“Master Padma then reflected, “I have attained the yoga vidyadhara level of longevity; now I must accomplish the supreme vidyadhara level of mahamudra.” Master Padma then went to the Cave of Yanglesho, situated half way between India and Nepal. It is a very auspicious and blessed place, where flowers do not wither, even in the winter time. Here, he took along Shakyadevi, daughter of the Nepalese King Virtuous, as his mudra and spiritual support in practice.”

~ From “The Lotus-Born, The Life Story of Padmasambhava”

Shakyadevi is one of the five chief female disciples of Padmasambhava, the emanation of Vajravarahi’s mind. Her father was Nepalese king Punyadhara. After her mother died in childbirth she was buried at the charnel ground with her mother’s body. In some mystical way, she was saved by the monkeys. Shakyadevi was endowed with all the signs of a dakini. Later she met Guru Rinpoche and received teachings from him. She became his spititual support and mudra in the meditation on the Nine Deities of Yangdak (Vishuddha Heruka) in Yanglesho (presently known as Pharping, Nepal). The Guru achieved the state of vidyadhara of mahamudra, and Shakyadevi attained the accomplishment of the female buddha Mamaki and finally achieved the indestructible rainbow body.

With the support of Shakyadevi, Guru Rinpoche manifested numerous forms in order to fulfill wishes of his students and became known under twenty different names which show his many supernatural powers.

The encounter between Shakyadevi and Mandarava is narrated in “The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava“:

“For seven days, Mandarava remained in the mountain cave called Asura, and she encountered eight Nepalese people. Among them was a young Nepalese woman wearing many jeweled ornaments. She showed great devotion to the dakini, saying she had never met her before: “O Dakini, where have you come from? What are the names of your parents? What is the name of the master with whom you have been studying? What is your family’s class and lineage? Why have you come here at this time? I request you to please me by answering my queries.”

“This is one who has accumulated great merit in the past,” Mandarava thought to herself. “She is similar to a woman of the lotus family, a sister of the gods.” Omnisciently realizing that the woman’s life was close to ending and that in the future she would be reborn as a dakini who accomplishes the benefit of beings, Mandarava sang this song of Brahma, which spontaneously arose from her throat: “Kye! O noble woman from the land of Nepal! My family class is the royal family of Zahor. My father’s name is King Viharadhara, and my mother is Wangmo Ögema. My name is Princess Mandarava. My spiritual teacher is Guru Padmasambhava of Oddiyana. I am pursuing the path of the nine vehicles of the Buddhadharma. My place of residence is uncertain, as I wander from one charnel ground to another. I have no desire for a husband, who increases and encourages the delusions. My son is the son of the primordial wisdom of great bliss. I have no illusory servants or followers. My Dharma protectors are the dakinis and mamos of this world. I have come to this place to conceal the precious secret instructions that the varja master has given on the essence of the secret mantra. I bring them here as an offering. In three years’ time, you woman, will die. You will be reborn as the queen of the king of Nepal, and your name will be Shakyadevi. You will meet the great Guru Padmasambhava and become a suitable vessel to receive the teachings on the secret mantra. You will then conceal many profound treasure texts to benefit of the red-faced people of the land of Tibet.”

Image:  “Mamaki” from Himalayan Art Resources.