Today is the 8th day of Durga Puja. We Bengalis call it simply as “pujo” which means “worship.” It is the biggest festival for Bengalis across the world. In the SF Bay area, several temples have puja. I will attend a few tomorrow and have some bhog. For now, here’s something I recently learned about from a friend on the East coast: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra.
What’s the connection between Durga puja and Vigyan Bhairav Tantra? The connection is Bhairavi:
Bhairavi is a fierce and terrifying aspect of the Goddess virtually indistinguishable from Kali, except for her particular identification as the consort of the Bhairava.
. . . Bhairavi is seen mainly as the Mahakali in the Durga Saptashathi version of slaying Shumbha and Nishumbha.
Shiv is Bhairav. The Vigyan Bhairav Tantra is a dialog between Bhairav and Bhairavi. She asks the questions and Bhairav answers laying out 112 meditation techniques. Rajneesh aka Osho has an extensive commentary explaining what it all means. Here’s the wiki enty:
Vigyan bhairav tantra is an ancient treatise containing 112 techniques of meditation. If translated in English this is what it means: Vigyan = science; Bhairav = another name of the Hindu god Shiva; Tantra = technique.
The 112 techniques of meditation have been presented in the treatise in the form of seeds or formulas whose meaning if known can direct the practitioner towards a particular meditation method or technique. It begins with a conversation between Shiva and his consort Parvati in which Parvati asks of Shiva:
O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
What constitutes seed?
Who centers the universal wheel?
What is this life beyond form pervading forms?
How may we enter it fully,
above space and time,
names and descriptions?
Let my doubts be cleared!
Instead of giving her a direct reply, Shiva tells her about meditation techniques which will lead her to the experiences – experiences that will be the reply to her questions. The most detailed commentary on recent times on Vigyan bhairav tantra has been by Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) which was published as the Book of Secrets.
Here is a nice offering to Devi Durga, or Shakti, Narayani, Gauri, Mahakali, etc.