Thursday, June 12, 2008
Symbology Of Vaishno Devi Legend
It was at the shrine that I learnt the legend of the young ascetic girl, whom the tantrik Bhairav, the star-disciple of the Nath Yogi Gorakhnath, tried to molest. The girl fled from her tormenter and hid in the cave called ‘garbh-joon’ ( birth through womb) for nine months to meditate deeply. When Bhairav located her there, she fled to the peak where the court of the Goddess is now located. Bhairav chased her to the peak. On reaching the peak, the girl took the awesome form of the Goddess and beheaded Bhairav with one powerful stroke which made his head fly away to a point two kilometres away , where the temple of Bhairav is now located. Bhairava’s soul begged for the Goddess’ forgiveness before leaving the mortal coil. In Her infinite grace, the Goddess forgave Bhairav and granted him final salvation or moksha, the aim of human existence. Thus, Bhairav was triumphant even in his death. This , of course looks like an incredible fable. However, it is the symbology which is important. ‘Bhairav’ is symbolic of the ‘mumuksha’ or the aspirant who seeks moksha or final liberation from the cycle of individuation and de-individuation of consciousness( birth and death). The girl, who later becomes the Goddess, is the creative power (Universal Nature) or Maya( cosmic hypnotic delusion) which gives an appearance of reality to the dream of human existence. Bhairava’s trying to molest the girl is symbolic of the seeker’s developing yogic insight ( that which unifies the individuated with the infinite is yogic) which makes him violate the profound hypnotism of maya. The girl’s fleeing to the cave of womb for nine months is symbolic of the evolution of Maya to increasingly subtle dimensions as meditation progresses ( The waking existence is gross while meditational realms are very subtle). Further the nine month period is symbolic of ritual rebirth of the sadhaka through meditation. The discovery of the girl in the womb by Bhairava after nine months is symbolic of the experience of the causal nature by the yogi. The girl’s flight to the peak and taking the form of the Great Goddess is the revelation of nature’s infinite power and majesty. Bhairava’s being beheaded by the Goddess is symbolic of the extinction of individuated existence of the yogi in the deepest samadhi ( In samadhi bliss remains but the enjoyer is transcended) when the cosmic hypnotic delusion liberates him from Her shackles by terminating his individuated existence. The forgiveness and moksha which she grants to Bhairava is what he always wanted . The forgiveness is due to the crime of transgressing maya before the dissolution of karma in its due course by the faster route of yoga or tantra ( thus transgressing Her hypnotic virginity or ‘molesting’ Her). Moksha is what Bhairava aspired for and for it, he adopted the faster route by violating the laws of nature. Thus he dissolved his being into ‘infinite bliss of pure being’ or blessed consciousness beyond the confines of nature .