A Female Devotee of Shiva in India
The Life Of Rasa
The Bhairava describes the past life:
You were a woman in India who resented her position in the village, and her gender. You worked as a maid for some early British traders, and you were raped by a soldier. But rape was not so uncommon in the village - that was not why you sought relief (committed suicide) by Shiva's knife. That was because of a later disgrace - falling in love with a sadhu (renunciant), who abused and rejected you.
You had been widowed at an early age, and returned to your parent's house in your early teens. You considered the loss of your husband no great problem, as he was clumsy, old, and insensitive, but it was a disgrace for your family, who saw you as inauspicious, to which you responded, "So what?"
You did housework and child-care until you were ready to scream or die, and heard that there were traders who wanted native servants. You felt that if you must do this boring and demeaning work, you might as well be paid for it. You travelled overland and by river, and found where they lived. It was a group in the Madras area, and you were South Indian.
You worked for the traders, and were not impressed with them. The man who wooed and raped you wanted you to become his Indian mistress, but you were not interested. You decided to leave when you could find a place to go. The inspiration came when a wandering sadhu came through town, after his pilgrimage to South Indian temples. He was tall and dark, with a long beard and long hair. He moved with power, and wore a red lungi. He wore the end of a black iron trident around his neck, and his hair was knotted high with red cords. His eyes were burning.
You fell in love with him on sight, and asked for initiation, offering him flowers and fruit. He gave you the OM NAMAH SHIVAYAH mantra and wrote it on your tongue. He said that he would stay in the town for a week, and then he would leave and return to his guru and other disciples in the Himalayas. He said you were welcome to travel with him as a disciple.
You gave half the money you made over the years to a trusted friend, to give to your family, and took the rest plus a small amount of severance pay. You wore the widow's white, and in a week you left with Ishvarnath, or Nathji. Your name was Rasa, and you were neither ugly nor beautiful.
You traveled for many months, and you could find places to stay with the money you had saved. When you came to the foothills, and the money ran low, you started to beg with Nathji.
He took you to be initiated by his guru, who was not happy to do so. Their group was of Shavite ascetic males, and you did not belong there. Some of the other men had female ascetic partners, and you came to live with them. Your relationship with Nathji was a celibate one.
However, you practiced meditation, and took another initiation from a passing yogini. She taught you the OM TRYAMBAKAM mantra, and taught you how to perform a homa (Vedic sacrifice) fire, and how to heal diseases by the placement of colored threads upon a yantra. She also gave you Shaktipat, by kissing you deeply on the lips. Then she left.
You spent longer in meditation, still before the homa fire. This made you sexually attractive to Nathji. He asked you to be his Tantric consort, to wear red instead of white, and to accompany his sadhana (meditation practice).
You agreed and your relationship [with Nathji] began. It was mostly joint worship of Shiva, though a few times a month there was sexual ritual. He taught you how to hold your breath, and to tighten your muscles, so that he could meditate better. He was not concerned with your spiritual development, but rather with your tapas (spiritual energy gained from meditation and renunciation) and your ritual purity.
Nevertheless, you fell further in love. When one of the other consorts in the small mountain village suggested you secretly visit the men's [ritual meditation] circle, you agreed enthusiastically. This is where you saw the corpse [ritual], and the rituals of self-inflicted pain, and the sacred knife, curved like the moon. This consort said that anybody who died by that knife would become instantly enlightened.
You were horrified by their rituals, and glad that you were not a part of them. They never said the name of the group but the sacred lake was called Kapal-Kund. The guru wore iron necklaces and bracelets.
When Nathji tired of sexual ritual, and returned to celibacy, you decided to use the [sacred] knife [to commit suicide]. It did not bring you enlightenment.
This was a typical life for you. You have had many others. I will help you to learn about them one by one.
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