Shakti and Shakta

by John Woodroffe | 1929 | 243,591 words

A collection of papers and essays addressing the Śakti aspect of the Śākta school of Hindu philosophy by John Woodroffe, also known as Arthur Avalon....

Chapter XXVIII - Matam Rutra (the Right and Wrong Interpretation)

IN connection with the doctrine and Sādhanā just described it is apposite to cite the following legend from Tibet, which shows how, according to its Sādhakas, it may be either rightly or wrongly interpreted, and how, in the latter case, it leads to terrible evils and their punishment.

Guru Padma-sambhava, the so-called founder of “Lamaism,” had five women disciples who compiled several accounts of the teachings of their Master and hid them in various places for the benefit of future believers. One of these disciples—Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal—was a Tibetan lady who is said to have possessed such a wonderful power of memory that if she was told a thing only once she remembered it for ever. She gathered what she had heard from her Guru into a book called the Padma Thangyig Serteng or Golden Rosary of the history of her Guru who was entitled the Lotus-born (Padma-saṃbhava). The book was hidden away and was subsequently, under inspiration, revealed some five hundred years ago by a Terton.

The first Chapter of the Worksdeals with Sukhavatī, the realm of Buddha Amitābha. In the second the buddha emanates a ray which is incarnated for the welfare of the Universe. In Chapter III it is said that there have been a Buddha and a Guru working together in various worlds and at various times, the former preaching the Sūtras and the latter the Tantras. The fourth Chapter speaks of the Mantras and the five Dhyānī Buddhas (as to which see Śricakra-saṃbhara Tantra in Tāntrik Texts, edited by Arthur Avalon), and in the fifth we find the subject of the present Chapter, an account of the origin of the Vajrayāna Faith. The present Chapter is based on a translation, which I asked Kazi Dawasamdup to prepare for me, of portions of the Thangyig Serteng. I have further had, and here acknowledge, the assistance of the very learned Lama Ugyen Tanzin, in the elucidation of the inner meaning of the legend. I cannot go fully into this but give certain indications which will enable the competent to work out much of the rest for themselves from the terrible symbolism in which evil for evil’s sake is here expressed.

The story is that of the rise and fall of the Self. The disciple “Transcendent Faith” who became the Bodhisattva Vajrapāni illustrates the former; the case of “Black Salvation” who incarnated as a Demoniac Rutra displays the latter. He was no ordinary man, for at the time of his initiation he had already attained eight out of the thirteen stages (Bhūmikā) on the way to perfect Buddhahood. His powers were correspondingly great. But the higher the rise the greater the fall if it comes. Through misunderstanding and misapplying, as so many others have done, the Tāntrik doctrine, he “fell back” into Hell. Extraordinary men who were teachers of recondite doctrines such as those of Thubka, who was himself “hard to overcome,” seem not to have failed to warn lesser brethren against their dangers. It is commonly said in Tibet of the so-called “heroic” modes of extremist Yoga, that they waft the disciple with the utmost speed either to the heights of Nirvāṇa or to the depths of Hell. For the aspirant is compared to a snake which is made to go up a hollow Bamboo. It must ascend and escape at the top, at the peril otherwise of falling down. Notwithstanding these warnings many of the vulgar, the vicious, the misunderstanding, and the fools who play with fire have gone to Hells far more terrible than those which await human frailties in pursuance of the common life of men whose progress if slow is sure. “Black Salvation,” though an advanced disciple, misinterpreted his teacher’s doctrine and consciously identifying himself with the world-evil fell into Hell. In time he rose therefrom and incarnating at first in gross material forms, he at length manifested as a great Rutra, the embodiment of all wickedness. The Tibetan Rutra here spoken of and the Indian Rudra seem to be etymologically the same but their meaning is different. Both are fierce and terrible Spirits; but a Rutra as here depicted is essentially evil, and neither the Lord of any sensual celestial paradise, nor the Cosmic Śakti which loosens forms. A Rutra is rather what in some secret circles is called (though in ungrammatical Sanskrit) an Adhātmā, or a soul upon the lower and destructive path. The general destructive energy (Saṃhāra-Śakti), however, uses for its purpose the disintegrating propensities of' these forms. The evil which appears as Rutra is the expression of various kinds of Egoism. Thus Matam Rutra is Egoism as attached to the gross physical body. Again, all sentient worldly being gives expression to its feelings, saying “I am happy, unhappy, and so forth.” All this is here embodied in the speech of the Rutra and is called Akar Rutra. Khatram Rutra is Egoism of the mind, as when it is said of any object “this is mine.” “Black Salvation” became a Rutra of such terrific power that to save him and the world the Buddhas intervened. There are four methods by which they and the Bodhisattvas subdue and save sentient being, namely, the Peaceful, the Grand or Attractive, the Fascinating which renders powerless (Vaśīkaranam), and the stern method of downright Force. All forms of Egoism must be destroyed in order that the pure “That Which Is” or formless Consciousness may be attained. “Black Salvation” incarnated as the Pride of Egoism in its most terrible form. And, in order to subdue him, the last two methods had to be employed. He was, through the Glorious One, redeemed by the suffering which attends all sin and became the “Dark Defender of the Faith,” which by his egoistic apostasy he had abjured, to be later the Buddha known as the “Lord of Ashes” in that world which is called “the immediately self-produced.” How this came about the legend describes.

The fifth Chapter of the Golden Rosary says that Guru Padma-Vajradhara was reborn as Bhikshu Thubkazhonnu, which means the “youth who is hard to overcome.” He was a Tāntrik who preached an abstruse doctrine which is condensed in the following verse:—

“ He who has attained the ‘That Which Is’
Or uncreated In-itself-ness
Is unaffected even by the ‘four things’
Just as the cloud which floats in the sky
Adheres not thereto.
This is the way of Supreme Yoga.
Than this in all the three worlds
There is not a higher wisdorn.”

This Guru had two disciples, Kuntri and his servant Pramadeva. To the latter was given, on initiation, the name “Transcendent Faith,” and to the former “Black Salvation.” This last name was a prophetic prediction that he would be saved, not through peaceful or agreeable means but through the just wrath of the Jinas. The real meaning of the verse as understood and practised by Pramadeva and as declared to be right by the Guru was as follows: “The pure Consciousness (Dagpa-ye-shes) is the foundation (Gshi-hdsin) of the limited consciousness (Rnam-shes) and is in Scripture “That which is,” the real uncreated “In-Itself-ness.” This being unaffected or unruffled is the path of Tantra. Passions (Klesha) are like c,londs wandering in the wide spaces of the sky. (These clouds are distinct from, and do not touch the back-ground of space against which they appear.) So passions do not touch but disappear from the Void (Śūnyatā). Whilst ascending upwards the three-fold accomplishments (Activity, non-activity, absolute repose) must be persevered in; and this is the meaning of our Teacher Thubka’s doctrine.”

The latter, however, was misunderstood by “Black Salvation” (Tharpa Nagpo) who took it to mean that he was to make no effort to save himself by the gaining of merit, but that he was to indulge in the four acts of sinful enjoyment, by the eye, nose, tongue and organ of generation. On this account he fell out with his brother in the faith Pramadeva, and later with his Guru, both of whom he caused to be persecuted and banished the country. Continuing in a career of reckless and sin-hardened life, he died unrepentant after a score of years passed in various diabolical practices. He fell into Hell and continued there for countless ages. At the close of the time of Buddha Dipankara (Marmedzad or “Light maker”) he was reborn several times as huge sea monsters. At length, just before the time of the last Buddha Śākya Muni, he was born as the son of a woman of loose morals in a country called Lankāpurī of the Rākṣasas. This woman used to consort with three Spirits—a Deva in the morning, a Fire Genius at noon, and a Daitya in the evening. “Black Salvation” was reborn in the eighth month as the offspring of these three Spirits. The child was a terrible monster, black of colour, with three heads, each of which had three eyes, six hands, four feet and two wings. He was horrible to look at, and immediately at his birth all the auspicious signs of the country disappeared, and the eighteen inauspicious signs were seen. Malignant epidemics attacked the whole region of Lankāpurī. Some died, others only suffered, but all were in misery. Lamentation, famine and sorrow beset the land. There were disease, bloodshed, mildew, hailstorms, droughts, floods and all other kinds of calamities. Even dreams were frightful, and ominous signs portending a great catastrophe oppressed all. Evil spirits roamed the land. So great were the evils that it seemed as if the good merits of everyone had been exhausted all at once.

The mother who had given birth to this monster died nine days after its birth. The people of the country decreed that this monstrous infant should be bound to the mother’s corpse and left in the cemetery. The infant was then tied to his mother’s breast. The mother was borne away in a stretcher to the cemetery, and the stretcher was left at the foot of a poisonous tree which had a boar’s den at its root, a poisonous snake coiled round the middle of its trunk, and a bird of prey sitting in its uppermost branches. (These animals are the emblems of lust, anger and greed respectively which “kindle the fire of individuality.”) At this place there was a huge sepulchre built by the Rākṣasas where they used to leave their dead at the foot of the tree. Elephants and tigers came there to die; serpents infested it, and witch-like spirits called Dākinīs and Ghouls brought human bodies there. After the bearers of the corpse had left, the infant sustained his life by sucking the breasts of his mother’s corpse. These yielded only a thin, yellowish, watery fluid for seven days. Next he sucked the blood and lived a week; then he gnawed at the breast and lived the third week; then he ate the entrails and lived for a week. Then he ate the outer flesh and lived for the fifth week. Lastly he crunched the bones, sucked the marrow, licked the humours and brains and lived a week. He thus in six weeks developed full physical maturity. Having exhausted his stock of food he moved about; and his motion shook the cemetery building to pieces. He observed the Ghouls and Dākinīs feasting on human corpses which he took as his food and human blood as his drink, filling the skulls with it. His clothing was dried human skins as also the hides of dead elephants, the flesh of which he also ate. He ate also the flesh of tigers and wrapped his loins in their furs. He used serpents as bracelets, anklets, armlets and as necklaces and garlands. His lips were thick with frozen fat, and his body was covered with ashes from the burning ground. He wore a garland of dead skulls on one string; freshly severed heads on another; and decomposing heads on a third. These were worn crosswise as a triple garland. Each cheek was adorned with a spot of blood. His three great heeds ever wrathful, of three different colours, were fierce and horrible to look at. The middle head was dark blue and those to the right and left were white and red respectively. His body and limbs which were of gigantic size and proportions were ashy grey. His skin was coarse and his hair as stiff as hog’s bristles. His mouth wide agape showed fangs. His terrible eyes were fixed in a stare. Half of the dark brown hair on his head stood erect, bound with four kinds of snakes. The nails of his fingers and toes were like the talons of a great bird of prey, which seized hold of everything within reach, whether animals or human corpses which he crushed and swallowed. He bore a trident and other weapons in his right hands, and with his left he filled the emptied skulls with blood which he drank with great relish. He was a monster of ugliness who delighted in every kind of impious act. His unnatural food produced a strange lustre on his face, which shone with a dull though great and terrible light. His breath was so poisonous that those touched by it were attacked with various diseases. For his nostrils breathed forth disease. His eyes, ears and arms produoed the 404 different ills. Thus, the diseases paralysis, epilepsy, bubonic swellings, urinary ills, skin diseases, aches, rheumatism, gout,, colic, cholera, leprosy, cancer, small-pox, dropsy and various other sores and boils appeared in this world at that time. (For evil thoughts and acts make the vital spirit sick and thence springs gross disease.)

The name of this great Demon was Matam Mutra. He was the fruit of the Karma of the great wickedness of his former life as Tharpa Nagpo. At that time, in each of the 24 Pilgrimages, there was a powerful destructive Bhairava Spirit: These Devas, Gandharvas, Rākṣasas, Asuras and Nāgas were proud, malignant and mighty Spirits, despotic masters of men, with great magical powers of illusion and transformation. These Spirits used to wander over these countries dressed in the eight sepulchral raiments, wearing the six kinds of bone ornaments, and armed with various weapons, accompanied by their female consorts, and revelled in all kinds of obscene orgies. Their chief occupation consisted in depriving all sentient beings of their lives. After consultation, all these Spirits elected Matam Rutra as their Chief. Thus all these non-human beings became his slaves. In the midst of his horrible retinue he continued to devour human beings alive until the race became almost destroyed and the cities emptied. He was thus the most terrible scourge that the earth had ever seen. All who died in those days fell into Hell. But, as for Matam Rutra himself, his pride knew no bounds: he thought there was no one greater than himself and would roar out:

“Who is there greater and mightier than I? If there be any Lord who would excel me, Him too will I subjugate.”

As there was no one to gainsay him, the world was oppressed by heavy gloom. At that time, however, Kālīproclaimed,

“ In the country of Laṅkā, the land of Rākṣasas,
In a portion of the city called Koka-Thangmaling,
On the peak of Malaya, the abode of Thunder,
There dwells the Lord of Lanka, King of Rākṣasas.
He is a disciple of the light-giving Buddha.
His fame far excels thine.
He is unconquerable in fight by any foe.
He sleeps secure and doth awake in peace.”

Hearing this, the pride and ambition of the Demon became aflame. His body emitted flames great enough to have consumed all worlds at the great Kalpa dissolution. His voice resounded in a deep thundering roar like that of a thousand claps of thunder heard together. With sparks of fire flying from his mouth he summoned a huge force. He filled the very heavens with them, and moving with the speed of a meteor he invaded the Rākṣasa’s capital of Koka-Thangmaling. Encamping, Matam Rutra proclaimed his name proudly, at which the entire country of Lankā trembled and was shaken terribly as though by an earthquake. The Rākṣasas, both male and female, became terrified. The King of the Rākṣasas sent spies to find out the cause of these happenings. They went and saw the terrible force, and being terrified at the sight reported the fearful news to their king. He sat in Samādhi for a while, and divined the following:—According to the Sūtra of King Gunadhara it was said, “One who has vexed his Guru’s heart, and broken his friend and brother’s heart: the haughty son, being released from the three Hells, will take rebirth here, and he will surely conquer the Lord of Lankā. In the end, he will be conquered by many Sugatas (the blissful ones, or Buddhas). And this event will give birth to the Anuttara-Vajrayāna Faith.” The Buddha Marmedzad having revealed the event, he wished to see whether this was the Matam Rutra Demon referred to in the prophesy. So he collected a force of Rākṣasas and went forth to fight a battle with the Demon force. Matam Rutra was very angry and said:—

“I am the Great Invincible One, who is without a peer, I am the Īśvara Mahādeva.
The four great Kings of the four quarters are my vassals,
The eight different tribes of Spirits are my slaves, I am the Lord of the whole World.
Who is going to withstand and confront me?
Rutra, Matra, Marutra.”

With this battle cry he overcame the forces of the Rākṣasas. Then the King of the Rākṣasas and all his forces submitted to the King of the Demons, saying “I repent me of my attempt to withstand you, in the hope of upholding the Faith of the Buddhas, and to spread it far and wide. I now submit to you and become your loyal subject. I will not rebel against you.” When he had thus overcome the Rākṣasas, he assumed the title of Mataṃka, the Chief of all the Rākṣasas. His pride increased, and he proclaimed, “Who is there greater than I?”

Then, Kālī again cleverly excited his ambition and pride by saying, “The Chief of the armies of the Asuras (Lhamin that is “not Devas”), named Mahākaru, is mightier than you.” Thereupon he invaded the realms of the Asuras, with his demon force, and all the Asuras becoming affected with various terrible maladies were powerless, to resist him. The Rutra caught hold of the Asura King by the leg and whirling him thrice round his head flung him into the Jambudvīpa where he fell in a place called the Ge-ne-gyad, meaning the place of eight merits. Then those of the Asuras who had not been killed, the eight planets (Grahas) and the twenty-eight constellations (Nakshatras) and their hosts sought refuge in every direction, but failing to obtain safety anywhere, they returned and surrendered themselves to the Demon Matam Rutra. Then the Asuras guided the Rutra and his forces to a Palace named the Globular Palace like a skull where they established their Capital. In the centre of this Palace, the Rutra hoisted his banner of Victory. They arranged their dreadful weapons by the aide of the entrance, and the place was surrounded by numerous followers with magical powers. Having thus shewn his own great magical powers, he took up the King of Mountains, Meru, upon the tip of his finger and whirling it round his head, he proclaimed these boastful words, “Rutra, Matra, Marutra, who is there in this universe greater than myself? In all the thee Lokas, there is none greater than I. And if there be any, him also will I subdue.” To these boastful words Kālī answered,

“ In the thirty-third Deva-Loka and in the happy celestial regions of the Tushita Heavens,
Sitting amidst the golden assembly of disciples,
Is the Holy Saviour of all beings, Regent of the Devas (Dampa-Togkar)
Having been anointed, He is venerated and praised by all the Deva Kings.
He summons all the Devas to his assembly by sounding the various instruments of heavenly music
Accompanied by a oelestial Chorus.
He is greater than yourself.”

On her so saying, the Archdemon blazed forth into a fury of pride and wrath, and set forth to conquer the Tushita Heavens. The Bodhisattva (Dampa-Togkar) was sitting enthroned on a throne of precious metals, in the midst of thousands of Devatās, both male and female, and was preaching Dharma to them. The Archdemon seized Dampa-Togkar from his throne, and threw him down into this world-system. All the Devas and Devīs there gathered exclaimed, “Alas, what a fate, O, the sinful wretch!” seven times over. Thereupon the Rutra fiercely said:

“Put on two cloths, and sit down on your seats, every one of you !
How can I be conquered by you? I am the mighty destroyer and subjugator of all.”

(The expression “Put on two cloths” was said by way of contempt for the priestly robes which consist of three pieces, being a wrapper above, and one below and one over both. Dampa-Togkar is the Bodhisattva who is coming as Buddha to teach in the human world. He descends from the Tushita Heavens where he reigns as Regent.)

When the celestial Regent of the Tushita Heavens (Dampa-Togkar) was about to pass away from there, he uttered this prophesy to his disciples, who were around him:

“Listen unto me, Ye my disciples :
This apostate disciple, Tharpa-Nagpo (Black Salvation),
Who does not believe in the Buddha’s Doctrine,
He is destined to pervert the Devas and Asuras,
And to bend them to his yoke.
He hates the perfect Buddha, and be will work much evil in this world-system.
There are two, who can deprive him of his terrible power;
They are Thubka-Zhonnu and Dad-Phags (Pramadeva, Arya Śrāddha called Transcendent Faith)
They will be able to make him taste the fruits of his evil deeds in this very life.
He will not be subdued by peaceful, nor by any generous means.
He will only be conquered by the methods of Fascination and Sternness.

(The various means of redemption have been previously explained. Thubka and his good disciple “Transcendent Faith” who had then become Buddha Vajra-Sattva, and Bodhisattva Vajrapāni were selected for this purpose. They assumed the forms of the Devatās with the Horse’s head (Hayagriva) and the Sow’s head (Vajra-Vārāhī.)

“Who, of the Noble Saṅgha, will doubt this,
That Hayagrīva and Vajra-Vārāhīwill give him their bodies.

(When it is said “These will give him their bodies” this means, as hereafter described, entering the Rutra’s body, assuming his shape and destroying his Rutra life and nature. They give him their divine bodies so that they may destroy his demoniac body.)

“And who will not trust in the Wisdom of the Jinas, to conquer him by the upward-piercing method,
From this (demon) will come the Precious-nectar, which will be of use in acquiring Virtue.
From this (demon) will originate the changing of poison into elixir.

(There are various Tāntrik methods suited to various natures. “The upward-piercing” (Khatar-yar-phig) is that of Vajrayāna. This is the method which goes upward and upward, that is straight upward without delay and without going to right or left. To change poison into nectar or elixir is a well-known principle of these schools.)

“This Demon will have to be ground down and destroyed to the last atom, in one body.

(It is said “in one body” because, ordinarily, several lives are necessary; but in this case and by this method Liberation is achieved in a single life-time and in one body. Not one atom. of the Rutra body is left, for Egoism is wholly destroyed.)

“The Divine Horse-headed Deity (Vajra-Hayagrīva), is he who will dispel this threatening misfortune,
Dad-phags, (Pramadeva who was given on initiation the name “Transcendent faith”) is at present Vajrapāni (Bodhisattva).
And Thubka-Zhonnu is, at present, the Buddha Vajrasattva,
The divine prophesies of the Jinas are to be interpreted thus:—
‘They will exterminate their opponents
For myself I go to take birth in Māyā-Devī’s womb.
I will practise Samādhi at the root of the Bodhi-Tree.
I will not hold those beliefs in doubt.
For it has been said that the Buddha’s Faith will triumph over this,
And will remain long in the Jambudvīpa.
By means of the mysterious practice of Emancipating by means of Communion.’

(The practice here referred to is the method called Jordol (sByor sGrol) which has both exoteric and esoteric meanings, such as in the case of the latter the communion of the Divine Male and Female whose union destroys to its uttermost root egoistic attachment; the communion with Śūnyatā whose innermost significance is the non-dual Consciousness (gNyismed-yeshee) which dispels ignorance and cuts at the root of all Sāṃsāric life by the destruction of all the Rutra forms. “Female” here is Śūnyatāand not a woman. When a learned Lama is asked why the terms of sex are used they say it is to symbolise Thabs (Upāya) and Shes-rabs (Prajñā which it is not possible to further explain here. (See Vol. XIII, XIV of Tāntrik Texts, Ed. A. Avalon.)

“The Matam Rutra, which is clinging to the body as ‘I’ will be dispelled,
All forms of worldly happiness and pain, the Egoism of Speech (Akar Rutra),
Will be destroyed.
The saying ‘this is mine’ of anything,
The mental ‘I’ (or Khatram-Rutra) is freed.
The true nature and distinguishing attributes of a Rutra,
Which is manifest outwardly, exists inwardly, and lies hidden secretly,
In short all the fifty-eight Rutras, with their hosts, will be destroyed completely.

(I have already dealt with the meaning of the term, Rutra. Here the Egoisms of body, feelings, mind are referred to. The Glorious Oae will eradicate the physical and all other Rutras, the monster of the self in all its forms, gross, subtle and causal.)

“The world though deprived of happiness will rejoice again.
The world will be filled with the Precious Dharma of the Tri-Ratna.
The Righteous Faith has not declined, nor has it passed away.”

(Thus did the Regent of the Tushita Heavens prophesy the advent of the Tāntrik method for the complete destruction and the elimination of the demon of “Egotism” from the nature of the devotees on the path by means of Jordol.)

After uttering these prophecies he passed away and took re-birth in the womb of Queen Mayā Devī. Then the Archdemon, having subjugated all the Devas of the thirtythird and the Tushita Heavens, appointed the two Demons Māra and Devadatta, his two chief officers, to suppress Indra and Brahmā. The Archdemon himself took up his abode in the Malaya Mountain, in the place called the Human skull-like Mansion. He used to feed upon Devas and human beings, both males and females. Drums, bells, cymbals and every kind of stringed and other musical instruments were played to. him in a perpetual concert with songs and dances. Every kind of enjoyment which the Devas used to enjoy, he enjoyed perpetually. (8th Chapter ends.)

The 9th Chapter deals with the defeat and destruction of the Archdemon Matam Rutra by the Buddhas of the ten directions:—

Then there assembled together Dharmakāya Buddha Samantabhadra (Chosku Kuntu Zangpo) and his attendants from the Wogmin (Akaniṣ ̣ ṭa) Heavens, from other Heavens, Sambhoga-kāya Vajra-dhara with his attendants; and Vajrapāni Nirmānakāya with his attendants. In short, from the various heavens of the ten directions came the different Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. All held a consultation together and came to this resolution:

“Unless the power of the Buddhas be exerted to subjugate the Rutra, the Faith of the Buddhas will cease to spread and will degenerate. That body which has committed such violent outrages on every other being, must be made to suffer the agonies of being hurt by weapons, wielded by avengers. If he is not made to feel the consequences of his deeds: the Jinas who have proclaimed the Truth will be falsified. He is not to be destroyed but to be subdued.”

Having thus agreed, all the Buddhas began to seek with their omniscient eyes, him who was destined to conquer this Rutra. They saw that Thubka-Zhonnu who had attained the state of Buddha Vajra-sattva and Dadphags who had become Vajra-pāni were to subdue him, and that the time was also ripe. So both of them came with their respective retinue and were blessed and endowed with Power by all the Buddhas, who gave these instructions.

“'Do ye assume the forms and sexes of Chenrezj and Dolma (Avalokita and Tārā) and do ye subdue the Enemy by assuming the shapes of the Deities having the Horse-mane and the Sow’s head (Haya-grīva and Vajra-Vārāhī).”

(The latter is commonly known in English translations as the “Diamond Sow.” Vajra is the Sanskrit equivalent of the word Dorje in Tibetan. The latter has many meanings; lndra’s thunderbolt, the Lamas’ sceptre, diamond and so forth: and is in fact used of anything of a high and mystical character which is lasting, indestructible, powerful and irresistible. Thus the high priest presiding at Tāntrik Rites is called Dorje Lopon. In fact, diamond is so called because of the hard character of this gem. In the Indian Tāntrik worship, Vajra occurs as in Vajrapuśpa (Vajra-flower), Vajra-bhūmi (Vajra-ground), and so forth, but these are not “diamond” flowers or earth. An extremely interesting enquiry is here opened which is beyond the scope of this Chapter, for the term Vajra, which is again the appellation of this particular school (Vajrayāna), and is of great significance in the history of that powerside of religion which is dealt with in the Śākta Tantra. See Introduction to Śri-Cakra-Sambhara, edited by Arthur Avalon, Vol. VII of Tāntrik Texts. Here, without further attempt at explanation, I keep the term Vajra adding only that Harinisa is not, as has been thought, Vajra-Vārāhī (Dorje-phagmo) Herself but the Bīja Mantras (Ha, ri, ni, sa) of Her four attendant Dākinīs.)

Vajra-Sattva, and Vajrapāni, Buddha and Bodhisattva of the Vajrayāna faith transformed themselves into the forms of Haya-grīva and Vajra-Vārāhī, and assumed the costumes of Herukas. (The Herukas are a class of Vajrayāna Devatās, of half terrible features, represented as partly nude with an upper garment of human skin and tiger skin round the loins. They have a skull head-dress, carry bone rosaries, a staff and Damaru like Śiva. The Herukas are described in the Tibetan books as being beautiful, heroic, awe-inspiring, stern and majestic.) Blazing in the nine kinds of physical magnificence and splendour, they proceeded to the Malaya Mountain, the abode of the Rutra. On the four sides of the Mountain were four gates. Each gate was guarded by a Demoness, bearing respectively a Mare’s, Sow’s, Lion’s and a Dog’s head. These the Glorious One conquered, and united therewith in a spirit of nonattachment. From their union were born the following female issue: (1) The White Horse-faced, (2) The Black Sow-faced, (3) The Red Lion-faced, (4) and the Green Dog-faced daughters. Proceeding still further He met another cordon of sentries, who too were females, bearing the heads of (1) Lioness, (2) Tigress, (3) Fox, (4) Wolf, (5) Vulture, (6) Kanka, (?) (7) Raven, and (8) Owl. With these Demonesses too, the Glorious One united in a spirit of nonattachment, and blessed the act. Of this union were born female offspring, each of whom took after the mother in outward shape or Matter, and after the father in Mind. Thus were the eight Demi-goddesses born: wiz., the Lionheaded, Tiger-headed and so forth. Being divine in mind, they possess prescience and wisdom, although from their mother they retained their shape and features, which are those of brutes.

Then again proceeding further inward, He came upon the daughters of the Rutras and of Rākṣasas, named respectively, Nyobyed-ma or “She who maddens,” Tagbyedma “She who frightens,” Dri-medma “The unsullied,” Kempama “She who dries one up,” Phorthogrna “She who bears the Cup” and Zhyongthogma the “bowl bearer.”

The Glorious One united with these in the same manner, and from them, were born the eight Mātṛkās of the eight Sthānas (sacred places), known as Gaurīmā and so forth. These, too, possessed divine wisdom from their father and terrific features and shapes from their mothers.

(There are 24 Sthānas which are places of pilgrimage and eight great cemeteries making 32 in all. In each of these cemeteries there is a powerful Goddess also called Mamo, that is, Mātṛkā. These terrible Goddesses are, according to the Zhi-Khro, Gaurīmā, Tsaurīmā, Cāndālī, Vetālī, Ghasmarī, Śonama, Pramo, Puskasī. These are in colour white, yellow, yellowish white, black, dark green, dark blue, red, reddish yellow, and are situated in the East, South, N. W., North, N. W., N.E., West, NE., “nerve-leafs of the conch-shell mansion” (brain) respectively. These are the eight great Mātṛkās of the eight great Cemeteries, to whom prayer is made, that when forms are changed and entrance is made on the intermediate plane (Bardo. See as to this Dr. Evens-Wentz, “Tibetan Book of the Dead”), they may place the spirit on the clear hght path of Radiance (Hodsal).

(These various accouplements denote the union of Divine Mind with gross matter. In working with matter the Divine mind is always detached. Work is possible even for the liberated consciousness when free from attachment, that is, desire (Kāma), which is bondage. The Divine Mind unites with terrible forms of gross matter that these may be instruments; in this case instruments whereby the gross Egoism of the Rutra is to be subdued.)

Then going right into the innermost abode, he found that the Rutra had gone out in search of food, which consisted of human flesh and of Devas. Adopting the disguise of the Rutra, the Glorious One went in to the Consort of the Rutra, the Rākṣasi-Queen Krodheśvarī (Lady of wrath) in the same spirit as before, and blessed the act. By Krodheśvarī, He had male issue, Bhagavān Vajra-Heruka, with three faces and six hands, terrific to behold. Then the Glorious One, Hayagriva, and his divine Consort, Vajra-Vārāhī, each expressed their triumph by neighing and grunting thrice. Upon hearing these sounds the Rutra was struck with mortal fear, and coming to the spot, he said:

“What sayest Thou, little son of Hayagrīva and Vajra-Vārāhī.
All the world of Devas and Asuras
Proclaim my virtues and sing my praises.
I cannot be conquered. Rest yourselves in peace,
Regard me with humility, and bow down to me.
Even the Regent of the Devas,
of the odd garment (priestly dress),
Failed to conquer me in days of yore.”

Saying this he raised his hands, and came to lay them on the young one’s head. Thereupon, Hayagrīva at once entered the body of the Rutra by the secret path (Guhya) from below and piercing him right through from below upwards, He showed His Horse’s Head, on the top of the head of the Rutra. The oily fat of the Rutra’s body made the Horse’s head look green. The mane, being dyed with blood, became red, and the eye-brows; having been splashed with the bile of the Demon, became yellow. The forehead, being splashed with the brains, became white. Thus the Glorious One, having assumed the shape and dresses of the Rutra, took on a terrible majesty.

At the same time, Vajra-Vārāhī, His Consort, also entered the body of the Rutra’s Consort Krodheśvarī, in the same manner piercing and impaling her. She forced Her own Sow’s head right up through the crown of the Demoness’ head, until it towered above it. The Sow’s head had assumed a black colour, from having been steeped in the fat of the Rākṣasi. Then the two Divine Beings embraced each other, and begot an offspring, a Divine Being, a male of the Terrific Order, a Krodhabhairava. Having done this, Hayagrīva neighed shrilly six times, and Vajra-Vārāhīgrunted deeply five times. Then the hosts of the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas assembled there as thickly as birds of prey settling down on carrion. They filled all space. They were of the peaceful, the wrathful, the halfpeaceful and the half-wrathful orders, in inconceivably large numbers. They began to surround the Rutra-TharpaNagpo, who, being unable to bear the pain of being stretched asunder, cried in agony:—

“Oh, I am defeated! The Horse and the Sow have defeated the Rutra.
The Buddhas have defeated the Demons.
Religion has conquered Ir-religion,
The Saṅgha has defeated the Tīrthikas,
Indra has defeated the Asuras,
The Asuras have defeated the Moon
The Garuda has defeated the Ocean
Fire defeats fuel, Wind scatters the Clouds,
Diamond (Vajra) pierces metals
Oh! it was I who said that last night’s dream portended evil.
Oh! slay me quick, if you are going to slay me.”

As he said this, his bowels were involuntarily loosened, and from the excreta which, being thus purified, fell into the Ocean, there at once arose a precious sandal tree, which was a wish-granting tree. This tree struck its root in the nether world of the Serpent-spirits, spread its foliage in the Asura-lokas, and bore its fruits in the Deva-lokas. And the fruits were named Amṛta (the essence and elixir of life).

Then the two Chief Actor and Actress, Hayagrīva and Vajra-Vārāhī acted the joyful plays called the ‘Plays of Happy Cause,’ ‘Happy Path,’ and ‘Happy Result,’ in the nine glorious measures. (That is, plays in which the actors are happy being the male and female Divinities, in this case Hayagrīva and Vajra-Vārāhī. They are the cause; their play being exoterically “Dalliance” (Līlā), and their result the dispelling of Egoism which is Illumination.)

Just as a victor in a battle, who has slain his enemy, wins the armour and the accoutrements of his slain opponent, and puts them on as a sign of triumph, so also, the Glorious One having conquered the Rutra, assumed the eight accoutrements of the foe, including the wings, and the other adornments which made him look so bright and magnificent. These the Glorious One blessed and consecrated to the use of the Divine Deities. Having done all this, both Hayagrīva and Vajra-Vārāhī returned to the Realm of pure Spiritual Being (Dharmadhātu). Thus it comes about that those costumes, assumed by the Rutra, came to be adopted as the attire of the Deities. Their having three heads, the eight sepulchral ornaments, and the eight glorious costumes and wings, had origin in this event.

Then Pal Chag-na-doje (ŚrīVajrapāni) multiplied himself into countless Avatāras, and these again multiplied themselves into myriads of Avatāras, all of the terrible and wrathful type. The Rutra too showed supetnatural powers, for he transformed himself into a nine-headed Monster, having eighteen hands, as huge as the Mount Meru. Should it be doubted, how this sinful being could still possess such supernatural powers, one must know that he was a Bodhisattva of the eighth degree (One who has attained eight Bhūmikās or stages of advance out of thirteen) who had fallen back. Hence was it, that even the Buddhas found it difficult to subdue him, not to count the world of Devas and men. Then Vajrapāni manifested still greater divine powers of every imaginable description, and all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas fixed their abodes on the greatly enlarged and distended body of the Rutra. The latter being unable to bear the agony of this pressure, roared with pain,

“Come quick to the rescue, O my followers, who inhabit the ten directions
To the right and left of the Skull-like Mansion
And those who live in the gardens and the orchards:
Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, and Pretas millions in number, advance to the rescue at once.
O ye followers and adherents of the Rutra, who dwell in the twenty-four places, and countries
Numbering millions and tens of million, who have sworn allegiance to me
And promised to serve me faithfully, and ye from the illimitable spaces in every direction
Fill the heavens and the earth with your innumerable hosts
And all in one body strike (at the foe) with the weapons in your hands, sounding the battle cry
Om-rulu-du.”

Though he uttered these commands, there was none to obey him. Everyone surrendered to Bhagavan Vajra-Heruka. Thus all the subordinates of the Rutra, the thirtytwo Dākinīs, the seven Mātṛkās, and the four “Sisters,” (Sringbzhi), the eight Furies (Barmas or flaming ones), the eight Genii (spirits or attendants on the Devatās) and the sixty-four Messengers all came over to the Heruka and the Divine offspring (the Krodha-Bhairava) took upon himself the duty of serving the food of the Deities.

(This is the Deity usually invoked when any purification and religious contrition has to be performed or done. By this it is seen that his undertaking to serve the food of the Deities meana purifying and absolving the sins of the Rutra.)

Vajrapāni, producing ten divine beings of the terrific type (Krodhabhairava), gave a Phurpa (triangular-shaped dagger) to each of them, and commanded them to go and destroy the Rutra and his party. Thereupon Hayagrīva came again, and neighed three times; upon hearing which sound, the entire host of the Rutra were seized with a panic and all were subdued. Then “Black Salvation” (Tharpa-Nagpo) and his followers were rendered powerless and helpless: humbled and quite submissive. So they surrendered their own homes, personal ornaments, and lives, and uttered these words of entreaty:

“Obeisance to Thee, O, Thou field of the Buddhas’ influence,
Obeisance to Thee, O, Thou who dost cause Karma to bear fruit.
I and all of us having sown previous evil Karma
Are now reaping the fruits thereof, which all indeed may see.
Our future depends on what we have done now;
Karma follows us, as inexorably as the shadow does the body.
Everyone must taste the fruit of what each has himself done.
Even should one repent, and be sorry for his deeds
There is no help for him as Karma cannot be avoided.
So we who are destined by Karma to drink the bitter cup to the very dregs,
We do therefore offer up our bodies to serve as the cushion of Thy footstool.
Pray accept them as such.”

Having said so, they laid themselves prostrate, and from this originates the symbolism of eveiy Deity having a Rutra underneath his feet. Then the vassal Chiefs of the

Rutra submitted their prayers:—

“We have no claim to sit in the middle,
Be pleased to place us at the extremities of the Mandalas.
We have no right to demand of the best of the banquets.
We pray to be favoured with the leavings, and the dregs of food and drink.
Henceforth, we are Your subjects, and will never disobey Your commands.
We will obey You in whatever You are pleased to command.
As a loving mother is attracted towards her son,
So shall we, too, be surely drawn near those who remind us of this oath of allegiance.”

Thus did they take the oath of allegiance. Then the Holder of the Mysteries, the Glorious One—Vajrapāni, pierced the heart of the prostrate Rutra with the Phurpa dagger and absolved him. All his Kārmik sins and his Passions (Klesha) were thus immediately absolved. Then power was conferred on him, and vows were laid on him, and the water of Faith was poured on him. His body, speech and mind were blessed and consecrated towards Divine Service, and the Dorje of Faith was laid on the head, throat and heart. Thenceforward he was empowered to be the Guardian of the Faith, and named the Good dark One, and his secret name conferred at the initiation was Mahākāla. Thus was he included in the assembly of the Vajrayāna Deities. Finally, it was revealed to him that he would become a Buddha, by the name of Thalwai-Wangpo (the Lord of Ashes) in the World called Kod-pa-lhundrup (that is “self-produced” or “made-all-at-once”). Then the Rutra’s dead body was thrown on this Jambu-dvīpa, where it fell on its back. The head fell on Sinhala (Ceylon), the right arm and hand upon the Thogar (?) country and the left hand on Le (Ladak country). The right leg fell on Nepal, and the left on Kashmir. The entrails fell over Zahor. The heart fell on Urgyen (Cabul), and the Liṅga on Magadha. These form the eight chief countries. Thus the eight Mātṛkās of the eight Sthānas, headed by Gaurimā and others: the eight natural Stūpas headed by Potala; the eight occult powers, which fascinate; the eight guardians (female), who enchant; the eight great trees, the eight great realm-protectors (Shing-hyong), the eight lakes, the eight great Nāga spirits, the eight clouds, and the eight great Dikpālas (Chyogskyong or Protectors of the Directions) as well as the eight great cemeteries originated.

With the end of the sixth Chapter of the Golden Rosary is concluded the account of the Vajrayāna Devatās who appeared to aid in the conquest of human Egoism which had manifested itself in terrible form in the person of the great Rutra. As all but the fully pure have in them Rutra elements, they are enjoined in Vajrayāna to follow the methods of expurgation there revealed.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: