Friday, November 23, 2012

The Lord Of Eclipses: Conjuring Rahula

The one who causes eclipses, Rahula.
Rahula has many names: Kuntu Tséwa (’kun tu ’tshe ba) the Giver of Constant Trouble; Kun-sod (kun gSod) All-killer; and Shan Srinpo (bShan pa srin po) the Savage Slaughtering Demon. Rahula is known to Tibetans simply as Za.


Rahula is half serpent and half humanoid. The lower part of his body is coiled and his upper body is dark red and covered with a thousand eyes, all of which glare balefully. In the pit of his stomach is a cavernous mouth which, with the eyes of his upper body, gives the feeling that his whole torso is a massive glaring face. He has nine heads, arranged in three tiers of three, each with three bulging eyes. A great breath of sickness is believed to issue from their fanged mouths. From the crown of the topmost head issues the black, cawing head of a raven.


 A human skin is draped over his back. His principal weapon is a bow fashioned from a venomous serpent. In his remaining left hand he holds a writhing sea-serpent and the right holds a goad which guides us to righteous action.


According to ancient Indian mythology, Rahu (Rahula) was a titan who disguised himself and tried to steal the nectar of immortality from the gods. The sun and the moon both exposed him to Vishnu who promptly cut off his head. It is believed that Rahu avenges himself by periodically swallowing up the sun and the moon, thus causing eclipses. He is hence known as the Lord of Eclipses. Indeed with its myriad eyes his dark body is reminiscent of the starry night sky. The gaping mouth in his belly symbolizes his swallowing-up of sun and moon.


Rahula is traditionally conjured to avert negative astrological circumstances or to destroy dangerous enemy. My master has cautioned of the great dangers in conjuring Rahula for once you have started the conjuration, you must continue to conjure Rahula everyday or danger will be fallen onto the person.


First, after obtaining empowerment from his/her guru, a conjuror must practise guru puja and in addition either the Vajrapani sadhana, Vajrakilaya sadhana or Hayagriva sadhana for 10,000 times. After that, before sun set, this person must go to an open space facing east direction to invoke the presence of Rahula. Rahula will show himself in the form of a greyish black smoke in front the conjuror. Once Rahula has come, then the conjuror can tell Rahula what he/she wants and send the Rahula off towards the western direction.


If a conjuror wanted to get rid of a demon, then he only need to make a torma (ritual cake) then imagine that the life force or bad planetary effects are absorbed into the torma. After that the torma is presented to Rahula.


In case of problems with Rahula during conjuration, the conjuror can resort to an overpowering fire puja using all iron ritual implements: meteorite ritual sword, meteorite iron phurpa and iron fire ladles. The actual conjuration of Rahula as the above description is rarely practised now, but a much simpler form of ritual offering remains with the Ningmapa practitioners where Rahula is treated as one of main lineage protectors.


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