Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Sartre & the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra
I've been working on a text piece for 3 months. It's my most ambitious piece so far, and it's called Shoonya: Vijnana Bhairava Tantra from the Torah, The Book of Deuteronomy. Shoonya is the Sanskrit word for void; mental vacuum; the state of complete nothingness. In this text, it is described as the precursor to enlightenment. VBT is an ancient tantric text, in which Shiva and Shakti, who are intertwined in a nondual state of oneness, separate to have a conversation about entering the state of Bhairava, which is none other than the Void itself. Shiva tells his lovely wife the many ways by which one can enter the Void, and from there enter into enlightenment.
I've also been reading Nausea by Sartre, the classic existentialist novel which talks about nothingness...pointlessness...emptiness. The parallels are fascinating. The existentialists were so close to enlightenment! Except that they didn't have much need for that kind of thing. The difference between a Buddhist and an existentialist, from what I can gather, is in their predisposition toward the Void. The Buddhist enters it with hope; she knows that it - Bhairava - is a temporary state, and on the other side of it is bliss, bliss, bliss. The existentialist enters it and abandons hope. He bucks up and faces the fact that there is no bliss to be had, no God to be found, and relies on his own resources to create meaning amidst the meaninglessness.
Noble paths, both.
I'm currently wallowing in the Void, with an occasional run-in with bliss. Not much fun, and not a recommended way to spend your summer vacation. The Bhairava Tantra has been a great teacher. So has Sartre.