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Vijnana Bhairava – A Yoga Text Of Shaivagama

Vijnana Bhairava is an old work containing the principles of Shaivagama. It contains 112 types of Yoga, which are mentioned as ‘Dharana’ in the book. It is the only book which describes almost all the ways of approach to the Ultimate Reality. Yogas described in the book are based on the principles of the non-dualistic ‘Shaiva Philosophy’. According to Sivopadhyaya, a commentator, the number of verses in this book is 163. However another commentator, Ananda Bhatta, puts it at 161.

Three authentic commentaries are available for this book. One of them is composed by the celebrated commentator Kshemaraja, which is, however, incomplete. The other two commentaries by Shivopadhyaya and Ananda Bhatta are complete.

Vijnana Bhairava is in the form of a dialogue between Bhairava and Bhairavi. The title of the book Vijnana Bhairava is explained thus – Bhairava means the divine power which undertakes the projection, maintenance and withdrawal of the universe. Vijnana means self realization, which it the very nature of Bhairava. So, ‘vijnana bhairava’ means the ‘realization of the supreme reality’ which is the cause of the projection, maintenance and the withdrawal of the universe.

In Shaivaagama, the means of communication with the ‘ultimate reality’ are classified under four titles – Anupaya, Sambhavopaya, Saktopaya and Anavopaya. These are the techniques leading to the attainment of the Ultimate Reality.

In conclusion, Vijnana Bhairava says this – ‘When the mind, the intellect, the vital energy and the empirical – these four – dissolve, then that state of Bhairava is attained.’