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  • Writer's pictureChaitanya Prabhu

What is Sadhana all about?

If you ask Google Translate, it will say Meditation. It will do the same for several Sanskrit words because English does not have the equivalent words for the different aspects or techniques of meditation.


woman climbing a wall
Knowledge through Action

Sadhana is a way of life that embodies constant awareness. It means being constantly aware of one’s actions, among other things. Does this process only refine the body, or does it go outside of the body? Some questions Vigyana Bhairava Tantra answers include how perfection is achieved through Sadhana and what level of perception such a person’s attainment would be.


Knowing through Doing

Instead of explanations, Vigyana Bhairava Tantra presents guidelines to help you find out. Each of these practices stands alone and does not necessarily follow one another. They are self-sustaining in their own right and could differ from what occurred before or after them. Sometimes, they supplement each other, though they never contradict each other.


Those who indeed pursued Sadhana have observed various levels on which refinement occurs. Even at the physical level, there could be several refinements. What can be said regarding the kinds of perfection existing on mental and supra-mental planes? A simple example is physical detoxification. You don’t have to go on a diet of spinach and apple to achieve bodily “purification.”


According to Tantra, its practices embody the three aspects of divinity: omnipotence (the power to do anything), omnipresence (the ability to be everywhere), and omniscience (the capacity to know everything). These qualities can be developed in the highest form of reality, and they are possible when one refines inner consciousness.


You are perfecting yourself in all forms! That is the way of Sadhana. Its subject matter is the mind, but its objects are many, viz., the many humans who choose to practice it.

Vigyana Bhairava Tantra is a metaphysical text. According to it, knowledge in this world is divided into two types: para knowledge, i.e., transcendental knowledge, and apara knowledge, or worldly knowledge. The Book teaches you how to practice to understand yourself metaphysically.


This type of knowing is specialized because it cannot happen with words alone; it must occur within our very being through occult practices. No words can fully explain the transcendental experience, hence the techniques or pathways to help you experience these yourself.


Instead, several practices, one after another, describe a hundred and twelve different ways of having that transcendent experience. These practices cover so much ground that every sadhaka must have their practice based on their inclination and temperament. Tantra stands alone as a unique philosophy. Tantra's founders analyzed the principles used to experience this and applied them to every facet of man’s personality.


Sadhana Knowledge is Sacred -- Anyone Can Follow It

Who are you? Whether sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic, Tantra is intended to bring you closer to enlightenment. This is the uniqueness of Tantra. Instead of attempting a rebirth, it tells your way forward even as a saint or sinner, religious or atheist, enlightened or ignorant, sensual or abstemious, emotional or intellectual, and attached or detached.


Even if your mind is full of anger, jealousy, hatred, delusion, doubt, and hypocrisy, do not wait for the day when these qualities will be conquered, but start where you are now. Utilize the very same forces that make you suffer to increase your awareness. No other philosophy in the world has ever said this! Other systems say that to tread the spiritual path, you must be good, kind-hearted, noble, charitable, passionate, and so on. Only then can you be admitted into this path leading to enlightenment.


Tantra accepts all people for Sadhana as they are without demanding hard work from them.

Can an ordinary person overcome anger, jealousy, or hatred? No! But all religions ask them to do so. That’s why we spend our entire lives trying to conquer our base nature, which leaves us floundering because we cannot achieve it.


The Maha Atma says that duality forms the basis of existence in everything throughout space. He means that creation comes with dual principles, including night and day, sun and moon, love and hate, cruelty and compassion, heat and cold, and birth and death, which have existed since immemorial. One cannot exist without the other.


Can one deny oneself while embracing another, suppress one yet express another, defame one visualizing another? Love is an integral part of man, just as much as anger. They both belong within some part of human beings. If we look at them like that, how can they be omitted? Tantra does not also support suppression because it results in significant abnormalities and mental problems.


We live in a sick society today because man has been suppressed by his environment. To make a healthy society, one should not suppress the base instincts but transform them through self-awareness. Tantra awakens the seer within you.

 

Only human beings have this potential. All other life forms are governed by instinct.

Humans act but simultaneously know that they are performing it. Although humans possess such potential, they have not yet awakened them all. Most people live their lives unconsciously, unaware of their actions, which are done mechanically and thus instinctual, just like an animal’s would be, for instance.


For example, only some people can remember where their awareness was in a heated situation. Was it on the event or on the emotions that it generated? Most get caught up in the event and need more awareness of themselves. Later, if asked about it, they may even deny their anger.

 

Awareness

There must be more awareness of the twenty-four hours of work. To be aware of it is to witness what you do, say, think, and feel. It doesn't matter what activity you are engaged in; some part of you is watching over it. Through this awareness, you can understand yourself better. It is as if, through this process, one comes to know oneself, his responses, and his feelings, which are the core of ourselves.


elephants embracing
Embrace

Notably, Tantra believes that a man’s best accomplishment is self-realization. Although several philosophies and religions state that a man needs to know himself, they aim at transforming him, opposite to Tantra, which seeks to raise consciousness by creating awareness. What kind of thing is this awareness? Is it different from mind and intellect? Where does it reside? How does it get awakened? Is there something inherent in man? Tantra deals with the problems mentioned above and offers some reasonable solutions.

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