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 Will 1 - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Śāmbhavopāya (Shambhavopaya): Compendium of techniques - Part 1


 Introduction

Gabriel Pradīpaka --wrongly-written Pradipaka--, once again. I have decided to group all techniques of Śāmbhavopāya --wrongly-written Shambhavopaya-- on a series of documents (this is the first one), so that you may find them easily when necessary during your practice. Those which were included in Meditation 1 and Meditation 2 are also included here. All techniques were directly extracted from Vijñānabhairava, a celebrated Tantra in Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir. As usual, you will also find that I have written a detailed translation and explanation of every technique. Enjoy!

Important: All that is in brackets and italicized within the translation has been added by me in order to complete the sense of a particular phrase or sentence. In turn, all that is between double hyphens (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me.

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 Technique 1

घटादिभाजने दृष्टिं भित्तस्त्यक्त्वा विनिक्षिपेत्।
तल्लयं तत्क्षणाद्गत्वा तल्लयात्तन्मयो भवेत्॥५९॥
Ghaṭādibhājane dṛṣṭiṁ bhittistyaktvā vinikṣipet|
Tallayaṁ tatkṣaṇādgatvā tallayāttanmayo bhavet||59||

(The yogī) should cast (vinikṣipet) his eyes (dṛṣṭim) in the empty space (bhājane) inside a jar (ghaṭa) or any other (similar) object (ādi), leaving aside (tyaktvā) the enclosing partitions (bhittiḥ). And having getting absorbed (tat-layam... gatvā), in an instant (tatkṣaṇāt), (in that empty space) he becomes (bhavet) equal (mayaḥ) to that (void) (tad) through that (tad) absortion (layāt).

Vijñānabhairava, 59

In Śāmbhavopāya there is no support. You remain as a formless and timeless Witness to all. This is the state of your essential Self: a formless and timeless Witness. This Upāya uses some "aid" in order that you realize your true condition as a Witness. In this case, a jar or any other similar object with an empty space is being used.

The purport behind this practice is as follows: since mind takes on the form of what it perceives, if mind perceives an empty space it will also become "empty". So, you have to take a jar or a pot and cast your eyes in the empty space inside it. If you persevere, you will notice that your mind becomes gradually empty, and thus you get absorbed in the essential reality or Śiva. Very simple!

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 Technique 2

निर्वृक्षगिरिभित्त्यादिदेशे दृष्टिं विनिक्षिपेत्।
विलीने मानसे भावे वृत्तिक्षीणः प्रजायते॥६०॥
Nirvṛkṣagiribhittyādideśe dṛṣṭiṁ vinikṣipet|
Vilīne mānase bhāve vṛttikṣīṇaḥ prajāyate||60||

(The yogī) should cast (vinikṣipet) his eyes (dṛṣṭim) on a region (deśe) in which there are no trees (nirvṛkṣa), on a mountain (giri), on a wall (bhitti), etc. (ādi). When his mental (mānase) state (bhāve) is dissolved (vilīne), it will arise (prajāyate) a condition in which all fluctuations of his mind (vṛtti) have ceased to function (kṣīṇaḥ).

Vijñānabhairava, 60

When the mind is concentrated for a certain period of time on a vast vacant space, it will become like this: vacant. Mind will become that which is placed before it for a long time. And when my mind is vacant, you are able to realize your essential nature because all those confusing thoughts are gone at that moment. This technique belongs entirely to Śāmbhavopāya because there is no "ālamba" or Supporting It is truly "nirālamba" (without any support). Experience by yourself.

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 Technique 3

इच्छायामथवा ज्ञाने जाते चित्तं निवेशयेत्।
आत्मबुद्ध्यानन्यचेतास्ततस्तत्त्वार्थदर्शनम्॥९८॥
Icchāyāmathavā jñāne jāte cittaṁ niveśayet|
Ātmabuddhyānanyacetāstatastattvārthadarśanam||98||

When a desire (icchāyām) or (athavā) knowledge (jñāne) arises (jāte), (if the yogī) --with his mind (cetāḥ) one-pointed (ananya)-- fixes (niveśayet) his mind (cittam) (on that desire or knowledge) considering it (buddhyā) to be the Self (ātma), then (tatas) (he will have) a vision (darśanam) of the Truth (tattvārtha).

Vijñānabhairava, 98

Before practicing you will have to calm down your mind. Sit down with your spinal column straight and concentrate on your breathing. This simple concentration will become your mind one-pointed. An one-pointed mind is that which has been withdrawn from all objects. It is completely introverted. All these desires or knowledges arising in your mind are related to objects. So, when you can withdraw your mind from those objects, only the desire or knowledge will remain. At that time, if you consider desire or knowledge to be Yourself (the Self), you will get rid of them all. They get control of you because you exist separated from them. When you become united with desire or knowledge, they will not be able to catch you any longer, since there is nobody to be caught. You got the idea?

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 Technique 4

कामक्रोधलोभमोहमदमात्सर्यगोचरे।
बुद्धिं निस्तिमितां कृत्वा तत्तत्त्वमवशिष्यते॥१०१॥
Kāmakrodhalobhamohamadamātsaryagocare|
Buddhiṁ nistimitāṁ kṛtvā tattattvamavaśiṣyate||101||

(If the yogī) immobilizes (nistimitaṁ kṛtvā) his intellect (buddhim) when he is under the sway (gocare) of desire (kāma), anger (krodha), greed (lobha), infatuation (moha), arrogance (mada) or envy --and jealousy-- (mātsarya), that (tad) Principle (tattvam) (who is a Witness to the aforesaid mental states, alone) subsists (avaśiṣyate).

Vijñānabhairava, 101

To be under the sway of a strong emotion may be auspicious if you are intelligent enough. You should make the most of this chance. Things are moving fast in your mind and tons of energy are available if you have the right knowledge. For example, let's take the emotion known as "mātsarya". This Sanskrit term has two meanings: envy and jealousy. You surely know the feeling of jealousy: so much energy moving throughout your body and mind. It is really unpleasant and many mistakes may be made if you let this tremendous energy be extroverted (that is, if you allow jealousy to speak by your mouth or act by your entire body). You might even come to kill people if this harmful feeling gets full control of you. A real calamity indeed.

One technique to fight against this jealousy and, in fact, against all alike emotions is to immobilize your intellect by dissociating your mind from the object of this emotion. Then, you concentrate directly on the jealousy itself "without accepting it or rejecting it". You are an impartial Witness to the emotion. You act as a tortoise that withdraws all its limbs within its shell on the ocassion of a great danger. When you practice this method, all energy pertaining to jealousy will boost you, as it were, to your essential nature. You will use all that energy, which is generally projected outward, to get an additional impulse which will allow you to get to your goal --the real You--. Instead of becoming upset by these dangerous emotions, you will experience bliss. But, you must be vigilant and cautious to take advantage.

to be continued

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 Further Information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.

For further information about Sanskrit, Yoga and Indian Philosophy; or if you simply want to comment, ask a question or correct a mistake, feel free to contact us: This is our e-mail address.