The Yogini Siddha Mekhala, The Elder Severed-Headed Sister

All inner and outer phenomena perceived as mind,
Meditating with detachment, all has the same flavor.
In supreme meditation without effort or striving,
I found non-dual pure pleasure and perfect

~ Mekhala

A householder of Devikotta had two daughters, Mekhala and Kanakhala. He married them to the two sons of a boatman. But their husbands abused them verbally, and the neighbors, too, gossiped about them maliciously, although they were innocent.

“Let’s fly from this injustice and go to another country,” the younger sister suggested one day.

“We are abused because of our lack of virtue,” replied Mekhala. “It will be no different anywhere else. We must stay here.”

Just then the Guru Krishnacharya passed by in the street below. Seven hundred Dakas and Dakinis attended him, a canopy floated unsupported above his head, damaru skull-drums sounded in the sky about him, and many other signs of his realization could be seen and heard. The sisters decided to go to him and tell him how everyone, including their husbands, maligned them, and to ask him for a sadhana to practice.

They went to his house, told him their problem and requested instruction. Krishna initiated them and gave them the Vajra Varahi instruction on the union of vision, meditation, action and goal, and sent them away to practice. They practiced diligently for twelve years and were successful in their meditation. Then they went in search of their Guru. They found him in his hermitage, and prostrating before him they worshiped him. The Guru spoke to them kindly, but he did not recognize them, and asked them who they were. They reminded him of their previous meeting.

“Then you should have brought me offerings,” the Guru told them.

“What can we give you?” the sisters asked.

“Give me your heads!” demanded the Guru.

“We give what the Guru asks,” they replied. Then with the keenedged sword of pure awareness, which they drew from their mouths, they severed their own heads and offered them to their Guru. They sang:

Through the grace of the Guru’s instruction,
Uniting creative and fulfillment meditation,
We destroy the distinction between samsara and nirvana;
Vision and action united in co-incident harmony
We destroy the distinction between acceptance and
In the union of vast space and pure awareness
We destroy the distinction between self and others.
As tokens of the indeterminate, we offer these gifts.

The Guru exclaimed:

Behold these two great yoginis!
They have reached their goal in joy!
Now forgetting your own peace and happiness,
Live for the sake of others.

Krishnacharya replaced their heads on their shoulders without leaving so much as a scar. The people who observed this were delighted, and called the two sisters the Severed-headed Yoginis. When the two yoginis touched their Guru’s feet, they attained mahamudra-siddhi. They worked selflessly for many years before expressing their realization and attaining the Dakini’s Paradise.

Source: ‘Masters of Mahamudra: Songs and Histories of the Eighty-Four Buddhist Siddhas‘ by Keith Dowman.