In the luscious language of Sanskrit as it was
chanted a millennium ago:
And the Karaoke version:
bhayaa–sarvam ravayati sarvadah vi-aa-pakah a-khile
iti bhairava–shabdasya santatah ud-chaaranaat shivah
Looking in the Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, we see an intensity of meaning in the thirty-two
syllables of this verse:
Bhaya - fear, alarm, dread, terror, danger. Sarva - all, every,
everyone. Rava - a roar, yell, cry, howl (of animals, wild
beasts), song, singing (of birds), hum, humming of bees,
clamor, outcry, thunder, any noise or sound (the whizz
of a bow, the ringing of a bell.) Sarvada - always, at all
times, forever. Vyapaka - pervading, diffusive, comprehensive, widely spreading or extending, spreading everywhere.
Akhila - without a gap, complete, whole, completely.
Iti - like this. Bhairava - frightful, terrible, horrible, formidable, the name of a form of Shiva, in music, the
name of a raga, terror or the property of exciting terror. Shabda - sound, noise, voice, tone, note, a word,
speech, language, the right word, correct expression,
the sacred syllable OM. Santata - stretched or extended along, spread over, held or linked or woven or sewn
or strung together, eter;nal, continually, uninterruptedly, incessantly. Uccar - to go upwards, ascend, rise
(as the sun), issue forth, go forth, to let the contents (of
anything) issue out, to empty the body by evacuations.
Shiva - "in whom all things lie," auspicious, propitious,
gracious, favorable, benign, kind, benevolent, friendly, happy, fortunate, happiness, welfare, liberation, emancipation.
The vibration of fear has inside it a call to awakening:
“Heads up, be alert, possible situation here, get ready to
respond.” One gift of fear is that it alerts us to situations
that could endanger our survival or shorten our lives. Don’t
step off the curb yet, the cars are going too fast! Fear alerts
us to take appropriate action in the instant. Fear can also
prompt us to take long-range action, to be better prepared
in the future. Fear can remind us that life is short and we
had better get a move on, make sure we are on our path.
The goal of spiritual practice is to cherish every moment of
this precious life.
The yoga tradition offers thousands of techniques for be-
ing at home in ourselves, settling into our skin and inhabit-
ing our bodies. We are faced with the task of finding those
one or two practices that work so well for us that we can
rely on them to get us through tough times in our inner
world and outer worlds.
What helps you to feel so safe in yourself that you can face
your fears and let them melt away into a buzz of aliveness
and excitement? The first skill of meditation is to find a
technique you love so much that you want to practice it.
The second skill is to welcome everything that arises, every experience, every emotion, every fear. In this way, your
emotions and reflexes become finely tuned instruments to
help you survive and thrive.
If you notice fears arising during meditation, welcome
them. As they say, if you can feel it, you can heal it. Let
your meditation practice be as soothing and comforting as
possible, so that you have the resources to let your fears
and anxieties dissolve. Whatever arises during meditation,
arises in order to be brought into balance, integrated, and
healed. Part of the body’s natural healing response is that
during a time of relaxation, such as meditation, the body-mind system reviews each event when fear was triggered.
When this happens during your practice, just abide there
and let the fear wash away. Become so relaxed as you move
through your day that if you feel a tingle of fear, you know
it’s a signal, not just noise in your system.
Everyone has their own favorite way of being reminded
of infinity and feeling at home here in the world. Some
people can look out over the ocean and have an immediate
sense of vibrant peace. This vibration is almost a sound,
not quite audible, and is their personal way of experiencing shabda, the sacred sound, the OM permeating nature.
Others have that experience in the mountains, desert, or
gazing up at the night sky and seeing into space. Some find
a resonant sacred vibration in kirtan, or formal meditation
practices. There is no one name of God, or form of OM,
that appeals to everyone. AMEN says it for some people,
and HALLELUJAH! for others. We each have to go on a
quest to find the Secret Name that speaks to us, that reminds us of where we came from and where we are going.
Dr. Lorin Roche is a meditation teacher with more than 40 years of experience and
training. He has been involved in a love affair with the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra since
1968. He has a PhD from the University of California at Irvine, where his research
focused on the language meditators use to describe their inner experiences. The Radiance Sutras, a new version of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, is available from his site.
EMAIL: LORIN@LORINROCHE.COM / WEB: LORINROCHE.COM
Join Lorin and his yogini shaktini wife, Camille Maurine,
at Esalen in Big Sur December 8-13, for a five-day
intensive with The Radiance Sutras, and 9-14 Feb for
Wild Serenity in Love.