Mahasiddha Naropa and VajrayoginiThe great Mahasiddha Naropa is the lineage holder of the Chakrasamvara tradition. He was once the foremost scholar of the famous Nalanda monastic university in North India. Because of his intellectual accomplishments, Naropa was appointed gatekeeper of Nalanda's northern entrance.
During that time, his duty was to defend the monastery's philosophical traditions. The power of his learning and logic made him very successful. Thus, his fame grew far and wide.
Once an old lady appeared before him. And he asked if he had truly mastered all the words of Buddha's teachings. Naropa confidently answered, "yes."
But she laughed out loud. And then Naropa added, "I also understand their meaning." She began crying. Confused Naropa asked her why she reacted in this way.
She replied, "When you said that you knew the words of the teachings, I laughed for joy because this was the truth. But I cry when you say you understand their meaning because this is not so."
Finally, he received empowerment and advice from the lady. And on her insistence, Naropa began a long search to find Tilopa.
Tilopa is the guru who made him understand the true meaning of Dharma. This is revealed in the Chakrasamvara Tantra.
Finally, he received a direct vision of Vajrayogini herself. This form of Vajrayogini was Naro Khachoma or Naropa's Dakini. This story highlights the important relationship between the meditation deities and the spiritual practitioners.
Vajrayogini can be considered as the embodiment of Buddha-nature. This enlightened quality exists within each one of us. These deities are the idealized projections of our own internal universe. They have their own existence, and it is possible to make contact with them and receive empowerment directly.
How is such a thing possible? And the forms, in which these deities appear in front of us, depend solely upon our own state of mind.
At the time when Naropa's mind was full of intellectual pride, Vajrayogini appeared as an old lady. And later, when all such obscuration were removed. It was all because of the combination of his own efforts and his guru's inspiration. Vajrayogini revealed herself in the fully purified and enchantingly beautiful form.
There is no difference between viewing the meditation deities as reflections of our own enlightened nature or as externally existing bodies. Both approaches must be followed with pure faith and perseverance. They both eventually lead to the same realizations.
The important part is the way we differentiate between internal and external. Distinguishing self and other, what belongs to me and what does not, is invalid. They arise from the habitual patterns of our limited, dualistic, conceptualizing mind. In the spiritual path, it is crucial that one cuts through these dualistic interpretations. We need to realize the oneness of the meditational deity, the guru, and our own innate clear light nature.
On the most fundamental level, Vajrayogini is the wisdom of the great bliss and emptiness. Because her wisdom serves to destroy ignorant confusion, it is at the center of the Wheel of Life. She is also known as Vajravarahi, the Diamond Sow, adorned with the head of a pig.
Vajrayogini in accords with the vision of Naropa:
She is red in color, has one face and two arms.
Stands upon deities Bhairava and Kalarati.
These two worldly deities represent the hatred and attachment, Vajrayogini's wisdom has overcome.
Another interpretation depicts Bhairava as her method aspect and Kalarati as her wisdom. Hence, Vajrayogini's stance reinforces the union of method and wisdom. This is very crucial in the practice of the highest yoga tantra.
Vajrayogini is 16 years old, youthful and radiant
Her expression reflects her passionate nature.
She has three eyes, it's her enlightened ability to see past, present, and future.
Her eyes gaze upwards to the Land of the Dakinis. This demonstrates her power to guide practitioners towards her pure land.
In her right hand: curved flaying knife marked by a vajra
Her left hand: a skull-cup filled with blood.
The knife and Vajra symbolize the wisdom that cuts through the ignorance and the blissful clear light consciousness.
Her left shoulder supports a khatvanga, which represents her consort Heruka Chakrasamvara. The practices of Vajrayogini, from the Chakrasamvara Tantra, are the distilled essence of the profound meditational system. The symbolism of the khatvanga itself is a profound example. Each detail represents different aspects of Chakrasamvara's mandala and the sixty-two deities contained therein.
Vajrayogini has smooth, flowing waist-length black hair. Her completely black hair symbolizes the unchanging nature of enlightened truth body. The breasts are full with her nipples erect. They symbolize the arousal of desire and that she helps those who seek transformation. Her body is naked.
Vajrayogini is free from ordinary conceptions and appearances. The bone ornaments and the skull crown symbolizes the first five perfections of the method aspect. They are generosity, discipline, patience, effort, and meditative concentration.
Her body itself represents the sixth perfection: wisdom. And hence she wearing these bone ornaments is the union of method and wisdom. Around her neck hangs a garland of fifty human skulls symbolizing the purity of her speech.
The skull-cup offering bowl contains the various human sense organs emitting flames. This symbolizes the way our ordinary sensory experiences can be transformed.
One of the special features of Vajrayogini's tantric path is the methods for practicing the generation and completion stages of the highest yoga tantra. A successful practitioner of this system can attain Vajrayogini's pure land within their present body.
There are many accounts of the practitioners who at the end of their lives simply disappeared. They left nothing behind but their hair, fingernails, and the clothes they were wearing. This is the symbol of attaining the so-called rainbow body, a sign of successful practice.
The lineage of Vajrayogini and Chakrasamvara practitioners is full of such miraculous stories.
Miraculous Accounts of Vajrayogini Practitioners
Naropa's story relates how a particular practitioner encountered a living manifestation of Vajrayogini. Likewise here is an account of a novice monk Kusali. He was traveling with his guru by the banks of the Ganges. There he met an old woman with leprosy who wanted to cross the river. His guru ignored the woman. But Kusali, with compassion, wrapped her in his shawl and helped her cross the river. When they both reached the halfway of the river, the old woman miraculously transformed into Vajrayogini. She transported Kusali directly to her one pure land!
Also, among the exiled community of Tibetan refugees, there have been examples of highly accomplished meditators. In the 1970s, Jepa Rinpoche died in Manali, North India. During his lifetime, he practiced making a daily offering of one thousand water bowls and one thousand butter lamps to Vajrayogini. After his death, when his body was cremated, the mantra of Vajrayogini was clearly visible on his bones.
Such amazing events prove that these methods if practiced diligently, can result in the transformation of our potential. They transform us into fully evolved and effortlessly compassionate Awakened Ones.
A special prayer of auspiciousness recited for Vajrayogini:
"May there be the auspiciousness of swiftly receiving the blessings Of the hosts of glorious, sacred gurus,Vajradhara, Pandit Naropa, and so forth. The glorious lords of all virtue and excellence. May there be the auspiciousness of the Dakini truth body, Perfection of wisdom, the supreme Mother of the Conquerors, the natural clear light, free from elaboration from the beginning, the lady who emanates and gathers all things stable and moving. May there be the auspiciousness of the complete enjoyment body, simultaneously born. A body radiant and beautiful. Ablaze with the glory of the major and minor marks. A speech proclaiming the supreme vehicle with sixty melodies. And a mind of non-conceptual bliss and clarity, possessing the five exalted Wisdoms. May there be the auspiciousness of the emanation body, born from the places, ladies who with various form bodies, in various places, fulfill by various means the aims of various ones to be tamed in accordance with their various wishes. May there be the auspiciousness of the supreme Dakini, mantra-born. A venerable lady with a color similar to that of a ruby, with a smiling, wrathful manner, one face, two hands holding a curved knife and skull-cup and two legs in bent and outstretched positions. May there be the auspiciousness of your countless millions of emanations and the hosts of the seventy-two thousand dakinis. Eliminating all the obstructions of practitioners. And bestowing the attainments that are longed for."
Source: Images of Enlightenment | Jonathan Landaw & Andy Weber