Sunday, July 12, 2009
Bhairava's Greatest Hits
Tonight I finished an epic text. My fingers and knuckles are killing me. I'm pretty happy about completing this - ecstatic, even. I've been working on it since May, like every day, and it's part of my breath now. The working title is Shoonya: Vijnana Bhairava Tantra from the Torah (The Book of Deuteronomy). The long title hints at the process: I cut up the text from Deuteronomy with an x-acto blade, letter by letter, and pasted them to the paper that you see above to form the text of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra. There were 20,157 characters no spaces (CNS). Thus the throbbing knuckles. My longest piece prior to this was 9,410 CNS.
The Bhairava Tantra is amazing. I had no idea what I was getting into. It speaks of the void (shoonya) at the center of existence. Sometimes it's referred to as emptiness; sometimes as fullness. Shiva tells us how to find it (there are many ways), and, once located, how we may enter the void. And then he reveals the mind-blowing news: Once the void is located and entered, you realize that you're not merely in it, you ARE it. You are Bhairava. So am I. Bhairava is supreme consciousness, which is the void, which is shoonya, which is everything. There is nothing that is not Bhairava.
I was aiming to create a shape with the text that was void-like. I'm not so sure that I succeeded, and who could? What exactly does a void look like? Mine turned out to be sort of a dancing void. I went to hell and back while doing this piece, btw. But a dancing void it is, and a reasonably content one as well.
Here are a few verses from the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, which I'll call Bhairava's Greatest Hits:
"If one concentrates on the body as a void, even for a moment, with the mind free from thought, then one attains thoughtlessness and verily becomes that form of void known as Bhairava."
"What people of little understanding believe to be purity is neither pure nor impure to one who has experienced Shiva. Nirvikalpa, or freedom from vikalpas [thoughts], is the real purification by which one attains happiness."
"By contemplating on Bhairava as all that which is void and cannot be known, grasped, or imagined, at the end realization [enlightenment] takes place."
And so on. By now I'm sure you've gone to Amazon and overnighted your very own copy of the Bhairava Tantra. Or maybe you're all about Deuteronomy. Now there's a page-turner. Well, time to rest my poor knuckles. If you have any champagne in the house, drink a glass for me, and say a toast to Bhairava, King of the Void.