Tales of Guru Rinpoche and His Consort Mandarava

Guru Rinpoche's Splendor

Guru Rinpoche traveled India and Nepal's eight great channel grounds. He was also known as Guru Padsambhava. As he went, he trained Dakinis and dark forces for many years. He was a learned master and preached his teachings with rigors in the places he traveled. Not only was he learned and well-versed in the Buddhist values and taught them to worthy ones. He also possessed the divine mystical powers of transformation.

The Princess Consort Mandarava

Lhacham Mandarava was a princess. Her father was king of Zahor named Vihardhara and her mother Mohauki was a Dakini. Her birth was foretold by Buddha's disciple Kashyapa. She was to be a manifestation of the wisdom body Vajravarahi. She was endowed with all the qualifying marks.

When Mandarava first met with Guru Padmasambhava, at the age of 16, she was already ordained as a monk. Instinctively, she realized that Guru was a great teacher. She received teachings and empowerments of the secret Vajrayana. Her other attendants were also present in her private chambers in the palace. She completed receiving the initiations from him. Then Mandarva became both disciple and consort of the Mahaguru.

The Prosecution of the Mahaguru

One day, a cowherd caught a sight of Guru Padmasambhava giving teachings to Mandarava. The two were in her private chambers. Then he began gossiping about it. The gossip reached the ears of King Vihardhara too. He heard the tale of a wandering Yogi and the princess.

The infuriated king decided to take serious action. He immediately ordered his men to punish the Yogi. He wanted the yogi to burn alive in front of everyone. The men captured Guru Padmasambhava and had him tied to a stack of firewood. The pyre was then set to fire. It doused with the oil of hundred and thousands of sesame seeds.

And Yet Another Miracle

When normal bodies burned, the fire would exhaust. The smoke would die down after three days. This time, the thick black smoke swallowed the sky whole. It remained so for nine continuous days. The whole Kingdom remained in a dark shadow due to the smoke. This strange incident surprised the king and his attendants.

It led them to decide to visit the site of punishment. Stranger and stranger still, the place turned into a lake covered with a carpet of lotus flowers. An open lotus lied in the middle of the lake. At its top sat Mahaguru Padmasambhava embracing his consort Mandarava. Witnessing such a miraculous event made the king realize his mistake. 

Guru Rinpoche

He vowed that Guru Rinpoche was no ordinary being. The incident inspired them with the deepest faith and devotion. And the king and his men confessed their misdeed. They had the guidance of the Lotus-born master, Guru Padmasambhava. And so the whole kingdom began to practice Dharma. 

When the Mahaguru Left Zahor

At last, it was time for the Mahaguru to leave the Kingdom of Zahor. His consort insisted that he take her along on the journey. He knew he had to give her a chance to prove her courage. He then left the princess for three days to stay alone in the wilderness.

Guru appeared in front of her when she collapsed. He instructed her how to use adverse conditions as a true ground for the practice. It cleansed her of negativities and impurities. Both the Guru Padmasambhava and Mandarava set out on a journey. They went to find a retreat place to continue their practice.

Gaining Immortality in the Maratika Caves

They ended up in the Maratika Caves from their journey. They soon recognized that Maratika was a perfect place for their practice. So they settled down in the seclusion of its caves. Mahaguru guided Mandarava on every step of the secret Vajrayana. He gave her all the guidance and empowerment. They practiced together focusing on Amitayus to gain the nectar of immortality. As mentioned by Orgyen Lingpa:

They arrived at the peak of the palace of Mount Potala, a sacred site known as the Maratika caves,  blessed by the lords of the three families, where even in winter rain of flowers falls.  In this most excellent place, highly auspicious and blessed, they opened the mandala of Amitayus, Buddha of Boundless Life.

Attaining the Vidhyadhara

Three months went by and they had power over the life. It is because they accomplished the Vidyadhara. Both of them were able to remain in their subtler bodies of light. They did not dissolve into the body of Dharmakaya. They did it for the welfare of sentient beings.

And the Legacy Continues

Padmasambhava was then known as the Chime Pema Jungne, the deathless lotus-born. Mandarava was the yogini Chime Rikdzinma, Pure Awareness Holder of Immortality. She was also the Dungmen Karmo, Maiden of the White Conch. The Maratika Cave transformed because of their accomplishment. In the rock, there appeared the lifelong vase of Amitayus. There was also a stone Garuda, the mythical bird. Amitayus and Guru Rinpoche have imprints of their bodies on the cave walls.  

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