Vijñānabhairava-tantra ślokas 44-45 meditation on emptiness
at the beginning, at the end, and in the heart
“He should meditate on the emptiness above at the same time as meditating on the emptiness below. By means of the energy which is independent of the body, his mind achieves emptiness.”
पृष्टशून्यं मूलशून्यं युगपद् भावयेच् च यः।
शरीरनिरपेक्षिण्या शक्त्या शून्यमना भवेत्॥ ४४॥
pṛṣṭaśūnyaṁ mūlaśūnyaṁ yugapad bhāvayec ca yaḥ |
śarīranirapekṣiṇyā śaktyā śūnyamanā bhavet|| 44 ||
“He should meditate steadily on the emptiness above, the emptiness below and the emptiness in the heart, simultaneously. Because he is free of thought, the state of freedom arises as well.”
पृष्टशून्यं मूलशून्यं हृच्चून्यम् भावयेत्स्थिरम्।
युगपन् निर्विकल्पत्वान् निर्विकल्पोदयस् ततः॥ ४५॥
pṛṣṭaśūnyaṁ mūlaśūnyaṁ hṛccūnyam bhāvayetsthiram |
yugapan nirvikalpatvān nirvikalpodayas tataḥ || 45 ||
These two very similar verses are set within a series of verses which speak of emptiness: v. 39 ‘emptiness’ (śūnya); v. 40 ‘emptiness’ (śūnya); v. 41 ‘space’ (vyoman); v. 42 ‘emptiness’ (śūnya); v. 43 ‘void’ (viya); v. 46 ‘emptiness’ (śūnyatā); v. 47 ‘void’ (viya); v. 48 ‘nothing’ (na kiñcid); v. 49 ‘vacuity’ (ākāśa).
These two śloka 44-45 are concerned with emptiness in three different locations, base, summit and heart.
What is the void? It cannot be conceived. It cannot be described except in negatives. It is without ambition, without desire, without attachment, without craving, without any wish to control. It is free from all constraints, without obstacles, independent, not relying on anything. It is open, welcoming.
This emptiness is perceived at the very base (mūla) and at the very height (pṛṣṭa), at the beginning and at the end. The meditator thinks of himself as dependant on nothing in the past and nothing in the future. Likewise, the heart is open, without preconception or prejudice, completely ready, allowing, welcoming, giving room, and giving permission. The meditation on these foci is done simultaneously (yugapad).
Although he seems bound in so many ways, due to his bodily condition (śarīra), he is not actually constrained. As the commentary on the Tantrāloka states “I am not, nor am I another; I am only śaktis”. (na-aham asmi naca-anyo ‘sti kevalāḥ śaktayas-tv-aham Qt 22d.1).
As a result, all pours forth spontaneously. Rituals and actions are performed with great ease, without fear or anxiety, for they spring naturally, uninhibited. Speech too comes from hidden places, not from the mind, free flowing, without inhibitions, and so all the more real. The sense of self is completely transparent, abiding in the present, without ego, present to all, free of self-image, masks and camouflage.
All this occurs because of śakti (śaktyā), the divine energy. No obstacle has been placed in her path; she can act freely, unconstrainedly, unpredictably. As a result the practitioner is liberated, with the attitude of a child who is perfectly free, without obligations, at play in the world.
This is liberation but at the same time it is enjoyment since all is given to the one who has nothing, is nothing. All is a surprise. All comes as gift; all is grace.
The very fact that these various places are meditated on at the same time means that a space has been set between them. Not only are the various foci empty, but also the space between is empty. There is no object of attention.
The mind becomes empty (śūnyamanā), unconstrained and unconstraining, without preconceptions (nirvikalpatvān) and openhearted, ready for whatever may happen. As a result, the mind is free of all limitations (nirvikalpodayas).