Grimoire of Za-Rahula

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Grimoire of Za-Rahula

This is a mini Grimoire (to coin a western term) of Za-Rahula. There is nothing here which has not been published already in books, articles and on the internet. These are some of my notes that I pulled from a document that I put together a long time ago, so I do not know where most of the information came from, and some of the notes repeat themselves since they are on the same subject from different sources, so forgive the unpolished form of this post.

Rahu became Rahula after being subdued by Padmasambhava from originally being an asura or rakshasa to being a Protector of the Dharma, thus the La at the end, meaning god. Rahu’s father was a Rakshasa and his mother was a Nagini.

In Hinduism Rahu and Ketu are the Dragon’s Head and Tail, the Northern Ascending and Southern Descending Nodes, respectively. These are the live head and truncated body of the demon.  Of black complexion, they control blood and skin. Smallpox, cholera, leprosy, plague and other epidemics are caused by them.  They rule over prostitutes, gamblers and atheists.  Poison is their favorite substance.  Both are malefic.  According to some authorities, Rahu and Ketu are homeless wanderers, but others maintain that Rahu owns Virgo, and Ketu Pisces, houses owned by Mercury and Jupiter respectively.  Venus and Saturn are their friends, and Sun and Moon, enemies; they are neutral towards Mars and Jupiter.  Rahu and Ketu rule the south-west.  From the foregoing, it will be noticed that friendship and enmity are not reciprocal among planets.  Rahu, for instance, loves Venus and Saturn, but Venus has no love for him.

In Hindu mythology, the demon Rahu is said to have stolen into the ranks of the gods while they were feasting on Amrita or nectar.  He sneaked in between Sun and Moon, who were seated together, and these gods, recognizing the fraud, informed Vishnu who was presiding over the feast, about the intruder.  Vishnu immediately cut off the demon’s neck.  The miscreant, however, had already quaffed the nectar which had been served and hence could not die.  So his head remains in the heavens as Rahu and body as Ketu.  He is particularly vindictive against Sun and Moon for having informed against him, and eclipses are said to be caused by his trying to swallow them.

Rahula is the chief Nagaraja or Naga King of the race of Nagas and Naginis, the God/Asura/Rakshasa known variously as gZa, Rahula, Ch-em ch’og, or Acala (immovable). In the Na-Khi Naga Cult he is known as the demon Zaw-ler-ngv-gu.  He is blazing ultraviolet blue/black in colour. This Nagaraja is at the SouthEast of the mandala.  Rahula is a wrathful manifestation of Vajrapani.

In the ancient Bon shamanism gZa is Zaw, or the 9 planets, with Rahula as Rahu the eclipse demon.  His form is a 9-headed Nagaraja crowned with a black crow head, his coils covered with eyes.  In one form he has three heads – one black, one white, and one red.  His six arms hold to the right a sword, vajra, and wheel, and to the left a threatening mudra, snare, and hatchet.  In another form he has nine heads, wrathful ones below and peaceful above.  In his four armed form he holds a Makara staff to the right, snake left, and the two at centre pull a serpentine bow and arrow.  And below the waist he is a twisting serpent surrounded by flames within a fiery quadrangle.

Rahula is one of the principal Guardians of the dZogchen teachings.  His lower body is like that of a snake, while his upper body is covered with eyes, which, together with the further eyes in his nine heads symbolize his ability to see in all directions.  His bow and arrow are ready to strike at enemies, and his many mouths are ready to devour their ignorance.  He is shown surrounded by flames of high energy, as are all Guardians, but Rahula’s power is so intense that the practitioner has already developed considerable mastery. He can be a dangerous ally of potentially overwhelming power if not approached in the right way.  Dorje Legba’s energy is less overwhelming than that of Rahula. He can be approached for assistance with relatively mundane matters, while Ekajati and Rahula are only concerned with matters strictly relating to the teachings and realization.

Here are his 8 naga ornaments –

blue – Sankapalaka – binds the hair

red – Taksaka – forms earrings

striped – Kulika – adorns shoulders

white – Padma – forms necklace

yellow – Huluhulu – forms bracelets

green – Karkotaka – forms brahma thread

nectar – Vasuki – forms girdle

white – Mahapadma – forms anklets

This is from Oracles and Demons of Tibet – The Cult and Iconography of the Tibetan Protective Deities by Rene de Nebewsky-Wojkowitz, which I highly recommend to any student of Himalayan shamanism. It is huge (666 pages) and encyclopedic. I have no idea how he got all this information about seemingly every god from every mountain and valley in old Tibet.

Attributes of gZa-Rahula –

chief of all planetary gods

nine heads topped with raven’s head

which is very poisonous in it’s shadow

three lowest heads of the gshin-je type

are green and look down wrathfully to earth

three middle heads of the bdud type

are blue-red with bloodshot eyes

looking forward into the realm of man

three upper heads of the lha type

are green, red, and white with a peaceful look     gazing up into the sky

four arms holding bow-and-arrow,

makara head on a stick, and a snake

serpentine body covered with eyes

sitting in a fiery triangle or a lake of blood

Thirteen-fold Mandala around gZa-Rahula –

Right – Yab rdo rje srin po –

sits on a throne of bones, dark-blue, nine heads

Left – Yum rdo rje glog ‘gyu ma –

in a lake of blood, dark-red, nine heads

East – Byi nu raja – smake coloured

holding banners with makara and tiger on top

Outer East – gTag srin zor ba’i gdong can –

yellow-white, holding hook

Southeast – Drang srong –

pale yellow, holding nag-pasa and trident

South – Khyab mjug chen po –

dark-yellow, with nag-pasa and makara banner

Outer South – Bam srin dred kyi gdong can –

dark-yellow, with skull topped staff, nag-pasa

Southwest – Bikstipatra –

red, lifts a snake and a razor

West – lJang sden chen po –

dark-green, holding a snare and a chain

Outer West – Kong srin ba glang gi gdong can –

carries and hatchet and a snare

Northwest – Du ba mjug ring –

dark-blue, carries razor and skull cup

North – bDud po rog ti –

dark-blue, holds two snares

Outer North – ‘Brog srin chu srin gyi gdong can –

dark-green, lifts a mount Sumeru

Rahula’s names –

gZa’ mchog rgyal po rahula

Chos skyong gza’ bdud chen po rahula

gZa’ rgod dug gi spu gri

Drang srong gza’ bdud sgra can ‘dzin

Khyab ‘jug sgra gcan ‘dzin

Khyab ‘jug gnam mtsho’i bdag po

Srin po’i rgyal po gza’ bdud rahula

Du ba ‘jug ring

Rogs ste nag po

gNam gyi gza’ chen lha rgod

the wild god, planetary deity of the sky

Bar gyi khab ‘jug rahu’i rtsis

god of the atmosphere between sky and earth

Sa yi ‘phung bye nag mo – Rahu’s shakti/consort

realm of earth, ugly black woman holding

a sickle and a bag of diseases

Je btsum ma Rig ma chen mo   (or)

gZa’ thams cad kyi yum – goddess with Rahu

white body shining like the Moon

adorned with silks and jewels

three faces – red, white, blue with three eyes each

six arms in preaching mudra, blue lotus, vajra,

bow and arrow

retinue of seven goddesses of days of the week

Klu gza’ nag po/mo – in retinue of gZa

gCer bu lag rdum – in retinue, dark blue,

body of a man but the head of a snake,

riding a dragon, holding a snake snare

Yab gcig yaksa dzva la – to right of Rahu

dark red, nine heads, human body, holds staff

Yum gcig klu mo klog khyug ma – on left of Rahu

female with nine frog’s heads, snake body

Za Dud Dug Gi Pu Dri Chhod –

“Poison razor blade Rahula”

gZa-zwa – the planet hat, black cone with raven atop

Some of the links above will take you to Himalayan Art, the Aro Encyclopedia and Wikipedia.

Personal Pujas for Vajrakilaya,  Za-Rahula and Mahakala

I have been working with Vajrakilaya, Za-Rahula and Mahakala for decades in my own personalized way. When there is a thunder and lightening storm I do puja to Vajrakilaya with red candles, mantras, dragon’s blood incense and mudras, rolling one of my smaller older phurbas between my palms. On the day before the new moon I do the same with Za-Rahula, praying for him/her to protect my body, property, car, houses and cats from all disasters and accidents. I say him/her because my oldest rupa appears to be hermaphroditic with breasts. In front of their altar I have red candles, a spiral iron gear disk, meteorite, tektite and two dzi beads. At the new moon I do the same with Mahakala asking for protection from death until it is my time. In front of his altar I have a black candle, kapalas, a kangling, two bone malas and some black beans. I consider Vajrakilaya to be my god of lightening, and Rahula to be my god of tornados and wind storms. Vajrakilaya is the striking energy of fire, and Rahula the sucking energy of the vortex. Mahakala is the sin eater, destroying all negativity.

As a western magickian i also view Za-Rahula as a deity over the Daath sephiroth at the base of the skull between Kether and Tiphareth, between the ajna and throat chakras. He can be visualized as a manifestation of Crowley’s Headless or Bornless One and is as dangerous as Chronzon.

I debated even writing on this subject since this practice is so esoteric, but Za-Rahula is a proud and powerful asura, and I honour him with this post. There are many gods, goddesses, asuras, rakshasas and nagarajas in old Tibet, and most have stayed at home to perhaps fade away as that culture is slowly destroyed. But Za-Rahula is one that I think and feel deserves a place in modern Tibetan Buddhist and even western Magickal practice, if one has the right wisdom and respect and skill.