TantraI acknowledge this picture from the Net.

In this 37th dharana verse from Vigyana Bhairava Tantra Shiva says:

Eyes fixed on treeless rock

With no support mind dissolves

Experience the stillness of Shiva

Over the next few verses, Shiva offers simple techniques to stop the mind. Each one of us experiences differently through how we use our senses and derive our mind maps. As any one familiar with Neuro Linguistic Programming knows, the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic abilities of people vary and we use one of these as our default primary sensory mode.

Shiva knew this long ago. He provides techniques for different people with different sensory abilities. The technique in this verse caters to those among us who prefer the visual mode. Our mind functions on sensory inputs.  The sensory feed is the nutrient of our mind. Without sensory inputs, mind starves and stills. Yogic techniques of pratyahara and dharana work using this truth. Sensory inputs, in turn, depend on objects. With no object to see, hear or feel, no information goes to the mind.

In Hindu scriptures, the part of the mind that feeds on the senses is called the manas. When manas starves without sensory nutrients that arise from objects that excite the senses, no memories arise in another part of the mind called chitta, no ripples arise in our ego, the ahamakara, which filters the sensory inputs based on its conditioning, to allow the superior intellect, buddhi, to issue commands. With all these four primary mind constituents inactive, mind stills.

The key is the absence of an object for the senses to work on. So, Shiva uses different techniques using this central principle.

In this dharana, he asks us, those of us visually inclined, to look at an objectless terrain, such as a treeless rock. The energy behind the sense of vision has nothing to work on. No tangible information is available to pass on to the manas part of the mind. In the absence of inputs, mind weakens, stills and dissolves.

The vision that arose in me as I contemplated on this verse, is the one that I reproduce from the Net. It is Shiva’s abode, the Arunachala Hill, in Thiruvannamalai in the South of India. This was the home of Ramana Maharishi. The vision of Arunachala, and very certainly being in its presence, stills the mind. Perhaps Shiva had this in mind when he instructed Devi through this dharana.

Within a short period, after repeated attempts and failure to find some thing for the sense of sight to focus on and report back, the mind loses its hold. It retreats into stillness. This is the state of Shiva.