Tantra

I acknowledge the picture from the Net.

Ignore the pot and focus on inner space

With body gone let mind dissolve

Be absorbed in the void of Shiva

In this 36th dharana verse of Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, Shiva uses a powerful metaphor to sum up all that he had conveyed in the previous few verses.

Shiva likens the mind body to an earthen pot. When the pot exists, the space inside and outside the pot separate on account of the earthen wall. In an empty pot, the stuff inside the pot and outside remain the same. Yet, they seem distinct and different. When the pot breaks, the stuff inside merges with what’s outside.

As long as the mid body exists, we differentiate what lies within from what lies outside. The energy of the microcosm, the mind body, remains the same as the energy of the macrocosm, the universe. However, our perception does not even extend to the macrocosm. We stay focused on the wall of the pot, the periphery.

Most of us remain unaware of both the energy within and without. We stay focused on the earthen wall, which constitutes our mind body. Our ego, the self, stays at this point, not recognizing the energy within and without, the Self. Once we recognize that energy existing in us, whether within or without, the pot breaks.

A Zen poem parallels this verse:

The bottom falls out of the pot

No water is left

No moon in the water too! 

Zen masters say: Don’t look at my finger, pointing at the moon; look at the moon!

Our mind body inclination drives us to stay at the periphery, in touch with the senses, enjoying the pleasures and recoiling from the pains. Moving beyond that periphery requires an understanding that something of great values awaits us there. Moving inwards towards the centre requires disengagement from the senses.

Hindu scriptures talk about the ghatakasa, the gross body mind body space; chidakasa, the subtle body space beyond the conscious mind body; and the mahakasa, the cosmic space of absolute reality. Ghatakasa, literally means the pot space. To go beyond the pot space, we need to break the pot!

Go with Shiva in his earlier techniques, with this understanding. As you inhale, hold, exhale and hold, during exhalation visualize breaking through the mind body into the cosmic energy space beyond. As you hold the breath post exhalation, visualize that you are now one with the cosmic energy of mahakasa, in one sense nothing and empty, and in another sense every thing and complete. Realize Shiva as you hold the breath in the void.

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