58 Wrathful Dieties
The Bardo Thodol, or the Tibetan Book of the Dead as it is known here in the west, is the holiest book among adherents of Tibetan Buddhism. The main purpose of the text is to guide the soul of the recently deceased through the interval between death and the dead’s next life. The book further describes the many peaceful deities that the dead may encounter along the path to their next incarnation. However, among these helpful deities can be found another group of deities known as the 58 Wrathful Deities who are a group of gods and goddesses that have a taste for human blood.
According to the Bardo Thodol, the bloodthirsty Wrathful Deities emerge from the shadows on the eighth day after a person’s death. On the following day the Vajra, or order of blood drinkers, make their appearance. The first vampiric god to present itself is Bhagavan Vajra-Heruka, a fiendish god holding a bloody human scalp in one of his many hands. This deity appears embraced by his mother, Vajra Krotishaurima, who feeds her son’s need for human blood. She dips a shell into the bloody scalp and pours the blood into his thirsty mouth. These two blood sucking fiends may seem nightmarish but the worst is yet to come.
On the twelfth day of the dead’s journey, the bloodthirsty Lotus Order appears. Although they are grotesque to behold, with their multi-limbed bodies, animal heads, and tusk like fangs, they don’t inflict any harm. One deity, a dark green Ghasmari, holds a severed human skull filled with dark crimson blood. This ghoulish being stirs the blood with a dorje before drinking the blood from it. The terror comes to an end on the day when the dead are instructed on how to acknowledge these vampiric gods and goddesses.
It’s believed that encountering these vampiric gods and goddesses are a way to help the soul move on to their next life. It’s bad enough that the fear of death is prevalent among us mere mortals. I can’t imagine adding to that terror with such horrific blood sucking fiends.
The Vampire Princess Of Sikkim
Not all vampires in northern Asia are grotesque, bloodthirsty deities. Some are quite close to the model of what we are familiar with here in the west; the deadly vampire Princess of Sikkim is one such vampire.
In her book, The Vampire in Legend, Lore and Literature, author Davendra Varma details the frightening story of Princess Pedi Wangmo, half-sister of the king of Sikkim, Chador Namgyal. According to the story, Princess Pedi became jealous of her half-brother believing that she could be a much more effective monarch. Princess Pedi knew the only way she could achieve this goal was to murder her half-brother. But she couldn’t do it alone, she needed an accomplice, someone she could easily manipulate.
Pedi Wangmo took her plan to a Tibetan doctor she had met through her brother. After a couple meetings, Pedi and the doctor put their murderous plan into action. As the king lay sleeping, Pedi and the doctor bled the king to death. After gathering his blood in a chalice, Pedi lifted the chalice to her lips and took a long drink. As the blood poured down her throat, Princess Pedi could feel the power of her ancestors coursing through her veins. Sadly, her victory was short-lived.
When the crime was discovered, Pedi and the doctor fled the palace into the mountains. It wasn’t long until the two were captured by the Palace guard and both were put to death immediately.
It was believed Princess Pedi Wangmo rose from the dead and became a vampire. The people of this small Indian state believe she stalks the villages and the Himalayas sating her thirst with the blood of travelers and children. A fresco detailing the dark story of Princess Pedi Wangmo can be found in a monastery on Mt. Kanchenjunga and it is considered to be one of the first vampire stories ever written.
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