Devi Paarvati asked Lord Shiva :
O Supreme Lord, in spite of everything that I have heard, even today my doubts are not dispelled. What is your reality, O Divine One?
Are you the power or energy contained in sound from which all the mantras have originated?
Can your reality be perceived through the nine different ways by which one can enter the realm of higher consciousness, as enumerated in Bhairava Agama?
Is it different from the procedure in Trishira Bhairava Tantra?
Or can it be perceived through knowledge of the triple forms of shakti, ie. para, parapara and apara? These are my doubts, O Bhairava!
Is it Nada and Bindu or can it be known by concentrating on the ascending psychic centres or the unstruck sound which emanates without any vibration?
Or is it the form of the obstructing half moon or else is it the form of shakti?
(Is your reality) transcendent and immanent or is it completely immanent or completely transcendental? If it is immanent (then the very) nature of transcendence is contradicted.
Paratva, or transcendence, cannot exist in the divisions of varna (colour), shabda (sound) or roopa (form). If transcendence is indivisible, then it cannot be defined or co-exist with composite parts.
O Lord, be pleased to destroy all my doubts completely.
Mahadeva then replied:
Good, well spoken, O dear one! What you have asked about is the essence of tantra.
Noble lady, although this is the most secret part of the tantras, yet I will speak to you about what has been expounded regarding the (defined) forms of Bhairava.
O Devi, the sakara aspect of Bhairava is insubstantial and of no spiritual value, like the illusory dream-like web of Indra, and is also like the delusion of celestial musicians.
(The sakara sadhanas) are described for those people of deluded intellect, who are prey to distracted thought patterns or are inclined towards the performance of action and ostentatious rituals to traverse the path of meditation.
His (Bhairava’s) form (cannot be perceived) in Nada and Bindu nor even in the obstructed half moon, nor in the piercing of successive chakras, nor does Shakti, or energy, constitute his essence.
These things have been told (about the form of Shiva), like the tales used to frighten children, to induce people of immature intellect to follow the spiritual path, just as the mother entices her child with sweets.
Ultimately (that state of Bhairava) cannot be measured in terms of time, space or direction, nor can it be indicated by any attribute or designation.
One can have this inner experience for oneself when the mind is free from modifications or thought patterns. The aatma of Bhairava, which is known as Bhairavi, is then experienced as the bliss of one’s own inner awareness, a state whose form is fullness, free from all contradictions (which is the abode of the entire universe).
The essence of his nature is known to be free of dross and pervades the entire universe. This being the nature of the highest reality, who is the object of worship and who is to be pacified by worship?
In this way the transcendental state of Bhairava, which is described or sung of, is known by means of the absolute or highest form that is Paradevi, the highest goddess.
Just as Shakti, or power, is not different from Shaktimaan, the holder of power, similarly parashakti, the highest power, who is the essence of the absolute (and therefore) identical with dharma, can never be separated from Bhairava, the possessor of dharma.
(Just as) the power to burn is not separate from fire, (similarly parashakti is not different from Bhairava). However, it is imagined as separate in the beginning, as a preliminary step towards entry into its knowledge.
One who enters the state of Shakti has the feeling of identification with Shiva, without division. Then one verily becomes like the form of Shiva. In this context, it is said that Shakti is the face of Shiva.
Just as space, direction and form are revealed by the flame of a lamp or the rays of the sun, similarly Shiva is revealed by the medium of Shakti, O clear one.