook of Consciousness: Vijnana Bhairava Meditations by Jnani Christian Karl[18]
  • Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, Insight into reality by Swami Nischalananda
  • Vijnana Bhairava Tantra by Paramhansa Nithyananda
  • Vijnana Bhairava Tantra by Satya Narayanan Sarma Rupengunta
  • Vijnana Bhairava Tantra by Christopher Wallis.
  • Vijnana Bhairava Tantra by Jason Augustus Newcomb


  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. ^
  5. ^ "Muktabodha Institute". Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  6. ^ Zen Flesh, Zen Bones : A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings. Reps, Paul, 1895-1990. London: Penguin Books. 2000. ISBN 0140288325. OCLC 42954648.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ a b Rajneesh, Osho (2010). The Book of Secrets : 112 Meditations to Discover the Mystery Within. Osho, 1931-1990. (1st updated and rev. U.S. ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312650605. OCLC 555656282.
  8. ^ 1953-, Satyasangananda Saraswati, Swami (2003). Sri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra : The Ascent (1st ed.). Munger, Bihar: Yoga Publications Trust. ISBN 818633632X. OCLC 57069102.
  9. ^ The Manual for Self Realization 112 Meditations of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra. Lakshmanjoo, Swami., Hughes, John. Lakshmanjoo Academy. 2015. ISBN 9780981622842. OCLC 931644358.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ Vijñāna Bhairava : The Practice of Centring Awareness. Lakshman Joo, Swami, 1907-1991. Varanasi: Indica Books. 2002. ISBN 8186569359. OCLC 52269087.CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ Vijñānabhairava, or, Divine Consciousness : A Treasury of 112 Types of Yoga. Singh, Jaideva. (1st ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 1979. ISBN 8120808207. OCLC 25162962.CS1 maint: others (link)
  12. ^ "Vijnana Bhairava Tantra by Daniel Odier". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  13. ^ Chaudhri, Ranjit (2013). 112 Meditations for Self Realization. Fingerprint Publishing. ISBN 8172344910. OCLC 922744264.
  14. ^ Anantananda Giri, Swami (2013). So You Wanna Meditate: A Concise Guidebook With Commentary on the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra. Createspace Independent Publishing. ISBN 9781492761242.
  15. ^ Roche, Lorin. The Radiance Sutras : 112 Gateways to the Yoga of Wonder & Delight. Boulder, Colorado: Sounds True Inc. ISBN 9781604076592. OCLC 852745739.
  16. ^ Semenov, Dmitri (2010). Vijnanabhairava : or Techniques for Entering Liminal Consciousness. Sattarka Publications. ISBN 9780578060422. OCLC 1027966292.
  17. ^ Magee, Mike. "Vijnanabhairava Tantra". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  18. ^ Karl, Jnani Christian. Handbook of Consciousness: Vijnana Bhairava Meditations. ASIN B00OEI7KKM.