Vigyaan Bhairav Tantra consists of 112 meditation techniques as given by Lord Shiva in answer to the question of Goddess Devi or Shakti, “What constitutes the universe and how to fully experience its reality?” These profoundly transformative meditation techniques are in popular opinion, the most revered form of Tantra. By following these meditation techniques, one may attain the highest level of consciousness. To be able to gain access to the cosmic consciousness, feel one with the Divine within, is what this Tantra practice promises to reveal if followed diligently.
Another story of the origin of the Vigyaan Bhairav Tantra is the same conversation as given above but between God Bhairava and his consort Bhairavi, the interpretation of which consists of 112 meditation techniques as given by God Bhairava. These techniques involve undivided, transcendental awareness, chanting of mantras, focusing on various centres or chakras in the body, several types of breathing exercises and breath awareness, among others. To be able to effectively utilise these techniques, one should first and foremost know which of these 112 meditation techniques is most suitable to the practitioner.
Vigyaan Bhairav Tantra is written in the Sanskrit language and is considered to be a key Tantra text of the Trika school of Kashmir Shaivism. The text of this Tantra is a Bhairavi Agama (revelation). It is a chapter from the Rudrayamala Tantra. It is a very important scripture as references made to it can be seen in the literature of Kashmir Shaivism, going to show that it was an imperative text in the monistic school of Kashmir Shaiva philosophy. Kashmiri Shaiva and Trika traditions declared Bhairava to be the Absolute Reality. So Vigyaan Bhairav Tantra literally means the knowledge to attain the highest form of reality through Tantra. The word ‘Bhairava’ is made up of three divisions of alphabets- ‘bha’, ‘ra’, and ‘va’. The three different alphabets denote different acts of God in relation to the universe He created. ‘Bha’ is the sustenance, ‘ra’ is the destruction and ‘va’ is the manifestation of the universe.
Vigyaan Bhairav Tantra was first published in 1918 in the Kashmir Series of Text and Studies. It got worldwide attention in 1957 when it was translated in English by Paul Reps in his famous book ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’.
A huge shift in the awareness of Vigyan Bhairav Tantra happened when Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, widely known as Osho spoke about Vigyan Bhairav Tantra in 1972 at his Woodlands Apartments in Mumbai. His discourses were compiled in a highly acclaimed book named “The Book of Secrets”
A lot of Indian and foreign scholars studied the Vigyaan Bhairav Tantra and based their teachings upon it. Swami Vivekananda Saraswati of Agama Yoga Thailand, Ma Ananda Sarita (also an Osho Disciple and a Tantra Master) Sanskrit scholar Lorin Roche who translated the Vigyaan Bhairav Tantra into poems called the Radiance Sutras, Laksman Joo, and countless others, in whose lives and schools of education, the deep impact of this tantric text can be seen.
Vigyaan Bhairav Tantra forms the basis of all Tantra as we know it. This is the common conception, as it introduced Tantra to the public by way of meditation techniques, and opened up a whole other realm of cosmic experiences for religious and spiritual enthusiasts.