Varivasya Rahasyam 11 – Shunyas

We have been looking at VR first aMsaM. We are almost to the end part of the 1st aMsaM now. We are now look at the 3 different japakAla bhAvanAs.

avastApancaka bhAvanA – covered in the last session.
shUnya ShaTka bhAvanA – will cover in this session
sapta viShuva bhAvanA – will contemplate on it in the next session.

We might all be wondering why are these important and how is he simply stating these. What is the pramanA?

The pramAnA for these avastApancakaM, shUnyaShatkaM and sapta viShuvaMs are in yOgiNI hRudayaM – pUja sankEtAm. If you all remember, I had talked about the importance of yOgiNI hRudayaM and the different chapters within this tantric granthA. You have cakra sankEtA, mantra sankEtA, and pUjA sankEtA. In fact, the motivation to write VR for bhAskararAyA would have come from Yogini hRudayaM only. VR is his first tantric granthA. After writing, he would have still felt incomplete and wanted to give a full commentary on the entire nityAshODashikArNavA and yOgiNI hRudayA. Remember, there was already a commentary for that called dIpikA by amRutanandanAthA. But still bhAskarA felt compelled to give a commentary and that is sEtubandA – a bridge that takes you to the unknown 🙂

Now, let us look into what YH says about these bhAvanAs we were looking into.

The pUjA sankEtA in yOgiNI hRudayaM says –

शून्यषट्कं तथा देवि ह्वस्थापञ्चकं पुनः ।
विषुवं सप्तरूपं च भावयन् मनसा जपेत् ।
अग्न्यादि द्वादशान्तेषु त्रींस्त्रीन् त्यक्त्वा वरानने ॥
शून्यत्रयं विजानीयादेकैकान्तरतः प्रिये ।
शून्यत्रयात् परे स्थाने महाशून्यं विभावयेत् ।

Here, it says shUnyaShaTkaM first and then says avasthApa~jcakaM. However, bhAskararAyA reversed the order and explained avasthA pajcakaM first and then the ShUnya ShaTkaM. He does not provide any reason why he changed that order but I have my own theory that I will explain a bit later.

If you look into the YH shlOkA, it says agnyAdi dvAdashAntEShu trIM trIM tvaktvA varAnanE, – from agni the remaining 12 sthAnAs, leave 3, 3. shUnya trayaM vijAnIyAt. You would get 3 shUnyAs. The top most of that is mahAshUnyA.

Here is where the confusion set in and bhAskararAyA was basically addressing the confusion in his commentary. When the YH claims to leave 3, what do they mean? Leave 3 from the top or Leave three from the bottom or three in the middle etc. He calculates the different sthAnAs for the shUnyAs based on these various assumptions and finally says all those assumptions are wrong and comes up with the 5 shUnya sthAnAs and then the mahAShuNyA at unmani.

In fact, AmRutAnandanAthA in his dIpikA commentary for Yogini hRudayaM has clearly mentioned the correct sthAnAs and bhAskarA also agrees with those only. However, in his usual analytical manner he applies various possible meanings for the YH shlOkA and finally says those other meanings cannot be right.

From a literary and research perspective, his arguments, claims and disclaims can all be enjoyed. But for practical purposes, what we need to know is these 6 shUnyAs are in the following sthAnAs –

rEphaM, bindu, rOdhini, nAdAntaH, and vyApikA.

Now, even though he has established this well, I had problems in visualizing this even after 3 or 4 reading of VR. My problem was, when you have bindu, rOdhini, etc as states, distinct and vivid and can be experienced. In fact, the previous shlOkAs clearly state the form, color, etc for these states, how can you claim that to be a shUnyA. Remember, anything above the bindu state, there is absolutely no literature. You are at the total mercy of the GurumanDalam only for guidance. So I struggled for several years on how can a state suddenly become a shUnyA? It is not possible. At the same time, there are two great mahAns – amRutAnandanAdA from kashmIRa and bhAskararAyA from dakShiNA dESa both claiming the same thing. So this has to be true and they must have experienced this and what was I missing. It was not an easy thing to get hold of.

Again with the Grace of the GurumaNDalam, it hit me that this whole thing is japakAlA bhAvaNA. So, it is such a simple statement and I totally got confused about it. It simply says that you visualize only and does not claim that it does not exist. It simply states to visualize the shUnyA at that state. YH does not say the state doesn’t exist. Once this understanding settled in, it became must easier to visualize.

I have given my visualization pattern in the handout. It may not make sense to several of you now. But whenever it does in the future, atleast you will know what it is and how to do it.

Now, I still had the lingering question on why did bhAskarA change the order from YH. YH asked us to visualize the shUnya ShatkaM first and then the avasthA pancakam. But why did bhAskarA change it. I was then contemplating on what was wrong with YH’s order in the first place? Again it is only because of the Grace of GurumanDalam the answers were gained. By the way, when I say by the grace of the GurumaNDalam I got the answer, it also means that to even think of that question itself you need the Grace. Without the seed called question how can an answer sprout?

We all know that everything that has been manifested is from that one prakAsha bindu. From that bindu, this whole manifestations happened in various dimensions. From the space dimension, the first thing that happened is the space. The space is – manDalaM, AnDaM, ambalaM, vEli, vyOmA, or shUNyaM. However you want to call it, it is this mahAvyOmaM. The great space – outer or inner is a topic for a different day. But a great spAce. Everything else then came out from this space only. Even if you consider the astronomy, it is the space that is manifesting everything that exist. Everything starts from the dark space and merges within that space only. So, YH was right in its order by stating the shUnyaMs first and then the manifestation. Then why did bhAskararAyA change it? BhAskarA’s purpose was to explain. This whole VR is to explain the various dimensions of manifestation and he feeds it to us like little kids. He understands that it is difficult for beginners to contemplate that everything manifested from the space. Instead it is easy to contemplate that there is space in between. So, for our own benefit, due to his akhaNDa karuNA, he reveresed the order to explain it for us.

Perfect answer and that cleared my doubt. But then, I got another question. where is then the relationship? avastAs and shUnyAs? The shlOkAs didn’t even talk about any relationship between them?

It is for our own contemplation. Just the order was enough. I have always explained to you all that there is this split second space/time between the avastAs and if you can catch hold of that, then you experience the Atman. I went into detail in the last session about how Atman is the Least common denominator and by eliminating the various faculties that act at various avasthAs, you end up being with Atman at the turiAtItA state. The space between those avastAs are the shUnyAs.

Neither YH or VR talks about this visualization but I felt that it was important to establish this relation. So, several years ago, when I was able to successfully experience the avastApancaka bhAvanA with hrIM-kAraM, I jotted down how the shUnyAs would fit into this visualization method. First we start from the space- the shUnyA, then we are in the jAgrat avastA, then shUnyA, then svapnA, then shUnyA, then suShupti, then shUnyA, then turiyA, then mahAshUnyA, and then turiyAtItA. So we have the 6 shUnyAs and the 5 avastAs in this method. I then integrated the hrIM-kArA rEphaM to unmaNi for the avastAs into this visualization technique and it beautifully fitted in well.

The thread that we talked about in the last session in the mAlA, is basically the shUnyA here. How can shUnyA be the Atman? It cannot be. Atman is not the shUnyA. Atman is the foundation on which the mahAvyOma exists. But before the Atman gets realized, the shUnyA is experienced.

bhauddhA mathaM stops with this shUnyA only and doesn’t extend itself to the mahAbindu. That doesn’t mean that the experience is wrong. The experience at this mahAvyOmA or the mahAshUnyA state itself is a great anubhavaM. But you cannot claim that to be an aTmAnubhUtI.

mahAperiyavA has talked about this in one of his lectures. I listened to this several several years ago. So don’t know where this is in Deivathin KuraL. May be Mahesh or others can give pointers to that. In that session, mahAperiava would be talking about this state of mahAbindu using vibhUti as the analogy. I cannot explain concepts like mahAperiava. But I will attempt to give a gist of it. In the dvaita mode, we see the entire manifestation as jagat. We know that everything that we know of as tangible can be consumed by agni. So if you assume that we feed the entire jagat into agni, what would be the result? Ash- sAmbal. It would be black in color. If you then feed this ash also again in agni, what would remain? Would it vanish? No! If you keep on feeding the remainder into the agni constantly, you still will get a residue – a white color vibhUti. You can use this analogy to describe the vibhUti mahimA by relating that to the brahmaN. Here, I am going to use this analogy to talk about the mahAbindu state. Even though everything appears to be a manifestation of the mahAvyOmA or the mahAshUnyA, it also has the AdhAraM on the brahman. It is She, parAbhaTTArikA who is nirAdhArA – not the shUnyA. But you would 100% have to go through the ShUnyA experience to reach the mahAbindu. It cannot be escaped. Those who have even a little bit of success with meditation would vouch for this shUnyA. This space within is just vast. Huge, never ending. Those who have travelled there would know that it is NOT hallucination, it is not visualization, it is not imagination, it is not a bhAvana – it is real. Just as real as you see the physical space.

With that note, we will jump into VR and see what Bhaskara has described.

While bhAskarA took 5 shlOkAs to talk about the avastApancaka bhAvanA, he compressed everything into 1.5 shlOkAs for the ShatshUnya bhAvanA. So in this session we will only look into 1.5 shlOkAs.

अवस्थापञ्चकं निरूप्य शून्यषट्कं निरूपयति –

After establishing the avasthApajcakaM, let us understand the shUNYa ShaTkaM.

तार्तीयीके रेफस्थाने बिन्दौ च रोधिन्याम् ।
नादान्त व्यापिकयोश्चन्द्रक तुल्यानि पञ्च शून्यानि ॥ ४२ – 42

tArtIyakE – The third kUTaM’s
rEphasthAnE – in the rEpha position
bindau ca – and bindu position
rOdhinyAM – in rOdhinI position
nAdAnta – in the nAdAnta position
vyApikayOH – in the vyApikA position
candraka tulyAni – equivalent to the eyes in the peacock feather
pa~jca shUnyAni – are five shUnyAs.

उन्मन्यां नीरूपं षष्ठं चिन्त्यं महाशून्यम् ।

unmanyAM – In the uNmanI
nIrUpaM – without any form
ShaShThaM – sixth
cintyaM mahAshUnyaM – think of mahAshUnyaM

चन्द्रको मयूरपिच्छाग्रगतं चन्द्राकारं शून्यम् ।

candrakA – means?

mayUra picCha – peacock feather
agra gataM – there are several meanings for agra – like first, top, tip, point etc. But I think in this context, the best meaning will be prominent
candrAkAraM – like a moon.
shUnyaM – is shUnyaM.


The shUnyaM appears like the prominent moon in the peocock feather. If you see a peacock feather, you will see the eye in the middle which will look like a moon. But why do they have to compare the eye in the peacock feather rather than compare the moon itself directly? Because the peacock feather eye is dark blue in color representing the shUnyaM, the space, the emptiness in the middle.

Why peacock feather? If you look the grand beauty of the peacock feather when it is dancing, you see all the various colors and the vastness of its spread and the vibrancy of its manifestation etc. But you really observe, the beauty of the feather is not in the strings but the eye. That is the true beauty. In addition to that, if you keenly observe, it the eye that the core which holds everything intact.

If you see the arrangement of the feather, you can see an eye and the strings coming out and getting manifested and then again another eye on the top of that and again some manifestation etc. This arrangement is the analogy that is used.

तदुक्तं स्वच्छन्द्रसंग्रहे – “शिखिपक्षचित्ररूपैर्मण्डलैः शून्यपञ्चकम् । ध्यायतोऽनुत्तरे शून्यं परं व्योम तनुर्भवेत् ॥” इति ।

This is also referred in svacCandra saMgrahaM.

“shikhi pakSha citra rUpaiH maNDalaiH shUnya pa~jcakaM. dhyAyatO anuttarE paraM vyOma tanurbhavEt”

shikhi = peacock. Note: Lord MurugA is also called shikhi vAhanA.
pakSha = feather
citra rUpaIH – like painting
maNDalaiH – maNDalAs
shUnyapancakaM – The five shUnyAs
dhyAyatO – one who meditates
anuttarE – firmly
shUnyaM – on the shUnyA
paraM vyOma – the great space
tanurbhavEt – body shines

The body of those who meditate of the fine shUnyAs by imagining them like the peacock feather painting, shines like the great space – prakAsha bindu.

“अग्न्यादिद्वादशान्तेषु त्रींस्त्रींस्त्यक्त्वा वरानने । शून्यत्रयं विजानीयादेकैकान्तरितं प्रिये । शून्यत्रयात् परे स्थाने महाशून्यं विभावयेत् ।” इति पूजासंकेते रेफादिमहाबिन्द्वन्तेषु द्वादशसु स्थानेषु मध्ये त्रयं त्रयं त्यक्त्वा, एकैकमन्तरितं मध्यस्थितं शून्यत्रयं विजानीयात् इति ।

अर्थात् अर्धचन्द्रशक्तिमहाबिन्दुषु शून्यत्रयं तदूर्ध्वं चतुर्थमित्यर्थः ।

THis means,ardha candra, shakti, and mahAbindu places the 3 shUnyAs will be there. On top of that, the last one will be there.

अथवा, आदावन्ते च त्रयं त्रयं त्यक्त्वा मध्यस्थेऽर्धचन्द्रादिओयापिकान्तषट्के एकैकव्यवधानेन शून्यत्रयं तत्परे चतुर्थमित्यर्धचन्द्रनादशक्तिषु त्रीणि शून्यानि व्यापिकायां महाशून्यमिति वार्थः यद्यपि स्पष्टं प्रतीयते ।

On a different interpretation, leaving the first three and the last three and considering the middle 6 from ardhacandra, the three shUnyAs would be in ardhacandran, nAdaM, and shakti and the mahAshUnyaM in vyApikA.

तथापि “शून्यषट्कं सुरेशानि अवस्थापञ्चकं पुनः । विषुवत्सप्तरूपं च भावयन्मनसा जपेत् ॥” – इत्युपक्रमविरोधादन्यथार्थः ।

However, YH clearly states shUnya ShatkaM. So how can there be only three shUnyAs?

तथा हि – अग्न्यादितिभिन्नं पदं शून्यत्रयेऽन्वेति ।

Similarly, When they YH says agnyAdi, it means it is included and starting from.

अन्तशब्दश्चरमावयववाची ।

It also talks about the end.

अर्थाच्चरमहृल्लेखासंबन्धिषु द्वादशस्ववयवेषु हकाराद्युन्मनान्तेषु, अग्न्यादि रेफमारभ्य शून्ययोस्त्रयं शून्यषट्कं विजानीयात् ।

This hRIM kAraM has 12 sthAnAs from hakAraM to unmani. Within this, from rEphaM, 3 shUNyas or 6 ShUnyAs should be visualized.

तच्च न रेफादिसान्तत्येन, किं त्वेकैकव्यवधानेनेति ।

Since there are 12 sthanas and we have to get 6 out of these, we simply can look at the alternate sthanas to get it.

अत आह – एकैकान्तरितमिति ।

ekaika – means one by one

ekaikAntara here means every other one.

प्रथमशून्यस्य रेफस्थानीयत्वे कथिते व्यवधानं अर्थात् हकारेकारार्धचन्द्रनादशक्तिसमनाभिः षड्भिरिति सिध्यति ।

If the first shUnyA is considered at rEphA, then the separation (vyavadhAnaM) will be at hakAra, ardhacandra, nAda, shakti, and samAnA.

तदेवाह – त्रींस्त्रींनिति ।

This is what is three and three.

द्विगुणितांस्त्रींस्त्यक्त्वेत्यर्थः ।

When YH said three, three, it did not mean three. It meant 6. It meant addition.

शून्यत्रयात् शून्ययोस्त्रयस्य, तत्षट्कस्येत्यर्थः ।

So when YH said shUnyatrayAt, it is really the 3*2 = 6.

“सुपां सु —-” इति सुपो ङस आदादेशः । – He is referrring to some grammar here to prove his point.
निर्धारणे षष्ठी ।
तेषां मध्ये परे चरम उन्मन्यां महाशून्यमिति । – At uNmani, we establish the mahAshUnyaM which is the sixth shUnyA.
एतद्विभानस्य परमरहस्यत्वादित्थं क्लेशेनोक्तिरित्यन्वयितव्यम् ।

Why did this kind of confusion happen? He answers that this is paramarahasyaM. Hence as usual tantra shAstra throws in some confusion so that these can only be revealed through gurumukhaM and not by reading some literature.