Ashwathama the immortal -Part 1

Ashwathama, the son of Acharya Drona, the valiant warrior of the Mahabharata Kurukshetra War, is one of the most controversial characters of the epic (Mahabharata). He is one of the bravest of men, a powerful warlike Brahmin, a great Yoga master. Sadly enough, Ashwathama is misunderstood by most people all over the world, due to twisted views and false propaganda spread by over-zealous cultists. He is often portrayed as a cowardly and sinful Anti-Hero, instead of the reality which is just opposite (as depicted in the original Sanskrit Mahabharata of Sage Vyasa). This has been possible because people in general accept without question, the untruthful biased translations put forward by sectarians as reality. Most people cannot read Sanskrit or, they don’t have access to the original Mahabharata, which is colossal!

Ashwathama-mov-2In the Hindu Scriptures, Ashwathama is counted among the seven immortals, who have forever escaped death. The verse goes like: Ashwathama Balir-Vyaso, Hanumanscha Vibhishanah. Kripah Parashuramascha, Saptaite Chirajivinah. Meaning, Ashwathama, Demon Bali, Rishi Vyas, Hanuman, Demon Vibhishan, Kripa Acharya and Parashuram are the seven immortals. In Sanskrit writing:

ashwathama-immortalSage Angirasa was a direct son of Brahma-deva, the creator. Sage Brihaspati (the Guru of Indra), is the son of Angirasa. Sage Bharadwaj was the son of Brihaspati. Acharya Drona was the son of Bharadwaj and the father of Ashwathama. Thus one may say that Aswathama is the direct lineage holder of the Bharadwaj Gotra and numerous persons born in this Gotra(blood line from some sage) are his descendants. Also note that Kripa-acharya, another immortal, is Ashwathama’s uncle… his mother’s brother. By birth Aswathama is from the Brahmin caste, not a Ksatriya (warrior). But by his Karma in his first 40-50 years, he indeed was a supreme warrior.

He was born to Drona, a sage-like Brahmin, who lived with his wife Kripi in poverty. When the baby was born, he wailed like a horse (Ashwa in Sanskrit), hence the name Ashwathama. The local children teased Drona for he couldn’t feed milk to his only son. The Brahmin looked everywhere and tried his best to procure a milking cow by fair means, but couldn’t. So he went to his childhood friend, Drupada (of warrior caste), who was now king. But Drupad refused Drona’s friendship, saying, “Only people of equal status can be friends“. He didn’t give Drona any gold, or, cow, just turned him away severely insulting him. Drona resolved to return the insult in kind at the proper time and left.

Meanwhile Parashurama, the incarnation of Vishnu, was giving away all his material belongings to atone for his killing of thousands of warriors( he rid the land of India from all Kshatriyas 21 times!). Parashurama is another death-less warrior Brahmin, he is a Lineage holder Rishi in several Tantras, (like Gandharva Tantra of Sri-Vidya, etc,) a student of Lord Shiva and is known to be engaged in his eternal spiritual practices in mount Mahendra Parvat. When Drona approached Parashurama, the latter had already given away all his kingdoms, properties, gold, etc. So anything of material value was already gone. However, Parashurama didn’t wish Drona to return empty-handed, after having endured the hardship of journeying to mount Mahendra, his abode. So, Parashurama said, “O Brahmin, I have nothing else but the secrets of warrior lore and all Divine weapons. Tell me how I can help you?” Drona asked for the knowledge of the art of war and the mantras and applications of all kinds of weapons, and his master agreed. Drona then came to Hastinapur, the kingdom of the Kauravas & Pandavas and demonstrated his efficacy with weaponry to the young princes. He was promptly appointed Acharya (Teacher) by Bheesma and soon a Gurukul was set up in Hastinapur. Princes thirsty of the knowledge of weapons thronged from all kingdoms to his tutelage and he taught them all. In this way, Drona, who initially set out to properly feed his son, became a warlike Brahmin and began to teach swordsmanship, archery and killing arts instead of Veda. Although he was busy teaching, Acharya Drona’s heart-throb was his only child Ashwathama.

Arjuna, by the way was Drona’s most favorite student, as he excelled in archery and mental concentration. Drona promised to make Arjuna the greatest archer and taught him almost everything he knew. The other person to receive such knowledge of weapons was Ashwathama, his son. Anyway after many years of training, he asked for Guru-Dakshina from the princes of Hastinapur. He asked them to attack the Kingdom of Panchala, of which Drupada was king. The task was to conquer Drupada’s army and make him the prisoner of war and finally present him in chains to Acharya Drona. In this difficult test, Duryodhana and his 99 brothers failed, but the five sons of Pandu succeeded. After being put to shame by getting defeated King Drupada met his friend Drona at last, now an equal! Drona forgave his old friend and gave him back his kingdom and Drupada promised everlasting friendship (at least verbally!).

However, Drupada couldn’t swallow the pain and sought the Rishi’s hermitages, requesting them  to perform a Yajna (fire-sacrifice), such that a powerful son capable of killing Acharya Drona could be born to him. All the sages disagreed to do his bidding. Drona was now very powerful owing to  the patronage of the Kauravas of Hastinapur. Also, it was impossible for any warrior to conquer him or, kill him in a fight. Drona was not just a warrior, but a powerful Brahmin, very strict in his penances and yoga practices. He worshiped great God Shiva and received boons from the lord. Shiva also gave him a powerful weapon called Sahasra-vana (1000 arrows). (I visited the cave where Drona performed his penances for this weapon. It’s located above the waterfall Sahasra-Dhara, at Dehradun.) Finally one sage agreed.


Tara Tantra Mantra

Author: Amitabha Chatterjee.

Tara worship following the path of Tantra had been very popular all over India, Tibet and China had been very popular in the middle ages. In the scholarly sense, it began 2000 years ago and it is still going on in a steady flow. I think the Shakti worshipers (appraising God as the source of all power and visualizing God in female form) rose in power and number during the Pala era in India and after fourteenth century, began waning with the fall of Buddhism in India.

Anyway, let’s not talk about history and let’s get down to business. Without beating around the bush, I will come to the point directly. Tara Sadhana and it’s associated Tantra began with the austerities of Sage Vasistha in ancient India. After having succeeded in Vedic mode of spirituality and seeing the zenith of Brahmanic religion, Sage Vasistha wanted to explore the Tantra of mother goddess Tara. It must have already been there, as a weak thread in our culture, issuing from Lord Shiva, the true father of Yoga and Tantra. It is not uncommon among realized sages to explore one path after the other and enjoy the thrills and anguishes of God realization anew. They are not boring people with a scarcity of energy. The Sages are full to the brim with cosmic strength and they are the most unbiased entities. Nath Yogi Ratannath went to Mecca to explore Islam and was renamed Haji-Ratannath; Yogi Lokenath Brahmachari also went to Mecca and stayed there for almost a year with sage Malik Gafur; Ramakrishna Paramhamsa explored God through Tantra, Vedanta-monism, Vaishnavism, Islam and Christianity!

Now then, Vasistha underwent tremendous austerities to appease Tara, but nothing happened! He was upset by the failure and cursed the Tara mantra “Treem”, rendering it impotent. Then he had a divine vision and was directed to go to greater-China (Mahachina) to a realized tantric master named Janardana, to learn the proper practice of Tantra, fit for this path (Vamachara, the left hand path). Vasistha was also given directions for the exact spot, where he should pitch his tent for sadhana, on his return from China. He must sit under the giant, old Bakula tree (Mimusops elengi) and start his Tantra worship of great goddess Tara. The sacred place referred to was Tarapith, near Rampurhat, Birbhum district, West Bengal State, India.

The sage followed the instructions and visited his new Guru. Janardana, the Buddha (perfectly realized), was discovered by Vasistha, engaged in sensual enjoyment, accompanied by wine and women!! Vasistha’s mindset was that of a Vedic sage, accustomed to abstinence, asceticism and disciplines of Yoga meditations. So, he was left aghast, seeing a Tantra master in that state. Janardana dispelled his fears and revealed the hidden flow of spirituality, the all-pervading sky like voidness, that was the soul of his path. The outer lavishness and sense indulgence was only a ruse, which could never disrupt the inner calmness of the Yogi. The one pointed mind should always rest on the infinite nature of Tara.

The outer demeanour of the Vamachari Yogi may well appear worldly and misleading, but his inner quintessence is as calm as the silent sky, his mind engulfing eternity. His meditating mind should not show a single ripple by the sight of sensual objects, neither should he entertain the fear of death and destruction.

Having thanked his Guru in China, Vasistha returned to Tarapith, to walk a new path and start a fresh mode of life. His new seed mantra was now modified to (S-Treem, in place of Treem), the full mantra being, “Hreem Streem Huum Phat“. He met with quick success and realized eternity in the form of Tara. Later a new lineage emerged from him and continued through many thousand years until 150 years back from the present day. In that time-span, the Tara tantric path has branched and subdivided into numerous lineages and schools. This is the esoteric history of Tara worship. The re-emergence of Tara worship in modern Bengal occurred with sage Vama Khepa of Tarapith. Vama was a maha-siddha in the true sense and his long life was punctuated with untold miracles. His yoga sadhana and spiritual magnificence was astounding. And he even followed the ancient lifestyle of a Tantra-master of the left hand path and lived in the cremation ground, most of his life. Some yogi’s opine that sage Vama-Khepa is an incarnation of ancient sage Vasistha, who came back to re-establish Tara worship in it’s eminent pedestal.

In most Hindu Tantras, the seer (Rishi) of Tara mantra is Akshobhya. In some places, like in the case of Ekjata Tara (Tara with one dread-lock), the seer is said to be Astaka, the rhythm being Anustupa and Tara being the Supreme Goddess of all creation, is described as the wife of Shiva. The mantra for this form is also: “Hreem Streem Huum Phat”. reference … …
Rishi syad Astak-aschhandoh Anustup cha devata tatha,
Shambhu Patni Maheshani Chaturvargeshu Yojayeth.

The mantra of Tara in the form of Maha-Neela-Saraswati (Saraswati, being the Vedic goddess of wisdom),  ie, the Great Blue Saraswati, is also called Kulluka (a secret term among old tantra practitioners). The said mantra is as follows: Hreem Streem Huum.

In Sanket Chandrodaya Tantra (used to exist 400 years ago), it is given,

Pancha-akshari Ekjata Tara-Bhave Maheshwari,
Tara-Adya tu Bhaved-Devi, Sriman-Neela Saraswati.
Ugra-Tara Traykshari cha Maha Neel Saraswati.
Anyasya Vidyanaam Ekjataiva Devata Prakriti-twath.

In comparison to other Vidyas (tantric goddesses), Ekjata exists in natural state.
Another form, the Ugra-Tara (Ugra = Extreme, as she delivers her devotees from extreme danger) or, simply, Neel Saraswati resides in this mantra: Om Hreem Streem Huum Phat.
Certain “symbolic names” for the above seed syllables were used to hide the real mantras from indecorous curious persons (who did not practice Tantra). For example,
Om – Pranava Brahma-bija
Hreem – Maya bija, maya = illusion, also called Bhuvaneshwari seed, also called Devi-Pranava
Streem – Badhu bija, badhu = wife.
Huum – Kurcha Bija
Phat – Astra bija, astra = weapon.
Haum – Prasada bija, prasad = peace, happiness.
Aim – Vaak bija, speech, Saraswati/ Guru seed

There also existed longer mantras of Tara like: In Neela Tantra,
Om Hreem Haam Huum Namas-Tarayai Sakala Dustaraam Taaraya Taaraya Om Om Swaahaa.

The name Tara, or, Taara implies that her job is that of deliverance, “Taarana”.
She bestows poetic genius & great intellect, that’s why, she is the blue Saraswati, goddess of wisdom.

In Veer Tantra, we find, “the one who venerates Shree Neela Saraswati’s mantra, becomes the lord of this world, he acquires deep wisdom and after demise, attains highest bliss through great liberation.”
Vidyaam Neel vandyaam Bhuvana Janapatih sarva-shastra vetta;
Dehante Yogi-mukhyah Parama sukha padam Brahma Nirvanam iti.

In the Left Hand Path of Tara, the mantras and visualization processes include all 3 forms of the goddess.
To purify water, recite: Om Vajrodake Huum Phat Swaahaa. (Swaahaa is pronounced as svāhā)
To sprinkle the sanctified water in the mouth, (before the actual Puja/ ritual worship, you do “Achamana”), you bring into use the names of the 3 forms: recite thus:
say, Om Ugratarayai Namah
say, Om Ekjatayai Namah
say, Om Neel Saraswatyai Namah.

Before engaging into deeper sadhana, one must sanctify the ground and seat/ asana by sprinkling holy water, saying: Om Rakhsha Rakhsha Huum Phat Svaha.

To destroy the troubling malefic forces of the ground and sky around the place of your worship,
Sprinkle paddy seeds & recite: Om Sarvaan Vighnaan-uthsaaraya Huum Phat Swvaha.

Then, invite to your aid, the holy ground and lay your seat, which may be a clean blanket, an asana of woven kush-grass, or, a black deer skin. Recite:
Om Pavitra Vajra Bhoome Huum Phat Svaha

Create your deeper sadhana asana using the methods given in Shree-Krama Tantra/ Matsya-Sukta. Throw some flowers, preferably of red color, on your asana and worship it. Mantra for this:
Om Aah Surekhe Vajra-rekhe Huum Phat Svaha .

Say, “Swasti Swasti” to envoke peace & goodness and then be seated upon the asana, adopting Sukhasana or, Vajrasana/ lotus posture. Sit in a comfortable manner, for the sadhana might require you to remain in it for a long time.

To cleanse your full-body, speech and mind, recite the next mantra for some time:
Om Mani-Dhari Vajrini Maha-pratisare Rakhsha Rakhsha Huum Phat Svaha.
Also, tie up your hair with this mantra. Recite and put a knot at the end of your cloth. This is for protection from evil spirits.

To breath life into the form of your deity, be it a stone idol, a painting, or, a mental image, mentally electrify it with pranic energy from your soul with this mantra:
Aang Hreem Krong Svaha.

Note: It is interesting to note that Lord Dattatreya’s mantra is very similar. It is,
Aum Aam Hreem Krong Dattatreyay Namah.
Dattatreya is the first avadhoot and the Guru of the founder Nath yogi, Matsyendranath. And Dattatreya imparted the Vajra-Panjar Kavach to the latter. Using this mantra-weapon, Yogi Matsyendranath defeated goddess Vajreshwari in battle. That must have been a superhuman feat.

Now then, thus protected from all forces, begin your ritual worship, then repeat your Mool mantra, (Root mantra is the actual Tara mantra given by your Guru). After finishing your work with the rosary, mentally return the cosmic energy thus gained to Kamini devi, who resides in the heart lotus and lift her to the 1000 petalled lotus above your head. In that lotus resides the real Guru of all universes. He is the essence of knowledge and the real liberator, the Guru of all previous masters. He is beyond life or, death.
“Sa purvesham api Guruh kalena anavachhedath” – Yoga Sutra.
Pray to him, see him as one with Tara and let the mantra vanish into him.

Dream, Awareness and Meditation

Hone your Awareness, clean your awareness.
The purpose of life is to cleanse the mind of false ideas.
Even the waking state is clouded by irrelevant thoughts and memories, most of the time. So, usually the mind is in a dreamy- reverie like state, pounded by schools of thought, semi-distracted even when people are awake, doing chores, moving around, answering questions during their daily lives.And don’t ask what happens to awareness when people are semi-conscious in their Dream State, lying down like logs, when their bodies are torpid due to Sleep-Paralysis.

human brain

Brain concocts our dreams

Yes, we are paralyzed daily during our sleep. The brain withdraws (in our sleep) the various functions from the nerves and muscles that control movement during the waking state. This state of sleep-paralysis is a natural measure to provide rest to the body muscles (in our throat, chest, hands, legs, etc.) and to protect the body from accidents. The brain makes sure that the muscles are relaxed and immobile, before it brings-on the dream state. We don’t see, or, hear, or, perceive anything of the external world when we fall asleep. The sense organs sort of withdraw like the limbs of a turtle, during the dream state, as we don’t need them anymore. If we physically move around in dreams, we may injure ourselves. So, we have sleep paralysis.
Alice is dreaming
Our organs of knowledge and action are all arrested during our sleep. According to Vedanta Philosophy, the sense organs for knowledge (called as, Gyan-indriya) are: eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin; and the organs of action (Karma-Indriya) are: Voice-box, hands, legs, anus and sex-organ. The mind itself is the eleventh sense-organ. Without the connection of the mind, we cannot perceive anything at all. Think of the instances, when your friend said something loudly, yet you didn’t hear anything, as your mind was elsewhere.

Only during certain dreams do the sense-organs react due to intense impulses from the brain. For example, the hands or, legs, or, the whole body jerks when we perceive strong sensations of falling or, jumping in dreams. Our eyes move (the dream state is characterized by Rapid Eye Movement, REM ) with the eyelids closed, as if to follow the sequence of dream-scape. But we don’t see dreams through our physical eyes, the REM is only an instinct. The brain projects the dreams and it is also the observer. Mandukya Upanishad of Vedanta explicitly deals with the 4 states of the mind. I feel amazed at the wisdom of the seers who existed 5000 years ago. The Vedanta and Raja Yoga philosophy are rich in human psychology. And the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali have simply dissected the mind and cross-analyzed it in all ways possible. It should be the Holy-Bible of psychology for scientists, if they can understand it.

Actually, we create the series of events in ordinary dreams due to Association. One object seen in a dream is associated to many things, memories & events in our lives, also, each of us have many preconceived ideas  attached to certain symbolic objects. Those objects seen in a dream trigger the vision of other objects and set of circumstances and hence one thing leads to another and the dream unfolds.

But the main thing in our lives is Awareness, or, consciousness. God, Shakti, power is consciousness. The soul of a living being is also consciousness.

Ya Devi sarva-bhuteshu Chetana-iti abhidhiyate,
Namastasyai, Namastasyai, Namastasyai namo namah.
(Markandeya Chandi, Chapter 5)
Meaning: O Supreme Goddess, you are the consciousness in all living beings, I bow to you.

Now consider this. The amount of Awareness that we experience or, exercise in waking state is weak as it is. In dream state it is so much weaker. And in Deep Sleep state, called Sushupti in Vedanta, it is almost unconscious. Inertness is the very nature of Deep-Sleep state. But even in deep-sleep, we are faintly conscious… we perceive a blankness (of thoughts), a vacuum, an endless dark sky, — yet it is not unconsciousness. We feel happy after a deep sleep and say, “I slept well”. We living beings are made of awareness, so we cannot be totally unconscious.

Now, when I remember the adept (siddha) Yogi Kedar-Nath Baba saying, “Swapna ka siddhi khota. Jagrut sachcha hai.” Meaning: The proficiency or, miraculous power you gain in a dream is false. Only when you attain something in the waking state, you may consider it to be true. I believe him now. He, being a realized yogi, cannot be wrong. We fall prey to reveries, passions, avarice in our waking state, as human weakness is within us. Imagine what happens to us in dreams, when our guard is down and we are so much more vulnerable to the dark side of the mind.

So one should hone his awareness, his chetana, and one must clean his “chitta”. Chitta is like the blackboard within the mind, where thoughts appear. Thoughts are waves, or, vibrations in the mind – Chitta-vritti in the language of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. We must work on the mind while awake, to consolidate the awareness (chetana) which is hidden in all of us. We must make the waking awareness very pure and strong. If somehow we manage to Remain Aware in Dream State (Lucid Dreams), where the inner world is so much more “malleable and ductile”, easier to attain what we want, the strong & purified chitta will protect us from getting wrong visions and impressions. It will stop meaningless hallucinations or, vulgar dreams and only induce divine visions. Our minds are most impressionable in dreams. Dreams control our moods and tendencies in the waking state. Divine visions uplift our spirit and purify our souls.

Pashupati yogi seal of Harappa

Pashupati yogi seal of Harappa

In meditation, which is like a focused dream, we get visions that change our lives. These visions are like packets of energy for the mind. They affect the psyche very deeply and change it permanently. Remember Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra: Yogas-chitta-vritti nirodha. Meaning, the actual process of yoga is to stop all thought waves. During deep meditation, a yogi arrests his thoughts – all thoughts except one. That one thought becomes a concentrated Super-Thought. It has immense power both in the inner world (the yogi’s mind) and also over the external world.This thought leads to realization. This state is called Savikalpa Samadhi.

Before meditation, we focus all thoughts on one subject and try to gain absolute knowledge of it through concentration. This single thought is the focus of meditation, or, Object of Meditation. When one can adhere to one thought for a long period of time, it is called Dharana (Mind holding on to one subject), gradually all other thoughts are eliminated. When this period is increased, it becomes Dhyana (meditation, or, the constant flow of one thought). Then a curious thing happens, the mind, the Chitta takes on the shape of the object of meditation. Hence it is said that in Samadhi, three become one, that is, Dhyana (the act of meditation), Dhyata (the yogi who is meditating) and Dhyeya (the subject in focus / object of meditation) fuse into one. One may say that the Chitta becomes the object of meditation. By so doing, the mind gains absolute knowledge & total control over the “object of meditation” in Samadhi state. This Samadhi is a Super-Conscious state. Also, Samadhi literally means, “Samyak-Adhikara”, total-control.

Yogi Gorakhnath in samadhi

Yogi Gorakhnath in samadhi

When the Yogi comes down, back to external awareness, when he awakens from samadhi (meaning: his mind shifts from Super-conscious to ordinary waking-consciousness), he is a changed man, a new man. His awareness has increased, his point of view has changed with the new knowledge. And he now has the power to bring some change into this world. It depends upon the mind of the Yogi, whether he will use that power here, in the world of mud and smoke, or, he will dive deeper into the secrets of nature with his Chitta.

The Struggle of Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda was the spiritual heir of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa. Given below are some quotes from Swami Vivekananda’s biography & conversations with his disciples:

After Sri Ramakrishna’s passing away, all forsook us as so many worthless, ragged boys… Then came a terrible time – for me personally and for all the other boys as well.

On the one side was my mother, my brothers [blood relations]. My father died at that time, [sometime before Sri Ramakrishna’s demise] and we were left poor. Oh, very poor, almost starving all the time! I was the only hope of the family, the only one who could do anything to help them. I [Swami Vivekananda] had to stand between my two worlds. On the one hand, I would have to see my mother and brothers starve unto death; on the other, I had believed that [Sri Ramakrishna’s ] ideas were for the good of India and the world, and had to be preached and worked out. And so the fight went on in my mind for days and months…. I was living in hell!

I could not bear to see those who were the nearest and dearest to me, suffering…. Who would sympathize with the imaginations of a boy – imaginations that caused so much suffering to others? Who would sympathize with me? None- except one [Sri Sarada Devi]. That one’s sympathy brought blessing and hope. Well, that lady, [Sri Ramakrishna’s wife] was the only one who sympathized with the idea of those boys. But she was powerless. She was poorer than we were.

I believed, as I was living, that those ideas were going to rationalize India and bring bring better days to many lands and foreign races. With that belief, came the realization that it is better that a few persons suffer than that such ideas should die out of the world. What if a mother or, two brothers die? It is one kind of sacrifice. Let it be done. No great thing can be done without sacrifice. The heart must be plucked out and the bleeding heart placed upon the alter. Then great things are done. I appeal to each one of you, to those who have accomplished any great thing. Oh, how much it has cost. What agony! What torture! What terrible suffering is behind every deed of success in every life.

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda

And thus we went on, that band of boys. The only thing we got from those around us was a kick and a curse- that was all. Of course, we had to beg from door to door for our food: a piece of bread here and there. We got hold [rented] of a broken-down old house [a ruin, left alone for a haunted house], with hissing cobras living underneath; and because that was the cheapest, we went into that house and lived there.

Thus we went on for some years, in the meanwhile making excursions all over India, trying about the idea gradually. Ten years were spent without a ray of light [any hope]. A 1000 times despondency came; but there was one thing always to keep us hopeful – tremendous faithfulness to each other, the tremendous love between us…. That is a great blessing. In happiness, in misery, in famine, in pain, in the grave, in heaven or, in hell, who never gives me up is my friend. Is such friendship a joke? A man may have salvation through such friendship…. If we have that faithfulness, why, there is the essence of all concentration….And that was there with us all throughout that hard time. That made us go from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin[Kanyakumari], from the Indus to the Brahmaputra.

Swami Vivekananda swam to that rocky island and meditated, before going to the West. Later a temple was erected in his memory.

Swami Vivekananda swam to that rocky island and meditated, before going to the West. Later a temple was erected in his memory.

This band of boys began to travel about. Gradually we began to draw attention: 90% was antagonism, very little of it was helpful. For we had one fault: we were boys- in poverty and with all the roughness of boys. He who has to make his own way in life is a bit rough, he has not much time to be smooth and suave and polite- “my lady & my gentleman,” and all that. [a fashionable attire to be socially acceptable; and verbal smoothness and deliberately polished behavior] He is a rough diamond, he has not much polish, he is a jewel in an indifferent casket. “No compromise!” was the watchword. “That is the ideal, and this has got to be carried out. If we meet the king, though we die, we must give him a bit of our minds; if the peasant, the same.” Naturally, we met with antagonism.

But, mind you, this is life’s experience; If you really want the good of others, [bring a lofty ideal into life, by living it] the whole universe may stand against you and cannot hurt you. It must crumble before your power of the Lord Himself in you, if you are sincere and really unselfish. And those boys were that. They were as children, pure and fresh from the hands of nature. Said our Master [Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa]: “I want to offer at the alter of the Lord, only those flowers that have not even been smelled, fruits that have not been touched with the fingers.”… People used to laugh at him [Guru Sri Ramakrishna] when he said, “You will see – this boy, that boy, what he becomes.” His faith was unalterable: “Mother showed it to me. I may be weak, but when She says this is so – She can never make mistakes – it must be so.” [Sri Ramakrishna could see and talk to Ma Kali, the mother of all worlds.]

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, the perfect bhakta, Jnani, yogi and devotee of Ma Kali

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, the perfect bhakta, Jnani, yogi and devotee of Ma Kali

[Amitabha Chatterjee: Swami-Vivekananda was an adept in meditation and a perfect karma-yogi, he was an incarnation of Nara Rishi, an emanation of Narayana, much revered in the Puranas. This fact was witnessed by Sri Ramakrishna, in his samadhi. What Swami-ji accomplished in a single short life span of 39 years, cannot be attained by a thousand men put together. The words inside brackets are mine, put there to clarify the subject. The name of the book from which the above is cited is: Swami Vivekananda, on himself, ISBN 81-7505280-5. ]

The Heart of Advaita Vedanta

By Amitabha Chatterjee

Vedanta is the essence of all Veda-s. Upanishad literally means, “to sit nearer to the Truth”. Along with the Upanishads, Rishi Vyasa’s Brahma-Sutra and Bhagavad-Gita are included as the 3 Prasthanas of Vedanta philosophy. Now, without going to any more of this headache causing Metaphysical Blah blah, let us take a dive directly into the heart of Vedanta, and see what it is. The following is a gist of what the whole Vedanta Philosophy says in thousands of verses.

God lives in me as the silent Witness and the source of all power.
Me as my personality, my looks, my name and status,
My life’s work, my love & hate, all my thought ripples:
Are just bubbles of ILLUSION, false thoughts floating over the TRUTH.
The only Truth is, the Atman (soul), One underlying consciousness without beginning or, end.

Knowledge of Paramatman in Yoga Vashistha Ramayana

Knowledge of Paramatman in Yoga-Vasistha Ramayana

Analogy of the Fruit Pulp:

We only eat the Juicy Pulp from a fruit and discard the seeds, hard outer shell, etc as they are inedible. But in reality, the pulp, seed and skin constitute the whole fruit. Similarly, we meditate on the pure unblemished consciousness Paramatman, which is like the juiciest essence and try to overcome this muddy turbidity of mundane existence, which is like the inedible part. During meditation or, contemplation, we reject this miserable external world and focus the rays of the mind upon the inner Spirit. Yet, in a broader sense, Absolute God of Vedanta is Omnipresent, it’s within us as the soul and everywhere around us. There is nothing to discard.

It is true that the Spirit pervades everything: mundane and absolute. That only is, and this multiplicity is an illusion. But the mind cannot grasp that pure effulgence in this dusty world of ordinary reality. So, for all practical purposes, the Spirit is hiding behind this variety of existence. We try to dive deep within the mind, in search of this soul, as we cannot see it outside.

The Atman is one and all pervading.
Every form of existence, or, even the void is the one Atman… but under a mask of limited expression. The mask of Maya has rendered it unrecognizable. Maya is nature’s illusive power. It covers the truth from our awareness like a blanket.

One may ask, God with Name & Form—— OR,——- One Formless Absolute, which one is the reality?

There are numerous examples from the Vedas, Upanishads, Gita, Puranas and Tantras establishing the Oneness of all phenomena. Bitter argument is futile, as, in so doing, we might lose sight of the peaceful reality in our hearts.

To each his own. Whatever philosophy liberates the mind from the bondage of mundane cravings, is valid for you. Unity, duality, what does it matter? In essence, we are looking at the same thing. One wants to become Sugar itself, another is satisfied with remaining separate and tasting it. One wants to merge into the Infinite, another wants to retain his individuality and appreciate it. This remaining separate from the Absolute is called Duality, or, Dvaita. And becoming one with Truth is called Advaita, Nonduality. Those who walk the path of devotion to a personified God (like Krishna, Shiva, Jesus), prefer Duality. Those who walk the path of Vedanta analysis, and practice Soham (I am That), or, Tat-twam-Asi (Thou art that), Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahma. or, Absolute), they prefer becoming one… Non-duality or, Advaita. Those who walk the path of Yoga and Tantra, attain Kaivalya, Unmani states, which is more than the above said oneness. The subject of Liberation, Mukti, highest state, Brahma-Jnana has been discussed in Tantra at great length.

Vihaya Naam-rupani nitye Brahmani nischale.
Parinischita tattvo yah, sa Mukta-h karma-bandhanath.

(from MahaNirvana Tantra)
meaning: He who can recognize the Brahman Absolute and Eternal, which is beyond all names and visible appearances, such a sage is liberated from the bondage of Karma. (To clarify the concept of Karma, read this.)

Na Muktir-Japad-homad-upavasa shatairapi,
Brahmaivaham-iti Jnatva Mukto bhavati dehabhrith.

(from MahaNirvana Tantra)
meaning: One cannot attain liberation through the recitation of a mantra a million times (Japa), or, through fire sacrifice (called Homa / Yajna), through holding fasts (Abstain from eating, Upavasa) hundreds of times. “Aham-Brahmasmi“, that, I Am Brahman, the Absolute Truth, only this realization is the cause of Liberation ( Mukti).

One may find peace in analyzing his own mind and its may become his highest sadhana (spiritual practice). Yet I believe in a conscious all pervading Force. It cannot be seen with these physical eyes, but yogi adepts can see it in their hearts, through the eye of intuition. “Adesh” as the Nath yogi-s say… Adesh means, command. It hints us in subtle ways and shows us the way. For the yogi-s, the invisible Guru and all phenomena that propel us towards spiritual awareness, are emanations of this Power. I don’t wish to give a name to this force, or, paint my selfish colours over it and imagine it as a physical deity.

IT EXISTS, that’s all. It’s like, I AM that I AM, from the Bible. If I impart a name and form to That, it would be an abomination, an insult, I will be pulling it down to my pygmy status… for it is beyond all limits.
In Katha Upanishad, verse 2/2/15, it says,

Na tatra suryo bhati, na candra-tarakam,
Nema Vidyuto bhanti kutohayam Agnih?
Tameva bhantam anubhati sarvam,
Tasya bhasa sarvamidam vibhati.

meaning: In the Supreme Abode of Paramatman, there shines no sun, no moon or, stars, not flashes of lightning, how then can you expect fire to illuminate such an exalted place? The Supreme Spirit Itself is effulgent and He gives light to everything else. The sun doesn’t light up His abode, rather He lights up the sun and the universe. He is the only source of existence and power in the whole world.
In Gita, Krishna has uttered a very similar sentence to give expression to the supreme state. The Highest state of spiritual attainment has been described in most scriptures, as the Supreme Abode from which one doesn’t have to return. This “no return” means, Liberation from the cycle of death and consecutive rebirth. Gita, verse 15/6 says:

Na tad bhasayate suryo, na shashanko, na pavakah.
Yad gatwa na nibartante, Tad Dham Paramam Mama.

meaning: The sun, moon or, fire are not necessary to provide light in there. Where from there is no return (to this world of pain and rebirth), such is My Supreme Abode (Param Dham).


Question: What is “the “mask of Maya”?

To go to the heart of the matter, we must question the nature of Maya. What is Maya? It is the Illusion of this world of many-fold existence, when in reality, there is only the One All Pervading consciousness. There are not even 2 things, but one undivided infinite effulgence. That Oneness is called as Atman, Param-Atman, Param-Brahman (in the Vedas), Brahma Niranjan, Alakh Niranjan by the mystic Yogis, Shunyata by the Buddhists. One thing, many names.

Why then did we exist as different entities, why do we perceive these stupendous countless varieties in the Universe (or, Multiverse)? This is Maya. It is not the result of interpretations by mystics, men perceived this many-ness before the mystics. This difference is part and parcel of this mundane world. What then is in the root of this?

Its the Mind. The perception and faulty interpretation of the outside world by the mind. This illusion is not observed by only one culture, but all cultures. Its a mass hypnotism by the minds of organisms. This illusion is continuous and unending. That is because, we become aware of the outside through the senses and we take everything analyzed and thought by the mind as valid. So the Diverseness of the world appear to us as a valid and verified fact. ====> If we can go deeper inside the mind and observe the thoughts as they arise, we will identify the root of this world.

Yogis arrive at the Reality, which is Oneness, by stopping all thought-waves. Then the illusion stops and the world as we see it, vanishes. Only Atman remains, which is constant.

The sages of Vedanta stopped it by the reverse hypnosis of “I am not this, not that, but the One Infinite Truth.” They uprooted the small ego that pins us to our body, personality and identification with name and form. When the ego vanishes, all thoughts associated to our little-self existence, vanish. Thus they arrived at the naked Truth, where there is nothing else.

Question: What is reverse hypnosis?

Amitabha Chatterjee: Its the negating of the firm ideas in the mind that we carry around. These thought cycles identify us to names and forms and this physical body, pranic body, mental body, intellectual body and causal body. We constantly think like “I am this body”, “Amitabha is my name”, “This is my personality, my identity”, or, “I am this child’s father, I am this person’s son, I am this woman’s husband” and so on. These thoughts pin us to this worldly existence and all the little pleasures and agonies that arise from this samsara (world of many-ness).

The reverse hypnosis of Vedantins is the opposite cycle of thoughts that free our consciousness from this samsaric cycle. It is called as Neti-Neti Vichara, or, “Not-this_Not-this Logical analysis”. Like, “I am not this body, or, this mind, but I am Pure Unblemished consciousness.” Its unplugging the identification to this body and linking it to the Omnipresent consciousness. This line of thought gives rise to a mental wave or, Vritti, called Brahmakara Vritti. (Vibration resembling Brahman) This Vritti destroys all other waves of the mind and in the end, it vanishes. Thus the mental waves totally stop by this Neti-neti meditation, causing Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha state of Patanjali. Cessation of ripples inside the cognizant mind (Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha) shows us our real nature like a mirror. When there is no remaining reflection of this world in the mind, only what had been always there Remains. That is the Truth, or, Param-Atman. What remains is unnamed, unspeakable, it cannot be conceptualized, as it has no similarity with anything of this world. So, how can it ever be described? So, the Vedas have become silent.

Question: So, can we arrive there by just analyzing the mind?

  • No, that which is beyond the mind, cannot be arrived at by it’s analysis. One must stop the mind itself from thinking, and still retain the awareness. This is important. Deep sleep is a natural state without any thoughts. So, we should have attained the knowledge of the Supreme Soul, by just going to sleep! We didn’t, as we lost awareness on the way. This trick can only be performed by Yoga.

A state of equipoise, where there are only a few thoughts can be reached by analysis, or, savitarka samadhi of Yoga. But as the name suggests, sa-vitarka means “with-logical-analysis”, that is not yet devoid of ripples. Even when one sees the Light of the soul, that is savikalpa samadhi. Sa-vikalpa means, with mental cognition and thoughts arriving at concepts. Even that has to go. The Yogi, in the most advanced condition, has to give up everything, even the hope of retaining his individual consciousness. Then he may arrive at a state beyond the mind or, intellect, called, Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Only then can he become one with the Truth. Those who rarely manage to come back from this Nirvikalpa state are called SadGuru, Brahmavid-varistha, Yogeshwara.

Namaste Nath Bhagwan Shivaya Guru-Rupiney.
Vidyavatar Samsiddhou Svikritaneka Vigrahah.

 meaning: Thou, my master, my Guru, are the embodiment of knowledge. You are Shiva, you are the highest truth. You have accepted many forms to come down to this world to spread the light of knowledge. I bow down to you. (Guru Stavam, Tantra)

Narayana svarupaya Paramatmaika Murtaye.
Sarva-Gyana-Tamo-Bhedbhavena Chidghanaya te.

meaning: O Guru, you are Narayana, you are the embodiment of Paramatman. You are the all-knowing pillar of light that pierces through the curtain of this dark Tamasic world. You are concentrated awareness Itself. (Guru Stavam, Tantra)

Gyana Shakti Samarudham Tattvamala Vibhushitam,
Bhukti Mukti Pradataram Tasmai Shree Gurave Namah.

meaning– O Guru, you are adorned with the garland of Tattva-s (all that is to be known). Gyana (wisdom of Paramatman) and Power (Shakti) have become your seat. I bow to you, my Guru, who is capable of granting Bhukti (worldly desires) and Mukti (Highest liberation). (A quote from Vishwasara Tantra).

Such a wise Guru may utter the lofty words of Shvetashvetara Upanishad, as if pouring out of his own heart: Shvetashvetara Upanishad, verse 3/21:

Vedahametam Ajaram Puranam,
Sarvatmanam Sarvagatam Vibhutwat.
Janma-Nirodham Prabadanti Yasya,
Brahmavadino hi vadanti nityam.

meaning: I know the One Reality that is most ancient, beyond decay, the soul of all things, omnipresent and it encloses everything within Itself. They say that rebirth can end by knowing Him. Those who know (Brahma-vid), call Him Eternal.

Most human beings who try to achieve this highest of samadhi-s (Nirvikalpa samadhi), become dazzled by the splendor and power of Paramatman and merge into THAT, like a fly burns itself, plunging into a flame. Their lifeless bodies remain intact up to 21 days and then disintegrate like an ordinary corpse. Their souls merge into the Supreme Being and remain there forever. In a way this is a good thing, better than heaven or, other exalted states. The Vedanta adherents who desire Oneness, reach this end. But it is not the highest state.

This loss of individuality during Nirvikalpa samadhi, may be prevented only by the gradual accumulation of Power, before attempting the Nirvikalpa Trance. This accumulation of power can only be achieved by Tantra, or, Shakti-Sadhana. That’s why Tantra declares, Thy abode, O Highest Goddess, is beyond everything. The Yogi reaches your realm, after emerging from Paramatman. See the verse below: Kankalmalini Tantra 3/34.

Tava Chakram Maheshani, Atitah Paramatmanah.

The highest state is becoming One and non-dual and then returning back to duality. Once that happens, one can see that everything is God. The whole universe, the air, water, rocks, ants, bacteria, human beings, angels and gods alike, are all the same. That one Absolute Being has become everything. That One Supreme Being is pretending to be the ant. The pulp, seeds and skin are all that one whole fruit.

Who destroyed Nalanda University?

Destruction of Nalanda (from my earlier post in
There is wild speculation about the actual culprits responsible for burning down the magnificent Nalanda Mahavihara, one of the largest seats of Buddhist learning in ancient India. The usual rumour that is circulated maliciously is, “Five Brahmin youths burnt it down!” That sounds so ridiculous, when one has seen the amazing spread of Nalanda, the vast area it covered!! Nalanda is nearly 100 Kms away Patna, in modern Bihar, India. In ancient times it used to be referred to as, Nalanda, center of Buddhist learning, spread over an area of 50 Acres, near Rajagriha, in the kingdom of Magadha. At the peak of it’s existence, Nalanda University was the biggest Buddhist stronghold in the whole of India. The sheer number of occupants in Nalanda used to be 20,000, taking into account students, tutors, Bhikshu-s, Nuns, etc. It was world famous for it’s collection of scrolls, learned Buddhist philosophers, Vajrayana adepts & masters and for the magnificent architecture. Pupils thirsty of knowledge used to pour in from other countries like Tibet, China, Central Asia, Persia, Kabul (Afghanistan. Remember the gigantic Bamiyan Buddha statues?). So, whoever started the belief of those so-called Killer-Brahmins, is quite ignorant and has never consulted ancient history.

Nalanda University ruins

Nalanda University ruins

Here are the actual facts, with names and figures and proofs backing them up.
The Nalanda University was plundered, sacked and utterly destroyed by the Moslem invader Bakhtiyar Khilji, (Turkish) in 1193 AD. This devastating event contributed considerably to the decline of Buddhism in India, since Nalanda and similar universities, libraries and monasteries were like Buddhist fortresses in India. They were the pillars, supporting Buddhism, both philosophically and otherwise.

terracotta seal of Nalanda with the emblem

terracotta seal of Nalanda with the emblem

Bakhtiyar Khilji was not only cruel but also an Islamic Fanatic. He entered Nalanda to plunder it’s riches, but found only books and statues of Deities. Just Imagine his frustration! He then asked if they had even a single copy of the Islamic holy book Koran in the library. His soldiers found none!

Allow me to put down a little bit of Linguistics here.
The Muslim Turks upon entering the mainland of India, attacked the Viharas and Sanghas, the Buddhist monasteries, suspecting that they could be plundered for riches and gold. But they were filled with books and numerous idols of Vajrayana Gods and goddesses and of course, images of Buddha. The Indo-Islamic words Buth, Buth-parasti, etc, were coined during these conquests. “Buth” meaning statue, or, idol, came from the word, “Buddh” or, Buddha. “Buth-Parasti” means “worship of Idols“. The Islamic invaders wanted to utterly destroy these idol worshipers. In that Vajrayana period, the doctrines of Shunyata, Void and pure thoughts had vanished and were replaced by the worship of various deities… like Tara, Vajradhara, Mahakala…etc. You can find many brass, copper, bronze and stone statues of those deities in the Nalanda museum today. They have been excavated from the ruins.

The senseless genocide that followed has been recorded in detail in the historical book “Tabaquat-i-Nasiri” from the account of eye-witnesses and soldiers who took part in the killings. The Persian poet/ author /historian Minhaj-i-Siraj in his chronicle the “Tabaquat-i-Nasiri” described the rise of Muslim rule in Bengal up-to 1259, including the exploits of Bakhtiyar Khilji. We can also refer to the coins found from this period and validate the truth.

Tabaquat-i-Nasiri goes on like this: Khalji’s soldiers were ordered to pull down the structures, kill the inmates and burn all the worthless books. Several thousands of monks were thrown into the fire, while they were still alive. Some were beheaded. Khilji wanted to punish those idol-worshipers and devastate their culture, wipe it off the face of the earth, if possible. The millions of rare and invaluable books, scrolls and manuscripts burnt for months!!! Even after they turned to ashes, the sky above the surrounding villages was covered by a dark smoke that hung for weeks.

Shakya-Shribhadra, the Grand Abbot of Nalanda somehow escaped this killing. He received invitations from the Tibetan translator “Tropu Lotsaba Byams-Padpal” and this safe refuge was a heaven sent offer in those troubled times. So, he went to Tibet in 1204 AD and started another Mulasarvastivadin monastery there.

Another famous Tibetan translator “Chag Lotsawa” (1197–1264 AD) returned to India and visited in 1235 AD, the site where once Nalanda stood proudly. To his dismay, he found the place in ruins. Chag however discovered “Rahula Shribhadra“, the last remaining hermit, then 90 years old, still teaching a class of 70 students! This old master was kept alive by his Brahmin student named Jayadeva. (In India, numerous religions have been born and they flourished for thousands of years because of the natural spiritual tolerance of the people here. The only resistance Brahmins ever offered was by way of peaceful debates!) Jayadeva, however, was imprisoned in Odantapura, for supporting idolatry, where he heard of yet another invasion to take place. He notified his master Rahula and requested him to leave before any such a mishap. Rahula was left with only one student, a Tibetan, who carried his master on his shoulders, along with a few books, some rice and sugar. They took refuge in a temple. In-fact, during the stay of Chag Lotsawa, the remaining few Nalanda students were again attacked by 300 Muslim Turks. When Old Rahula and his student returned, nothing recognizable was left of Nalanda. ~(from the chronicles of Chag Lotsaba)

This article was originally composed by Amitabha Chatterjee (me) for here and edited on Oct 19th, 2014, before posting in WordPress.

Vatuka Bhairava Stotram in English

Vatuka Bhairava Apaduddhara Stotram consists of 108 names of Bhairava (Wrathful form of Shiva), which confers blessings and delivers the practitioner from danger. Kavacha, or, Kavacham means amulet or, armor. These verses or, hymns constitute a mantra armor. Apada (trouble / danger) + Uddhara means release from danger. After protracted practice, anyone is miraculously rescued  by Bhairava, once these 108 names are invoked. Whoever recites them is delivered from diseases, the malefic effects of planets, the evil influences of ghosts, demons and black-magic. The harmful entities flee from the spot on hearing the powerful invocation of the names of Bhairava.

Shiva-Nataraja and consort Parvati in dance posture.

Shiva-Nataraja and consort Parvati in dance posture.

The seer or, Rishi (who first realized this mantra in his trance) of these mantras is Brihadaranyaka; the rhythm (chhanda) in which this mantra must be uttered is Anustupa. The god appeased here is Vatuka Bhairava ; the viniyoga or, application is siddhi (Attainment of something), well-being and success in life. The principal mantra for Vatuka Bhairava, with Shakti Bija (root syllable) is this:

Om Hreem Vatukaya Apad-uddharanaya kuru kuru Vatukaya Hreem

As in all Tantras, the presentation of Apaduddhara Stotra begins as a dialogue between the supreme being Shiva and his consort, goddess Parvati. Parvati asks Shiva to tell her the 108 names of Vatuk Bhairava, such that, pious devotees may find a way to get rid of all problems and sorrows in life and find happiness.

Bhairavo Bhuta-Nath-ascha Bhutatma Bhuta-Bhavanah,
Kshetradah kshetrapal-ascha Kshetragya Kshatriyo Virat.

Bhairava is Bhutanath (lord of all living things), Bhuta-atman (soul of all life-forms), Bhuta-bhavana (always contemplates on the welfare of living beings). He is the giver (Kshetra-da) of Kshetra (physical body/Prakriti with 3 gunas) & it’s guardian (Kshetra-pala), the holder of Kshetra-wisdom ( Yogic wisdom ), Kshatrya (warrior), Virata (all pervading, gigantic).

Smashan-vasi Mangsashi Kharparashi-r Makhanta-krit.
Raktapah Pranapah Siddhah Siddhidah Siddha-sevitah.

He, being a form of Shiva, resides in Charnel grounds or, lonely cremation grounds (smashana), he accepts offerings of flesh (mangsa), his bowl is a skull (kharpar). He is the ender (or, he completes Makha = yajna) (fire-sacrifice) (meaning, an auspicious Tantric ritual is incomplete without him.) (also, destroyer, like Veerbhadra destroyed Dakhsa Yajna, on Shiva’s order.) He drinks blood and Prana (Vital force) [Bhairava bestows superior vital energy as blessing, or, diminishes vital power as a curse]. He is a Siddha (Complete Adept/Accomplished) himself, and a Giver of Siddhis (Power over some aspect of nature), and is worshipped by other Siddhas.

Karaalah Kaala-shamanah Kala-kastha-tanuh Kavih.
TriNetra BahuNetra_scha tatha Pingala-Lochanah.
Shula-panih Khadga-panih Kankali Dhumra-Lochanah.

Bhairava is Karaala (Terrible), Kaala(Death)-Shamana (Yama, God of death) [he is the Death of death, Kills death], Kala-kastha(units of measurement of time)-Tanu (body) [He is the embodiment of Time], Kavi (Poet, also means, he can see beyond the limits of Time). He has 3 eyes (Tri-Netra), bahu-netra (many eyes), his eyes are Pingala (honey-yellow in color) [Lochana=Netra=eye]. The weapons in his hands are Shula(Spear/Trident), Khadga (Sword), Kankala(Skeleton or, may imply Vajra, made from the indestructible bones of sage Dadhichi). His eyes are also smoke-grey (Dhumra).

Abhirur Bhairavo Bheemo Bhutapo Yogini-pati.
Dhana-do Dhana-hari cha Dhanadah Pratibhava-van.

Bhairava is utterly fearless (Abhiru), gigantic and powerful (Bheema), He is the master of the 5 basic elements that constitute the universe(Pancha Bhuta ), He is the master of Yoginis. (master/Lord=Pati). He is the bestow-er of riches (Dhana-daata; dhana=riches), and also the Taker (He takes them away= Dhana-haari); He is Talented, a genius, the master of all ingenuity (Pratibha).

In case, you are wondering what the hyphens – and _underscores are for, here’s the explanation. I have used them to separate meaningful words in Sanskrit, so that the reader can clearly understand and pronounce them. Tri Netra (meaning, tri=three, netra=eye). Ascha & tatha are grammar parts that join sentences… they mean “and”, or, “also”. Tatha also means “there /likewise”. But for now, don’t worry about grammar. Stick to the meaning of the individual names of Bhairava. For, its only a list of 108 names, remember?

Naga-haro Naga-kesho Vyomkesha Kapala-bhrith.

Kaalah Kapala-mali cha Kamaniyo Kala-Nidhih.

meaning: Naga= snake, hara=garland, Kapala = skull, mala= garland, Kesha=hair. Sri Bhairava is described as wearing a garland of snakes around his neck. Snakes are slithering among his matted locks of hair. He shares the Name Vyomkesha with Shiva, which means that his hair covers the whole span of the sky. Shiva outspread his matted locks all over the sky to catch and bind the celestial river Ganga, as she descended from heaven.He holds a skull in his hand and a garland of skulls adorns his chest.


Kapala-bhrith (Bhairava carries Brahma’s skull like a bowl): Puranic story:

The skull in his hand is that of Brahma-deva, the creator of this universe. Brahma, the creator, became egoistic, and lied about finding the upper end of the pillar of divine light.  This endless pillar is eternal knowledge and Shiva himself. While Brahma was boasting of his superiority to Vishnu, who was humble and quiet (for Vishnu accepted that he failed to find the bottom of the Pillar, even after searching for thousands of years), Shiva came out of the pillar. Shiva looked at Brahma with disapproval and suddenly Bhairava emerged from his contorted brows. Shiva ordered Bhairava to chop off Brahma’s head for lying. As Brahma stood trembling with fear, Bhairava produced a divine sword and chopped off Brahma’s fifth head, which uttered the untruth. As Bhairava proceeded to cut-off all the remaining heads of the creator, Lord Vishnu requested Shiva to forgive Brahma. Shiva praised Vishnu for being humble, truthful and courageous and forbade Bhairava to kill Brahma. Shiva blessed Vishnu that all his 10 avatars will be worshiped on earth and Vishnu will be the protector of the Universe. And cursed Brahma that he will not be worshiped, in spite of being the creator.

Shakti’s skull and immortality

The skulls in his garland are those of goddess Shakti as Sati (Sati= Parvati’s previous incarnation) from all her previous births. Shakti left Shiva many times in the past, casting off her mortal body. Immortal Shiva collected her skulls & made a garland; and from her bones, he made a rosary. Shakti’s avatars, before Parvati were mortals. Shiva made Parvati perform astounding austerities and yoga, before accepting her as his consort. Parvati attained immortality and her yogic feats enabled her to emanate the various wrathful forms to slay demons (Durga, Ambika, Kali, Chandi, Chamunda, Kaushiki, Bhadrakali, etc.).

He is Kaala, time itself (also, Kaala= death). He is extremely beautiful & handsome. He is the god of all art-forms. All the classical music, Raga, Raginis, Dance postures have evolved from Lord Shiva.(Kala=art, nidhi=gem/treasure).

Tri-lochan-Ujjvala-netras Tri-shikhi cha Tri-loka-path.
Tri-britto-Nayano Dimbhah Shantah Shanta-jana-praiyah.

Tri= three, nayana=lochana=eye, Loka=world. shanta=peaceful, priya=favourite.
Bhairava has three large bright eyes. His hair is arranged in 3 matted locks (tri-shikha). He is the lord of the 3 worlds, he nurtures (Patha= who nurtures, maintains) and sustains them. He is the embodiment of Peace and loved by all those who have attained peace of mind. Dimbha= child, Vatuka also means small child.

Vatuko Vatukeshas cha khatvanga-vara-dharaka.
Bhutadhyakshah Pahupatir Bhikshukah Paricharakah.

He is called by all these names : Vatuka, Vatukesh, Bhutadhyaksha, Pashupati (lord of all animals), Bhikshuka and Paricharaka. He holds the Vara (blessing) gesture and the Khatvanga weapon in his hands. Now, Bhuta Preta= elemental lifeforms like Ghosts, made of subtler panchabhutas.


(Bhairava is the master of all animals ) Pashu literally means Animal. But those human beings who are not liberated, are also considered as Pashu (animals) in Tantra. Pash means bondage. Whoever is bound by ignorance is a Pashu, or, animal.
Bhairava wanders in this world taking the disguise of a beggar (Bhikshuka), with the skull of Brahmadeva as his begging bowl. Paricharaka = He who takes care of the distressed/ needy. So, Bhairava is both a beggar and the giver of alms in the form of riches, boons and knowledge.

Dhurtto digambarah shaurir-harinah pandu-lochanah.
Prashantah shantidah suddhah shankarah priyabandhavah

Dhurtto { धूर्त } = clever; cunning.
digambara= naked, Dik-Ambara, The directions(Dik) are his cover(ambar अम्बर )(= unclad);
Shauri { शौरि }=means Vishnu;
Harina { हरिण } = Shiva, Vishnu, Hamsa and white-colored;
Pandu-lochana= eyes are yellowish-white in color;
Pashanta= He who has attained total peace; Shanti= peace; Shanti-da = Peace-giver;
Shuddha= Pure;
shankarah priyabandhava= it may be interpreted like:
1) Dear friend of Shiva Shankara
2) He is Shankara (shiva) and Close-Friend of the devotee.
Pra-Shanta= He who has attained total peace;


Digambara (Dik + Ambara)= naked, unclad. Shiva is all-pervading, infinite, so the directions (Dik) are unable to envelop him like a cloth(Ambara). He is naked, as he is infinite.
shaurir-harinah= Divine like Shiva or, Vishnu.
Shanti-Da, Shanti-data= He who Grants or, Bestows peace.

Asta-murtir-Nidhisha-scha Gyan-chakshus Tamomayah.
Astadharah Kaladharah Sarpayukta Shashi-shikhah.

Asta=8, murti=form, Nidhi=Treasure, Isha=master/Lord, Gyan=knowledge, Chakshu=eye, Tamo=Tamo-guna, Adhar=support, Kala=Art, Sarpa=snake, yukta=with (snake), Shashi=moon, Shikha=Top of the head/Jata.

Vatuka / Batuk Bhairav appears in 8 forms and lends his support in 8 ways (I think, something about the 8 directions, 4 cardinals, 4 in-between), He is the Lord of all treasures and art. Although he appears in Tamasic forms(Like drinking wine, eating flesh, accepting animal sacrifices, wandering in cremation grounds, etc.), he is totally enlightened. He can see everything at all times, past, present and future. He like Shiva, has snakes around his neck and a crescent moon emits pleasant light from his matted Jata. (Diseases and fatigue of devotees disappear by meditating on this moon)

Bhu-dharo Bhudhar-adhisho, Bhupatir-Bhudhar-atmakah.
Kankaal-dhari Mundi cha Naag-Yajnopabita-vaan.

Bhu=Earth, Pati=lord, Kankaal=skeleton, Munda=head, Naag=snake,
Yajnopabita=Holy threads that Brahmins hang from their left shoulder. {NOTE:- But in the past Brahmins, as well as ksatriyas/kinsmen/warriors and Vaisyas/trader-clans used to take part in fire sacrifices ( All the first 3 of the 4 castes of ancient India. Only the Sudras were left out ). In the beginning of the sacrifice, after the initiation ceremony, they were given this threads to wear. Some sacrifices could take several days to complete.}

Vatuk Bhairav is the Lord of this world, this earth and this soil. He is also master over those who hold this world (like the King of snakes named Vasuki), or over those who rule earth. He wears ornaments made from bones and also garlands of human heads around his neck (Belonging to Brahma, Sati, etc. as explained earlier). His sacred-thread is made from a coil of snakes, instead of string. This snake symbolism signifies the mastery over Kundalini energy.


Jrimbhano Mohanah Stambhi Maranah Kshobhanas-tatha.
Shuddha Neelanjana Prakkho-deho Munda-Vibhushitah.

Jrimbhan=Yawning, inducing a sleepy state; Mohana=Hypnosis, Stamnhan=Stupefy/Paralyze, Marana=to kill, Kshobhan=to induce restlessness. These are actually weapons/Astra-vidyas. Ancient yogis going back to the Vedic era possessed these powers. In the Puranic era, and the era where Tantra prevailed, these were coveted and feared. Deva-Guru Vrihaspati’s brother paralyzed Indra’s hand, as the latter raised his Vajra to attack (Indra=Zeus, king of heaven)… through a fire ritual (Stambhan); Again, Arjuna single-handedly, put the whole Kaurava army to sleep by a weapon called Jrimbhakastra, in Virata- war.

Yogi Jalandhar Nath (Jalandhari Pa, guru of Kanipa Nath) was annoyed with some gods (who disagreed and displayed insubordination ) and put them under hypnosis (Mohana). When they came to their senses, they were hanging upside-down from trees, pleading for release! Yogi Gorakhnath induced unhappiness (Kshobhan) in the marital life of King Bhartrihari to pull him out of his household and royal pleasures. Bhartrihari became a great Nath yogi called Vichar Nath. He is also the author of Vairagya-Shataka (100 verses on Dispassion) & Vakyapadiya (an original work of Sanskrit grammar, at par with Panini’s sutras.). Sage Kapilmuni burnt to ashes with his gaze (Marana), 1000 princes of Sagara dynasty. On the hands of unselfish Yogis, these powers were always applied for some greater good. Like the Sagara king Bhagirath, who brought down river Ganga from heaven to deliver his burnt ancestors. So, in a way, Kapil Muni’s action was the cause and the descent of Ganga was the result.

All the above powers are granted to the proper devotee of Bhairava, who will not try to use them for evil ends. These are called Abhichara kriya or, Krura-Karma (Cruel deeds) in Tantra. A Tamasic meditation is suggested here. Vatuk Bhairava’s body is dark (blue black) like the purest Kajal/ Netra-Anjana (Prepared from Lamp-soot), he is decorated with a garland of human skulls.


Balibhuk balibhutatma kami kama-parakrama.
sarvapat-tarako durgo dusta-bhuta-nishevitah.

He accepts sacrifices(balibhuk=eater of sacrifices), Himself being the soul of all his sacrifices (bali bhutatma); he is the pinnacle of all desires of here and here-after. He is the destroyer of Kama (Shiva burnt Kama-deva, the god of desire, to ashes with a gaze from his third eye.)

He is difficult to reach (Durgo)(cannot easily be found), He is the Rescuer from all misfortunes and troubles ( sarva= all. Apada= trouble; Taraka = Rescuer, Saviour ).

He (puts down by force) curbs evil-spirits and withholds them. Bhairava is an emanation of Shiva. He was given the responsibility to protect & preserve Deva-sthana-s, especially shrines of Shiva and the 51 Shakti-Pithas that sprang up from the 51 body parts of mother goddess Sati. Lord Bhairava, who could cut off Brahma’s head, is a supremely powerful being. So, all malefic spirits meekly serve him for fear of destruction. Hence Bhairava is dusta-bhuta-nishevitah.

Kaalah Kalanidhi Kantah Kamini-Vashakridvashi.

Sarva-siddhi-prado Vaidyah Prabhavishnu Prabhavabaan.

He is Mahakala, Kala (the supreme destroyer, also means Time).

Kalanidhi = great artist, bestower of artistic talent. Shiva is the Poet of the Veda, Vedanta; The singer of Ragas; the supreme dancer of Tandava, he is also called Nataraja. The Nada or, primal sound flows from his Damaru (hand drum), Shiva taught Rishi Panini, the formulas (Shiva Sutra) of Sanskrit grammar with 14 beats of his drum. He didn’t have to utter a word! We find in Nandikeshwara Karika, the famous and poetically rich verse,

Nrityavasane Nataraja Rajo Ananda Dhakkam Navapancha-varam.
Uddhartu-kamah Sanakadi-siddhadin etad-vimarshe Shiva-sutra-Jalam.

Meaning: Shiva taught the four first-born sons of Brahma, who thirsted for eternal knowledge, in a silent manner. He is called as Dakshinamurti, who imparted silent knowledge to the Sanaka-adi (Sanak, Sanadana, Sanatana & Sanatkumara) siddha sages. As the Sanakadi Rishi-s witnessed Shiva’s Nataraja Nritya (dance), pure knowledge began to radiate like light from Shiva. At the end of the dance, Nataraja played his drum 9+5 = 14 times, to bless the sages, who were also his students. The Shiva Sutra-s of Panini’s grammar were hidden in those damaru beats. Later, Nandinath, (Shiva’s bull, his ride or, Vahana, also visualized as a liberated sage) who took note of all his teachings, imparted those grammar sutras to Panini. Elsewhere, it has been said that Shiva himself appeared to Panini, who was performing rigorous penance to appease the lord and played his drum 14 times. Strange complex hymn like sounds came out of the percussion instrument, and the formulas of Sanskrit language appeared out of the blue and dawned on Panini’s heart in samadhi. Thus Panini became a Rishi (seer of a mantra) and spread the new knowledge far and wide.

Kanta= extremely beautiful, handsome. All women desire a husband with similar qualities. His devotees get their desires for a suitable companion fulfilled.
Siddhi= success/ miraculous powers. He grants all siddhis; He cures all ailments (vaidya= doctor, Healer); He is supremely powerful (Prabhavishnu Prabhavabaan).

Astottara shatam nama Bhairavasya mahatmana.
Maya-te kathitang devi rahasyam sarva-kamadam.

Thus, O Goddess, I have spoken to you of the 108 names of the Supreme God Bhairava. These names are filled with secret powers which can accomplish anything.

After this verse, Shiva explains the benefits of practicing this Kavacham to some length. Later, he gives us the description of Vatuka Bhairava, for meditation.

Dadyath stotram-idam punyam sarva kama-phala-pradam,
Dhyanam vakshyami Devasya yatha dhyatva pathennarah.

By meditating on Bhairava, it is possible to achieve anything. Also vast merit (Punya, the opposite of sin) is acquired by doing so. Now, I will tell you the dhyana description, which a devotee must recite.

Shuddha sphatika sankasham sahasraAditya varchasam.
Astavaahum Trinayanam Chaturvaahum Dwivaahukam.

This is the Sattvic or, purest form of meditation. Contemplate on Bhairava, who is like a transparent crystal. He is radiant, as if, a thousand suns have illuminated the sky. He has three eyes. You may think of him with eight, four or, two hands.

Bhujanga-mekhalam Devam Agnivarna Shiroruham.
Digambaram Kumareesham Vatuk-akhyam Mahabalam.

This is the second purest visualization. It is Rajasic in nature. The supremely powerful god Bhairava is like a nude boy (the real meaning of Digambara has been explained above), who is wearing a thong of poisonous snakes around his waist. He is called Vatuka, as he has appeared in the form of a male child. His hair is reddish yellow like fire (usually in a top knot, or, matted locks).

Khatvangam-Asi-pasham-cha Shoolam-chaiva tatha punah.
Damarum-cha kapalam-cha Varadam Bhujagam tatha.

This verse is applicable to all forms of meditations, pure, semi-pure or, otherwise. This is a description of the weapons wielded by Vatuka Bhairava in his eight hands. Traditionally, they are counted from lower right hand of the deity upwards, ending in the lower left. Khatvaga (a long staff decorated with severed heads, ending in a club.), Asi (sword), Pash (noose, a rope made of raw energy that looks like lightning, used to ensnare the opponent.), Shoola (Trishula or, Trident, the ultimate destructive weapon. Usually Shiva and Durga weild it, to denote mastery over Triguna-s, Sattva, Rajas, Tamas.), Damaru (a hand held double drum, originally used by Shiva), Kapala (Skull bowl, probably from Brahma’s severed head), Vara-mudra (boon granting hand gesture), Bhujaga (king of snakes. The snakes slithering over shiva’s matted locks and neck are unique and have names and presiding domains.).

Each of the above is a terrible weapon that causes havoc and widespread destruction. They are capable of killing demons as well as gods, or, can cause great good.

Neel-Jeemuta-samkasham Neelanjana samaprabham.
Dangstra Karaala-vadanam nupur-angada samkulam.

This is the Tamasic form of meditation. It all depends on the mental make-up of the devotee. Any of meditation may be picked for practice, that harmonises with personal taste. Bhairava is blue-black in color that resembles the Jeemuta gem, (dark like the Kaajal Anjana applied on eyelashes). He provokes fear among the most horrendous of demons. He is extremely terrible in his wrathful form and bares his fangs. Vatuka Bhairava wears nupur, or, payal, which is a tiny belled anklet, put on both legs by dancers. Nupur emits a sweet tinkling sound when one walks. Angad is the Sanskrit name for bracelet or, armlet, hand ornaments adorning the arms of Vatuka.

Atmavarna samopeta sarameya samanvitam.
Dyatva japeth susam hrishtah sarvaan kaman-vapnuyat.

shivaa-bhoga, feeding the fox or, dog in Tantra

shivaa-bhoga, feeding the fox or, dog in Tantra

Vatuka Bhairava is the only other god, apart from Mahayogi Dattatreya, who is followed by a pack of dogs. According to the meditations given above, the dogs are either white, or, red or, black, matching the complexion of Bhairava himself. According to myths, Shiva has four dogs running around him. These are the four Veda-s in disguise. Also, in Tantra, the Goddess, or, her retinue come to the yogi in the form of a fox, or, dog, or, wolf. This animal is summonsed with proper mantras and they appear mysteriously and eat the yogi’s sacred offerings. They reveal secret events by omens for the benefit of the Tantra practitioner. This is called Shivaa-bhoga in Tantric terminology.

By reciting the above 108 names of Bhairava with devotion and contemplation, anything can be achieved in this world.

Originally translated from Apaduddhara Kalpa of Viswasara Tantra by Amitabha Chatterjee.

Kuladananda Brahmachari and Ajapa

Sri Kuladananda Brahmachari was one of the principal disciples of Sadguru (Guru who liberates his disciples from the cycle of birth and death) Sri Bijoykrishna Goswami. He achieved siddhi in Brahmacharya and devotion to the Guru. He is said to have revived a dead man once, by the power of faith in his master. He is remembered one century after his death for his great work, Sri Sri Sadguru Sanga, his day to day spiritual experiences with his master, recorded in his diaries. His samadhi/ tomb is in Puri, just opposite to the tomb of his master.
Kuladananda Brahmachari in Shiva dress, Neelkantha Vesh

Kuladananda Brahmachari in Shiva dress, Neelkantha Vesh

Here, Kuladananda-ji is shown in his usual Neelkantha Vesh (special attire, or, getup that resembles Shiva), as he ordered by his master. 108 Rudraksha beads are worn in a specific order, like x numbers in a garland, y numbers as ear-rings, z numbers in arm-lets, etc. Ash from his daily havan kunda was to be applied on the forehead, behind the neck, etc. Ash smearing was one of his daily rituals, as was hawan, yajna, nyasa parts of his sadhana. He had to remain celibate, physically and mentally. He also practiced Ajapa sadhana very seriously. He practiced pranayama, as taught by his Guruji Sri Bijoykrishna Goswami. Kuladananda Baba had the great fortune of meeting great sadhu, mahatma and sages like Sri Gambhirnath, the Mahasiddha Yogi of Gorakhpur, Baba Lokenath the godlike yogi of Baradi, Bangladesh, Mahatma Siddha Lengababa, Sri Ramdas Kathia Baba of Vrindavan, Baba Bholananda Giri (Bhola Giri) of Haridwar and many others and he received their blessings. These sages and his own Guru were like pillars of wisdom and spiritual power.
The lineage is considered important among the sadhus of India. Sri Kuladananda Brahmachari’s lineage is as follows:
(1) Sri Brahmananda Paramhamsa of Gyangunj, or, Siddhashram, situated in Tibet –> (2) Sri Bijoykrishna Goswami, who is famous all over West and East Bengal. He established his main Asram in Gendariya, Dhaka, Bangladesh –> (3) Sri Kuladananda Brahmachari.
AJAPA Practice ( a few words about his sadhana and ajapa breathing)
Ajapa means to recite the mantra with breathing, instead of using a rosary. This method is more effective than mala, or, rosary. This japa continues even when one is not consciously repeating the holy name, or, even if one is asleep, or, dreaming. God’s name gets bound with the breath and continues throughout one’s life uninterruptedly. Obviously, Kuladananda Brahmachari had to put great effort and practice for many years.

Gita and Karma

Krishna suggests his disciple Arjuna (as well as all mankind), how Karma works, how it binds us.
Your mind is your friend and your own enemy. He who has mastered his own mind, accepts feelings of  pain & pleasure, both physical and mental with the same measure of calmness. (As if his life and actions are optimally balanced)
Gita Chapter 6, Dyana-Yoga, verses 6 & 7.
gita, stevens, karma

gita, stevens, karma

This verse contains great wisdom. Let us understand the psychology and philosophy of Karma.

Hence it is said, that mind is the root cause of Bondage and Liberation. All the works we perform, all Karmas are actually mental. The physical work is just the external projection of the mind. The sense organs like eyes, ears, nose, skin, tongue, bring signals from the external environment into the brain, the mind interprets it, and then we respond to those impulses as we decide. We react through the organs of action like speech, hands, legs, sexual organ, etc. Now, all these organs are harmless tools that obey whatever order the mind issues. So, we actually create Karma (actions) through the mind, not this physical body. The mind is encased in the brain and spinal cord.

If we bring the reactions of the mind under control, we can take wise decisions and perform meritorious actions. Then the mind is our friend. If we let basic instinct and animal impulses overtake us, then we are bound to commit grave mistakes in life. This is like my own Mind acting as my Enemy. We must judge and consider, what is the right thing to do in the current situation and then act. Also, my personal opinion is, that one is much better off when he (or,  she) has made up one’s mind on the goal of life. Then half of the battle is won! In order to do so, you must have a clear idea about who you really are, what are your talents, virtues and problems. Then our actions will be more focused, and we will not be wandering aimlessly, dragging our lives along.

The picture is taken from  Sacred Calligraphy of the East-  by John Stevens. I am fond of Calligraphy. It soothes the mind, provides moral and emotional strength at some subtle level. And its very aesthetic.

Tantra is Practical Yoga – part 1

Tantra is the practical side of Yoga Theory. Yoga, as found in scriptures like Patanjali’s Astanga Yoga Sutras, Shiva Samhita, Goraksha Samhita, Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati of Gorakhnath, Gheranda Samhita, Hathayoga Pradipika of Svatmaram, etc give us the ideas of what can be achieved by the performing Yoga, what is the philosophy of Yoga. Just like in Veda, there are 2 sides like the Samhita for mantras, fire-rituals and Upanishads for theoretical meanings. But the actual practical side of yoga is found among the Tantrik Yogis. The Lotuses, or, Chakras in the central channel (Sushumna), the various other channels (nadi-s), Kundalini energy, Kula and Akula points, Kama-Kala, these things have been extensively discussed in the Tantras. But this knowledge is lying scattered among many Tantra and Yoga scriptures. The Tantra-practitioners for ages were the prominent heads of Shiva (Shaiva, Nath, Siddha, Pashupata) schools (who were either householders or, recluse yogi monks), or, Shakti (Kalikula, Yamala, Kaula, Kapalika, Sri-kula) clans (who were mostly householder yogis). They held the secrets of the innermost esoteric yogic practices, which were only handed down from the Guru (master / adept yogi) to the chosen disciples. Often the Guru-s gave this secret only to their sons/daughters, to keep the family in a position of esteem and power. The students who received these verbal instructions were venerated and begged from for revelations by multitudes of Tantriks.

Gradually, due to slackness and ignorance, deformed practices began to creep in among the lineages. Tantra is supposed to be the art and science of living in direct communion with God. But as the path of tantra began to lead away from the highest ideal of spirituality, the sincere Yogi Masters felt the need to put down their knowledge into codified text, or, Tantrik scriptures, for fear of the original knowledge getting lost with time. The main form of Tantra is almost always, the Supreme Yogi Shiva answering the questions of the Mother Goddess Parvati. Devi Parvati asks the various intricate hidden secrets of Tantric lore, from many angles, the yoga behind it, the secret syllables, or, Bija Mantras, Nyasa-s for sanctifying the human body, Kavachas (armors) to bind and protect it from malefic forces. In this way numerous Tantras came into being, containing in them the esoteric lore of the masters, in the traditional form of Shiva-Parvati dialog.

Shiva Parvati Tantra origin

Shiva Parvati Tantra origin

The main purpose of Tantra is to weave spirituality with chores and activities of daily life. Tantra doesn’t command the yogi to throw away his needs and yearnings of mundane life and go to the forest alone as a recluse. On the contrary, Tantra understands the daily human needs and sympathizes with people with lesser control over their senses. Everyone has a right to ascend the spiritual ladder, but not everyone is destined to lead a monk’s life. Tantra is more inclusive than exclusive. It envelopes a very wide range of human traits and mental structures. Hence Tantra allows one to lead a normal life and slowly include the subtleties of yogic discipline into their lives, in stages.

It should also be noted that Tantrik Masters codified the secrets with multiple layers of meaning. It means a different thing for the Yogi of a higher level, and something else for a Beginner Yogi and something crude or, unintelligible for the layman. This was done intentionally to ward off onlookers and keep the delicate things hidden. The other purpose of writing Tantra in a cryptic language was to avoid persecution and abuse of the system by unbelievers. If you don’t understand something, you cannot pin-point a technique or, call it a profanation. Tantrik yogis were severely criticized in the past centuries and sometimes punished due to their creepy behavior, or, abhorrent practices. There are several scriptural verses supporting this secretive trend. There are other verses banning, prohibiting or, cursing some Tantrik texts that were considered “not so good”.


In modern times, all kinds of ritual worship of most gods/ deities in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism are performed by following the edicts of Tantrik discipline. Some Purana-s (Myths, Legends and ancient Hindu history) admit the efficacy and validity of Tantra. It is surprising to note that the earliest masters of Yoga were also the earliest originators of Tantra. (Like Shiva, Nandinath, Parashurama, Dattatreya, Matsyendranath/ Machchendra-Nath, Goraksha/ Gorakhnath, Rishi Durvasa, Rishi Vishwamitra, Rishi Agastya, Rishi-Vyasa, Adi-Shankaracharya, etc.) As the Shiva-Shakti structure of Tantra took hold of the Hindu world of spiritual practices, and as Tantra began to yield astounding results in a very little time, it began to be copied among other clans. In this way, five principal of deities of Hindu faith had their own Tantra scriptures. Thus we have Tantras for Shiva, Shakti, Sun, Ganesha and Vishnu. Tantras created around more than 2000 years ago are lost now. The oldest among the Hindu Tantras are Bhairava and Yogini Tantras. Many of the original Hindu Tantras have been copied verse by verse into Vajrayana Buddhist pantheon. Before that, during the later Vedic stages, the Tantras were called Prayoga Shastra-s, meaning Practical Scriptures.

To be continued.(30/09/2014)