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Document Details :
Title: La soumission de Rudra et autres contes tantriques
Author(s): STEIN, R.A.
Journal: Journal Asiatique
Volume: 283 Issue: 1 Date: 1995
The goal of the present research was originally to explain the ritual hearth formed by three human heads (its dates, its religious meaning, etc.). A certain number of texts have been quoted as sources of this hearth by a very learned lama, but when carefully read, these texts obviously do not mention a hearth at all. The only source quoted for the triangular hearth proved to be a 19th century work on the ritual of the school of Chö (gČod).
But the other sources quoted by the lama (tantra and gter-ma) have a theme in common: the subjugation of an “evil” god, Rudra, a fierce form of Śiva, or Maheśvara, a milder form of Śiva. Maheśvara, Lord of the threefold World, appears in a great number of tantra and other texts, quoted in the present paper and two excellent and exhaustive articles by N. Iyanaga and R. Davidson. On the contrary, the story of the fierce and terrible Rudra only occurs, to my knowledge, in a single and very particular tantra, the dGoṅs-’dus from which it was borrowed by two contemporary gter-ma, the Padma thaṅ-yig and its separated version, the gSer-phreṅ. The three works complete each other. Therefore a detailed analysis of these three texts is given here.
The tantra has been treated as apocryphal because it is not translated from Sanskrit, but from ’Bru-ça, considered holy by the Bon-po. A literary, perhaps oral, transmission is said to be the cause of the “secret spells” (gsaṅ-sṅags), that is Mantrayāna or Tantrism. The victor or tamer of Maheśvara is Vajrapāṇi who steps on Maheśvara and his wife. The tamer of Rudra is Horse-neck (Hayagrīva-Vajravārāhī) who impales him by penetration from the anus to the top of the head. Vajrapāṇi and Hayagrīva are considered as being the same being. In the future, after many rebirths Rudra will become a buddha named the “Lord of Ashes”, an epithet of Śiva and the yogins. The essential features of Tantrism appear in literary form in some of the analysed tantra. The refusal of duality is stressed. So the tamer takes the form of the tamed. It is clearly stated that the tamed should be killed (bsad). But he will be “liberated” (bsgral) if he is a male. If the fiend is female, the taming goes together with a blessing, both being achieved by sexual union. Instead of impaling the enemy, the tamer can also swallow and digest the demon to be tamed (Guhyagarbha-tantra, chapter 15). An important role is played by Ucchuṣma who swallows all the dirt and digests it. Several texts allude to the transformation of mean material or dirt into am̤rta.
Another quite different text analysed here is the tantra Me-lče ’bar-ba. It deals with Indian goddesses coming from the purāṇas and has something in common with the dGoṅs-’dus tantra: the scene is a graveyard. Some of its Tibetan elements (names of persons) have been borrowed by the gter-mal Ha’dre bka’-thaṅ.