The kingdom of Zahor: Where Guru Padmasambhava first met Mandarava
Guru Rinpoche wandered the eight great charnel grounds of India and Nepal for many years taming dakinis and dark forces as he went.
Lhacham Mandarava was a princess, her father was king of Zahor, named Vihardhara and her mother Mohauki. Her birth was foretold by Buddha's disciple Kashyapa, and she was to be a manifestation of the wisdom body Vajravarahi, endowed with all the qualifying marks. When Mandarava first met with Guru Padmasambhava, at the age of 16, she was already ordained as a monk. Instinctively, she realized that Guru was a great teacher, and received teachings and empowerments of the secret Vajrayana, along with her attendants in her private chambers in the palace. Upon receiving the initiations from him, Mandarva became both disciple and consort of the Mahaguru.
One day, a cowherd caught a sight of Guru Padmasabhava giving teachings to Mandarava, in her private chambers. He then started to gossip about it. King Vihardhara also heard the gossip of a wandering Yogi and the princess. Infuriated with rage and anger, king immediately ordered his men to punish the Yogi, by burning him alive in front of everyone. Those men captivated Guru Padmasambhava and tied him to a stack of firewood. The pyre was then set to fire, doused with the oil of hundred and thousands of sesame seeds.
Normally, when bodies were burned, the fire would be exhausted and its smoke would die down after three days. This time, however the thick black smoke covered the sky for nine continuous days, keeping the whole Kingdom in dark shadow. Surprised by this strange incident, the king with his ministers decided to visit the site of punishment. Amazingly, the place was miraculously turned into a lake covered with carpet of lotus flowers. In the middle of the lake, on top of a open lotus, was seated Mahaguru Padmasambhava, embracing his consort Mandarava. After witnessing such a miraculous event, the king realized the mistake, Guru Rinpoche was no ordinary being!
Inspired with the deepest faith and devotion, the king and his men confessed their misdeed. Under the guidance of the Lotus born master, Guru Padmasambhava, the whole kingdom began to practice Dharma.
Eventually when the time came for the Mahaguru to leave the Kingdom of Zahor, Mandarava begged him to take her along on the journey. He left the princess for three days to stay alone in the wilderness, as a proof for her courage. When she collapsed, Guru appeared in front of her, giving instructions on how adverse conditions are used as a true ground for the practice. As the result, she was cleansed of negativities and impurities.
Both the Guru Padmasambhava and Mandarava, together set out on a journey to find a retreat place to continue their practice.
Attaining the Immortality in the Maratika Caves:Their journey finally took them to Maratika Caves. After they recognized that Maratika was a perfect place for their practice, they settled down in the seclusion of its caves. Mahaguru guided Mandarava thoroughly, on every steps of the secret Vajrayana, and giving her the empowerments. After receiving these empowerments, both the Guru and the consort practiced together focusing on Amitayus to attain the nectar of immortality. As mentioned by Orgyen Lingpa:
They arrived at the peak of the palace of Mount Potala, a sacred site known as the Maratika caves, blessed by the lords of the three Families, where even in winter a rain of flowers falls. In this most excellent place, highly auspicious and blessed, they opened the mandala of Amitayus, Buddha of Boundless life.
In next three months, they accomplished the Vidyadhara with power over the life. Both of them were able to remain in their subtler bodies of light without dissolving into the body of Dharmakaya, for as long as they needed for the welfare of sentient beings. Padmasambhava was then known as the Chime Pema Jungne, the deathless lotus-born, while Mandarava as the yogini Chime Rikdzinma, Pure Awarenes Holder of Immortality and the Dungmen Karmo, Maiden of the White Conch.
Their accomplishment also transformed Maratika Cave. In the rock, there appeared the life long vase of Amitayus and a stone Garuda (mythical bird). The cave wall bears the imprints of the bodies of Amitayus and Guru Rinpoche.
Source: Following In Your Footsteps | The lotus-Born Guru in Nepal
I am a firm believer of Guru Rinpoche. He’s supreme of the Supreme. Chaktsal. I’m blessed with your guidance always. Keep showering your blessings and good wisdom to all sentient beings. Thank you for the information. I enjoyed and felt blesses.