The teaching of the yamoghaNTa

She said that she was shoNitamekhalA, the barmaid from the glorious oDDiyAna. We excitedly asked her teaching of the amaraugha. She said: somAkhyaH pathena gachChati | hAlApIvI devadattaM pathena gamayati | pathaM vR^iNIShva || (somAkhya goes by the path; hAlApIvin makes devadatta go by the path; choose a path for yourself.) Then she then became silent, showed the sign of the three fingers, and went away stating that customers were waiting at the counter.

Then we proceeded to the cluster of caves in kR^iShNagiri in the country of the rAShTraka-s. As we were about to enter the chosen cave sutvachA the fair daughter of the brAhmaNa crossed our path. She asked: “Did you understand the teachings of shoNitamekhalA”. We said we were still seeking their meaning. She went away giggling. There in the cave where the Iranian lord had performed a homa to rudra sat the yamoghaNTa named antakabhR^itya. He asked pointed to a rocky seat and said: “About two thousand years ago the Iranian lord sat there; he is long dead and mostly forgotten today but take that seat. We shall now study some poetry.” Then he went on to expound three verses from fifty known as the vakrokti pa~nchAshika of Kashmirian kavi bhaTTa ratnAkara from the court of rAjan avantivarman:

tvaM hAlAhala-bhR^it karoShi manaso mUrchAM mamAli~Ngito
hAlAM naiva bibharmi naiva cha halaM mugdhe kathaM hAlikaH |
satyaM hAlikataiva te samuchitAsaktasya govAhane
vakroktyeti jito himAdri-sutayA smero harah pAtu vaH || 2
When embraced by me you make my mind dizzy – \with the [noxious] hAlAhala you hold.\by the beer and plow (water) you hold.\
Silly lady! I hold neither beer nor a plow, how am I a plowman?
Truth to be told the state of a plowman is appropriate for your attachment – \to the bovine vehicle\to plying the bovine.
May hara smiling while thus defeated via use of vakrokti (ambiguous speech/punning words) by the daughter of the Himalayas protect you.

The pun here creates an equivalence between rudra the holder of the hAlAhala and the saMkarShaNa of the pA~ncharAtrika-s who holds the hala and hAlA. Indeed, the mahAbharata mentions that balarAma, the earthly manifestation of the saMkarShaNa, is pacified when a bowl of beer is placed before him by the fair hands of his wife revatI. The poet bhAsa makes a word play on this in the open verse of his play the svapnavAsavadatta thus:
udayanavendusavarNAvAsavadattAbalau balasya tvAm |
padmAvatIrNapUrNau vasantakramau bhujau pAtAm ||

May bala[rAma]’s arms protect you, whose color is like the newly arisen moon, imparted vigor by beer, enhanced by padmAvatI (supposed to mean revatI here), like the pleasant progression of spring. It also plays on the names of the menage-a-trois in the drama comprised of king udayana, his wife vAsavadattA and the princess padmAvatI

But this beer-swilling saMkarShaNa in the pA~ncharAtrika tradition is indeed an equivalent of rudra and performs the same functions as him. Hence, the word play in this verse indicates the homology between the deities is indicated. Moreover, rudra denying his association with beer indicates his domesticated state. This is different from his wild state as a manifestation of the violent principle inherent in beer – a point alluded to in the shruti (e.g. shatapatha brAhmaNa) in the context of the sautrAmaNi ritual. It also distinguishes him from the state where accompanied by the many female deities, the one in which alcoholic beverage is a sacrament as in the tantra-s of the bhairava-srotas.

tvaM menAbhimato [me na-abhimato\menA-abhimato] bhavAmi sutanu shvashrvA avashyaM mataH
sAdhUktaM bhavatA na me ruchita [nameru-chita] ity atra bruve .ahaM punaH |
mugdhe nAsmi nameruNA nanu chitaH prekShasva mAM pAtu vo
vakroktyeti haro himAchala-bhuvaM smerAnanAM mUkayan || 3

\You are not loved by me \menA likes you\; Indeed, my mother-in-law likes me, O pretty-bodied one.
Well played (said) by you; [but] I am saying it again:\you are not liked by me\you are a rudrAkSha tree (have rudrAkSha-s piled on you).\
But I’m not piled up with rudrAkSha-s, silly lady, look at me!
May hara silencing with his punning words the smiling faced one born of the Himalayas protect you.

Here rudra is in his domesticated form stated above; hence, he is not piled up with rudrAkSha-s.

no saMdhyAhita-matsarA [saMdhy-Ahita\saMdhyA-Ahita] tava tanau vatsyAmy ahaM saMdhinA
na prItAsi varoru chet kathaya tat prastaumi kiM vigraham |
kAryaM tena na kiM chid asti shaTha me vInAM graheNeti vo
dishyAsuH pratibaddha-keli shivayoH shreyAMsi vakroktayaH || 4

\I resent our truce\I resent [your] flirting with saMdhyA\ and no more in your body I will stay.
Pretty-thighs! If you are not happy with the truce simply say that. Should I [then] call declare \hostilities?\a hunt for catching birds?\
You rascal! Of what use is this business of catching birds to me.
May the punning words of shiva and shivA contesting in this game bring you to felicities.

The catching of birds (vi-graha) is an allusion to rudra being called a pu~njiShTha in the shruti. But you must note that here umA has called rudra a rascal and clearly told him of her lack of love for him and expressed her intention not to stay in his body. Hence, he has to wander on his own.

Most worship mahAdeva along with his shakti. This is the sAdhAraNa-patha. The ecstatic and high kulapatha is that of rudra as vIra in the midst of his kula with the yoginI-s, DAkinI-s and shAkinI-s. But now that sati has left him he is an ekavIra. The one who follows that path shall explore the mysteries of the akulavIra.

We said: “But then they say shiva without shivA is but a shava. So how could one tread the path of the akulavIra”.
The yamoghaNTha: “Close your eyes.”
We found ourselves in the draMiDa country near where the land meets the sea. There was an image of the old goddess patnI, who had been worshiped by the drAviDa-s in the long past days even as the Iranian was performing his homa to maheshvara. It was a grim and inauspicious day. Yet, everyone around us was laughing and talking in loud tones trying to make themselves heard over the din. Tired from the exertions of the long day we laid ourselves near a large image of kumAra to get some rest. Suddenly, a band of shAkinI-s arrived and tore us to shreds eating us up entirely.
We opened our eyes and asked: “Are we dead?”
The yamoghaNTha: “Close your eyes again.”
We were in the holy city of jAlandhara in the pa~nchanada country. There were three corpses in the biers which were laid beside us. All of a sudden one of them started moving and then getting up made a loud and terrible noise. We were reminded of kShemendra’s words “ghora-pherAvahuMkR^itaM”. We opened our eyes and asked: “Why did that one who was dead move?”
The yamoghaNTha: “It was animated by a vetAla captured by shoNitamekhalA.”
We: “You are indeed a yamoghaNTha without the chitra-paTa-s (painted scrolls)”.
The yamoghaNTha: “Go the mouth the cave and gaze at the yonder sky.”
We: “A flock of egrets in flight.”
The yamoghaNTha: “the old bhAsa had said:
vidUShaka- hI hI, sharat kAla nirmale .antarikShe prasArita-baladeva-bAhu-darshanIya sArasa-pa~Nkti yAvat samAhitaM gachChantI prekShatAM tAvad bhavAn |
The king- vayasya, pashyAmy enAm |
R^ijvAyatAM cha viralAM cha natonnatAM cha
saptarShi-vaMsha-kuTilAM cha nivartaneShu |
sImAm ivaambara-talasya vibhajyamAnAm ||
The jester: Hey hey, may your highness see that flock of cranes flying in the clear autumnal welkin like the outstretched arm of baladeva.
The king: friend, I see these.
Sometimes straight, sometime dispersed wide apart, sometimes in a V-shaped configuration,
taking the form the constellation of the seven seers (Ursa Major) while turning,
like the white belly of a snake which has sloughed its skin,
[the flock] is like a dividing contour on the surface of the sky.

This old bhAsa must have been a bit of a pA~ncharAtrika. The saMkarShaNa indeed stirs things up, much like the atmospheric dance of the crane flock. That is what one might see in the simile which likens his fair hand to them. Then there is also the welkin in you which is the chidAkAsha. These birds are tracing paths on that. Those are the movements of prANa that we term the ajapA gAyatrI, the mantra, so.ahaM haMsaH |

It is that mantra you now go forth and try to master. It must be done in solitude. As you leave the fair daughter of the brAhmaNa will come you path. But you have to walk past her for no use will come of coitus with her. But three ladies whose names will have the initial consonants p, v, and b will keep you company – but remember their company will be even like that of hatyA who gave the bhairava company till he drank viShNu’s blood. You might die on the path sooner or later and might become the dwelling of a vetAla. The end only you will know”

We were not sure if we were dead or alive.

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