On a paramAra warrior queen and some Saracenic structures in lATa
S and other members of aurvasheyI’s family have rich body of legend concerning their tAntrika paraMpara. We have discussed some of this with the intention of mapping it on the historical background which might have points of interest. We have presented one such tale before. At some point before the paramAra-s rose to great power under bhojadeva, one of their princes kanakapAla had gone to the kedAreshvara to receive saiddhAntika dIkSha from the shaiva AchArya of the kShetra. He married a local princess and settled there, never returning to mAlava. His successors eventually rose in power in uttarAkhaNDa. Though the Mohammedan whirlwind suppressed the paramAra-s in other parts of the bhArata, in these mountain strongholds they continued to thrive. In the mid-1300s the legend goes that their rAjA ajayapAla performed a vigorous mantra-sAdhana of various bhairava mantra-s into which he had been initiated by a nAtha-yogin. Consequently, he came to dominate the whole uttarAkhaNDa, and his clan became its paramount rulers. In this period they used to have a lineage of kAlIkula sAdhaka-s from the city of karNAvati in the lATa country visit them and perform rituals for martial glory. Their power was further consolidated during the reign of mahIpati shAha, when the Tibetans accepted their suzerainty, at least in the western provinces. After the death of this king, his queen, karNAvati, took over the rule of the kingdom. She is said to have been an accomplished sAdhakI of the kAlIkula, who gave a village grant to brAhmaNa-s from the lATa country. These brAhmaNa-s are supposed to have held for centuries an idol of mahAkAlI which was originally housed in a temple in karNAvati, Gujarat that was vandalized by the monstrous Mohammedan Ahmed Shah. They installed the idol in a temple of kAlI near the town of kArttikeyapura, which was an ancient kaumAra kShetra and the capital of the pre-paramAra rulers of the land.
Shortly there after, in 1640 CE the Mogol tyrant Shah Jahan dispatched Ghazi Najabat Khan with the orders to extirpate the Kaffirs of the uttarAkhaNDa. The warrior queen karNAvati is said to have prepared for the invasion by leading the troops herself. She drew the Mogols to an ambush in steep mountain slopes north of Dehradun and fallen upon them with the advantage of height. The Mogol army suffered a major defeat. She is said to have prevented their retreat by blocking their rear in the narrow valley and captured several Jihadis. She is then supposed to have sacrificed some as narabali-s for kAlI and had rest mutilated with their noses and ears lopped off. Thus, they were sent to back to Delhi as a strong message to Shah Jahan. Stung by the defeat Shah Jahan wanted revenge and assembled another force under ghazi Kalilullah, this time to march eastwards on the capital of the paramAra-s at shrInagara, uttarAkhaNDa. The rANI, however, withdrew with a part of her troops from the capital to her preferred stations at Newada on the southeastern dUn of Dehra and kaulAgarH the fort on the northwestern dUn. The Mogols moved in pleased with the lack of resistance only to find themselves trapped by the rAjpUt-s. Then karNAvati resorted to psychological warfare by sending a message to the Mogol court that she is could chop of their noses, she could also chop of their heads. The Mogols panicked and tried to force their way back, but were encircled and massacred. Thus, the Mogol advance into the mountain passes was restrained by the fierce karNAvati, even as mahAkAlI slew the dAnava-s. She is said to have orchestrated number of hydraulic constructions, the most noted of which was an irrigation system that prevented the water from sinking underground as it exited the hill into the gravels leading to the valleys. This, allowed agricultural development that allowed an efflorescence of several towns in the region.This consequently fed a local Hindu revival which was mainly seen in the form of various production of certain tAntrika, legal, and medical texts under the patronage of this dynasty.
In addition to her initiation into the kAlI-kula, the rANI was also initiated into the system of shrIkula and performed worship of a shrIchakra at her capital of shrInagara. It was in this context the ancestor of S/R had journeyed from their station further to the northwest to the queen’s station for a vidvat-sabhA. This sabhA is said to have attracted tAntrika-s from several parts of India: there were the kAlI-kula practitioners from the lATa, magadha and kAshmIra countries, kAshmirian-s and nambUthiri-s practicing the hAdi-mata from the chera country, “tailanga-s” practicing the kAdimata from either the andhra or kali~Nga countries, exponents of the shrIkula krama as per the parashurAma kalpasUtra from the drAviDa country and exponents of the dashamahAvidyA system from kingdom of the mahArANa-s of medhapATha. It was in course of such sessions that the ancestor of S/R realized that the kalI-kula system of those exponents from the lATa country was distinct from their own mahAnaya system of kAshmIrian eminence. What was the center of this lATa system and what are its peculiarities? Such was discussion on which S and we had embarked.
After Ahmad Shah ravaged Gujarat he destroyed the old shaiva center of anahila-pattana and established his capital in the vicinity of the chAlukya karNAvati, which he renamed after himself as Ahmadabad. Here he vandalized the temple of bhadrakAlI but did not succeed in fully destroying it. It the following period the Muzzafarid Turk Mahmud Begarha, another monstrous Ghazi, completely destroyed the temple and constructed fortifications and palaces in its place. The secularists aided and abetted by their mlechCha backers have been denying this as a Hindu fantasy. The secularists have foisted several imaginary narratives on the generally clueless Hindu masses: The old bhadrakAlI temple just “disappeared” and then Ahmad Shah built his city; Ahmad Shah himself was a worshiper of bhadrakAlI and he had her “stuck” to the wall of his fort; The bhadrakAlI temple was never destroyed and her temple of relatively recent provenance is the same as the old one; A Mohammedan chief whose palace lies in the vicinity of the recent temple himself allowed the Hindus to build the temple. These secular narratives might be combined with claims such as the lack of any notable Hindu constructions in karNAvati prior to the “coming” of Ahmad Shah. These obfuscations hide many a historical reality. The current bhadrakAlI temple is relatively recent reconstruction that was built by the Hindus only after the mAhArATTa campaigns in the mid-1700s brought an end to Mohammedan ruler of Gujarat. The original bhadrakAlI temple corresponded to the spot of the bhadra-qil’a, the citadel of Ahmad and the samosA-munching Mahmud in Ahmadabad. Excavations conducted by the archaeological survey of India within this citadel area have revealed several fragments of Astika and jAina prAsAda-s which were demolished during the erection of the disputable Saracenic structures. This offers material evidence of the existence of karNAvati and also the that the bhadrakAlI temple was part of a major religious complex for both Astika-s and nAstika-s. Indeed several Saracenic structures in the vicinity contain masonry from these very demolished temples. But as is typical of the Indian situation, with utter disdain for the glorious Hindu past, the archaeological survey the secular government have made no attempt to restore or make these excavated antiquities visible to the Hindus. It is indeed from this region the kAlIkula tAntrika-s are likely to have fled to the Garhwal region.
As an aside we were able to establish that indeed the author of the madanavinoda might have been from this branch of the paramAra clan.
There are some interesting aspects of this kAlIkula system as transmitted to S and her siblings. It differs from the kAmakalA-kAlI and guhya-kAlI of the mahAkAla saMhitA, the 13 and 17 kAlI krama-s which were favored by mahAnaya-like systems and the dakShiNa-kAlikA system. This system was focused on bhadrakAlI. She is conceived as a 16-handed goddess of black color, with fangs like the crescent moon, with an upper garment of elephant skin and a skirt of tiger skin. She is flanked by nandin and mahAkAla.