#7 “12 Vowels Meditation”

#7 “12 Vowels Meditation”

Meditate successively on the twelve Sanskrit letters. First in a gross form. Then leaving that aside, in a subtle form. Then leaving that aside, in a supreme form. Finally leaving them aside, become Shiva.Verse 30, Vigyan Bhairava Tantra

The meditation given here is to help us go into the void – into silence. However, this is done in stages. Instead of directly diving into silence, we are lead there gently. This is to help us go deeper into silence.

The 12 Letters of Sanskrit

The 12 Sanskrit letters referred to are the vowels – a a, e, i, i, u, u, e, ai, o, au, am and ah. One can use the vowels of any language, particularly the language one is familiar with.

How to do this technique

  • First, look at the vowel.
  • That is what is meant by meditating on it in a gross form.
  • Next, say the vowel out loud. That is meditation in a subtle form, through sound.
  • After the sound ends, there will be a subtle vibration or feeling of the sound. Concentrate on that.
  • This is meditation in a supreme form.
  • Finally, there is silence. Meditate on that silence.
  • After this go to the next vowel, and repeat this four-stage process –
    • first look at it.
    • Then, say it out loud.
    • Then, observe the subtle vibrations or feeling as the sound ends.
    • Finally, and most importantly, meditate on the silence after the vibration ends. Spend the maximum amount of time on this stage, concentrating on the silence. Maintain awareness throughout this process. Finally leaving them aside, become Shiva.
  • There is a dual meaning here. First we are to become silent (like Shiva), and meditate on the silence. This is the last stage of the meditation practice mentioned above.

God is found in the silence. This is one of the important teachings of yoga. There are other techniques given in the text that lead us into silence. The second meaning of the line above is to become liberated. To become God, or to uncover our true nature.