Snow Leopards Of Tibet
Snow Leopards Of Tibet
Their coats of arms bore the emblem of the snow leopard guardian of the Himalayan holy land. Tara was the wife of Gesar of Ling whose superhuman life was legendary. He fended off the evil minions of Māra the demon who tempted Buddha under the Bodhi Tree. The sorcerer of evil was no match for Siddhartha.
But one summer day in the high Himalayas Māra saw the Tibetan Goddess Tara bathing in the Brahmaputra River on the outskirts of Lhasa. Māra instantly changed form to a bodhisattva and told her there was an evil asura approaching who would tempt her into an affair that would ruin her marriage to Gesar. The only way to resist this asura was to be tied to a tree so that her venal nature could resist this asura’s advances.
So she submitted to Māra in disguise and allowed him to bind her to the tree. Gesar felt his wife’s distress and flew like a bird to her. Māra held a dagger to Tara’s throat and demanded Gesar abdicate as his ransom. Gesar gave Māra the illusion of Tara being tied as he released her from bondage. With magic swift as eagle’s wings he summoned a battalion of Devas to escort Māra back to be preyed upon by hungry ghosts.
Gesar took Tara in his arms and flew her back to his castle. There he comforted her with yak butter tea as his courtiers fed them flour milled from roasted barley, called tsampa, which was the staple food of Tibet.
And so one day his cherished queen Tara gave up the ghost. But soon she reincarnated into the Green Tara. Her rebirth was not through the womb but instead she awakened from heaven fully grown and an adult. Even with her strange manifestation Gesar took her into his arms as the woman he called his wife.
Verocana, lord of demons, overcame Gesar and Sakka, lord of gods, with his asuras that found Gesar’s wife, Tara, hiding in a closet her husband instructed during his greatest battle. So Gesar’s forces were besieged until finally, Verocana brought Gesar before him where to Gesar’s heartbreak his dearly beloved wife Tara was held prisoner by a group of asuras.
Verocana proclaimed, “I will sire a mighty dynasty with your beautiful wife.”
Gesar replied, “You have yet to overcome my reinforcements. They are on their way as we speak.”
Verocana said, “Your wife will be chained and marched naked through the streets of Lhasa. I expect a big attendance for this parade of the century.”
Gesar replied, “Give me back my wife and you may govern one of the principalities of this kingdom.”
A giant bat swooped upon Verocana from the grey sky and bit him in his neck until his body collapsed.
Gesar said, “You weren’t expecting a Deva in the form of a bat.”
Verocana’s legion retreated over the horizon as Gesar carried Tara back to the palace. Gesar told her, “I wouldn’t blame you if you washed your hands of men after that.”
“I can tell a scoundrel from a gentleman by the way he sips his yak butter tea. Table manners are more important than wealth for women.”
Gesar replied, “Your modest dress attracted me to you before I knew you were a Goddess.”
She said, “Did my long sleeves indicate virtue? If so I will wear them in the heat of summer.”