Princess Parani

Princess Parani was the mother of Prahevajra (Garab Dorje), the first master who transmitted the teachings of the Great Perfection in this epoch. She was a King Dhahena Talo’s daughter and lived in Oddiyana. She was one of the Dzogchen lineage holders, in particular, of the Mind Section (Semde), being a direct disciple of Prahevajra and her eldest brother Rajahasti. She was the teacher of Naga King Nanda.

In the biography of the great translator Vairochana we can find some details of her life story, as well as her songs of realization.

To the West of India lies Oddiyana, the land of the dakinis. There, in the region of Dhanakosha, was a lake called Kutra, on the banks of which was a cave called the Place of the Vajra. There lived a king called Dhahena Talo, who came from a highly educated family. He had a son called the elder Rajahasti and a daughter called Parani, who was highly talented, virtuous of heart, and had immense bodhichitta. Free of faults and deceit, she had been ordained as a nun and kept her vows with utmost purity. She had given up male company and lived with a following of five hundred nuns.

During the year of the female wood ox, at dawn on the eighth day of the second summer month, she dreamt that all the tathagatas sent forth light that transformed into a sun and moon. She dreamt that the sun dissolved into her through the crown of her head, moving downward, and the moon dissolved into her through her feet, moving upward. Thinking about it in the morning, she went to bathe at the shore of Kutra Lake. Looking toward the east, she saw Vajrapani, who had taken the form of a golden swan and who had turned Adhichitta into the syllable HUNG. Along with four other emanated swans, they came down from the sky to wash themselves. After bathing, four of the swans flew away, and the swan that was a manifestation of the Lord of Secrets clung to the breast of the princess. Touching her breast three times with its beak, a brilliant syllable HUNG dissolved into her heart. Then the swan flew up and disappeared.

The princess was astonished; she told her father and attendants about the dream and the story of the swans. Her father was amazed and, overjoyed, said, “We can expect an emanation of the Buddha!” He took great care and had many ceremonies performed. Within a year a nine-pronged vajra made of various jewels sprang from the princess’s heart and everyone was struck with wonder. The vajra disintegrated by itself and became a child bearing the major and minor marks, holding a vajra in his right hand and a jewel staff in his left and reciting Vajrasattva, Great Space, and so on. Everyone was delighted. They showed the child to a Brahmin versed in the art of reading signs. Utterly amazed, the Brahmin declared the child to be an incarnation who would hold the teachings of the highest vehicle.

The child was called Prahevajra, and from an early age he surpassed everyone in games and sports. When he had finished his education and was about to take over the kingdom, Vajrapani appeared to Prahevajra in person and gave him the complete empowerment of direct anointment and other empowerments. Summoning the three putras from the upper and lower charnel grounds in the southwest, he empowered them and pound them under oath. In an instant he transmitted all the tantras, initiations, and pith instructions, including the Twenty Thousand Sections of the Ninefold Expanse, to Prahe and empowered him as the Lamp of the Doctrine. He commanded the oath-bound to assist yogis and guard the doctrine.

Right there, in an instant the nirmanakaya Prahevajra truly and completely awakened to the level of the effortless Great Perfection so that his realization became one with all the buddhas of the three times.

Princess Parani had received transmission of the mind essence from the nirmanakaya Prahevajra and also requested it from her elder brother Rajahasti. The elder Rajahasti summarized the essential meaning for her in a song:

As mind is without aggregates, it doesn’t grow or decay;
As mind is without birth or death, it can’t be wounded or killed;
As everything is contained in mind, mind itself is dharmakaya:
Realizing this is the wisdom of the buddhas.

Thus he sang. Princess Parani understood perfectly what this meant and expressed her own realization as follows:

I am Princess Parani,
For whom enlightened mind does not arise or cease.
Once you realize that mind is free of arising and ceasing,
You attain the view of the conquerors of the three times,
Beyond meeting with or parting from the expanse of realization.

Thus she sang.

Naga King Takshaka, an emanation of a bodhisattva who benefited the nagas, perceived that the wondrous essence of the doctrine, the Great Perfection, had appeared in the human realm. He took birth as the son of the outcaste Apar Dharmujnana and his wife Sagara and was called Naga King or Nagaraja Sitrita. He met the nirmanakaya Prahevajra in person and heard his words. He received the maturing empowerment from the elder Prince Rajahasti and requested Princess Parani for the essence of the teachings.

The princess summarized the essential meaning for Naga King thus:

Don’t block the six sense fields, enjoy them at ease and with joy,
So that whatever you enjoy enhances enlightenment.
Confident in mastering this king of awareness,
The training is to let the six senses remain free.

Thus she sang.

Song about the Meaning of Realization That Was Composed by Princess Parani

After having attained complete realization, Princess Parani, whose secret name was Vajra Elbow Treasure, sang this song at the night lily grove:

The all-ground, primordial nondual enlightened mind,
Unaffected by cause or condition, fearless,
Is the self-existing spontaneously present bhagavan,
The heart of Vajrasattva, beyond subject and object.
Not modified or adulterated, it is the wisdom of Vajrasattva.
I see no other realization but that.
As my illusory aggregates are thus smashed,
Samantabhadra’s great mind treasure has been transmitted.

Source: “Great Image: The Life Story of Vairochana The Translator” compiled by Yudra Nyingpo and other disciples, translated by Ani Jinba Palmo.

Image of “Garab Dorje” by Kay Konrad at Dakini As Art.