VBT1 – Excerpts from Vigyana Bhairava Tantra course

Given online to course participants in a seminar organised by the Sheffield Satyananda Centre, these extracts are not from the actual course content, but from the preamble, and then Questions and Answers at the end.

Swami Nishchalananda is an expert on this text, and has made a translation with commentary that makes an excellent manual for the practice of Yoga and Tantra not only in formal seated meditation practice, but during the rest of the day.

More on the book on this website books-and-seminars, and you can get the book from Mandala Yoga Ashram https://shop.mandalayogaashram.co.uk . You may also get to attend a course, online or otherwise, with Swamiji.

What is fundamental… it’s not ordinary, it’s incredible. And it’s right here, now.

Swami Nishchalananda

In the first section of this recording, Swami Nishchalananda talks a lot about one of the key aspects of the 112 practices given in the book, being ‘Spaciousness’, which gives us the opportunity of identification with Conscious Presence.

‘Being lost in our life’s drama, we miss the most obvious fact that we are Conscious Presence’

Here’s a taster from one of the practices (Dharanas), number 76. The text is in the form of a dialogue between Shiva, (called here Bhairava), representative of Consciousness and Shakti (Bhairavi) representative of the Feminine Principle which brings all things into being. It is written with deep Intimacy.

My Beloved, thoughts do not indicate the fundamental cause and basis of everything. Moreover, they are deceptive and illusory. Thoughts do not belong to anyone. When you completely accept this, you will realise your essential nature as Shiva, Consciousness.


That ‘Thoughts do not belong to anyone‘ is an astonishing statement when you reflect on it. More on this in the book. Swamiji touches on the deceptive nature by saying, ‘We have a thought, we think it’s gospel truth, and then we discover it’s just not correct actually’. We should question the validity of our thinking.

Excerpts from the Questions and Answers that ended the seminar, included a question about the paradigm of the Koshas, ‘layers’, and how that fits with the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra. The obvious reference is to the Pranamaya Kosha, but we can relate the sudden moments of intuitive realisation coming from Vigyanamaya Kosha, and the Anandamaya Kosha being the sensation of Joy, Bliss, which is the consequence of Consciousness identifying with itself, represented by the Bindu.

Finally, a discussion of Concepts of Space, (the space in which things exist), in relation to Consciousness. ‘Space is not Conscious in itself, but space is the medium through which Consciousness expresses itself.’