VBT4 – Conscious Presence – Deepening

Continuing the series of discourses on, and practices from, the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, given by Swami Nishchalananda to the Sheffield Yoga School. This is one of Swamiji’s areas of expertise; he has written an erudite translation and commentary on the text, see https://swami-nishchalananda.com/books-and-seminars/ . Indeed his lineage and training in India is strongly rooted in Kashmir Shaivism and the Advaita tradition.

The session recorded below is practical, as were the previous two, and gives an outline of the practice followed by a guided meditation on that practice. The latter part is a question and answer session.

Swamiji starts with the last practice from the text, dharana number one hundred and twelve, which states,
‘Everything gets revealed in dhyana’. We know the word ‘dhyana’ from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as meaning ‘Meditation’; here he translated the word as ‘An intuitive flash which transcends our conceptual thinking’ and continues, ‘Consciousness is the intelligence that permits this kind of illuminative experience’.

The dharana concludes with the statement,
‘Reflect that the ultimate nature of the knower and the known are not different’.
This is clearly impossible to grasp with the intellect, you can’t just think your way into such a realisation. So, Swamiji returns to the Dwadashanta, that is the apparent field surrounding the body at approximately twelve fingers-width (which can also be considered as the pranamaya kosha or aura field, to use different concepts). Using that to establish a different perspective, the practice then returns to a reflection on the dharana.

Swami Nishchalananda next chooses dharana number two,
‘Be aware of the breath as it turns from out to in, and again as the breath turns from in to out’.
In the awareness of the breath in the practice, he uses the heart space as the inner space for breath to come in to, and the space beyond the dwadashanta for the breath to be exhaled to.

There are many dharanas using the breath as basis for a practice. Swamiji describes these dharanas as ‘Earthy’, as opposed to some of the more rarefied reflective dharanas.

Please enjoy this hour and a half long session; the practices and Swamiji’s insights have the potential to deepen our perception of Consciousness at the simple heart of our being.