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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
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.