“Bhaktapur : The Tantric City”
It is generally acknowledged that the main objective of Tantra is the achieve salvation. It implies that with the help of Tantra, one can form a wonderful mindset for the attainment of freedom from the entire stages of physical existence. Indeed, when you unleash yourself from the hullabaloo of the physical world and happen to enter this township of Bhaktapur, you will start to feel saintly and simple liveliness foregrounding the scene. It is not any political pressure, but the power of faith that had retained Bhaktapur as the centre of Nepal until the 17th century. Though displaced politically in terms of its centrality, Bhaktapur has been established as the capital of culture, traditions, and tantrik system of reverence to God.
The history records that in this city, kings and common people used to practice tantrik and spiritual exercises without any discrimination in hierarchy, class and gender. Several Malla kings used to play Pasa, a typical traditional gamble, with Taleju, the principal Goddess of Bhaktapur. Following the end of Lichhavi Dynasty in the 9th century, the root of tantric custom spread out profusely in the environs of feast and festivals, sports, artistries, architecture and everyday activities. Bhaktapur literally known as the city of devotees, thus kept itself up for long. The history also records that in the 12th century, King Ananda Dev had this city of 12000 houses built, giving it a shape of lord Vishnu’s Sankha (molluskshell). There are still a lot of evidences, which reflect the reality of the foregoing.
In 1349 AD, Shamsuddin illyas, a muslim king of the TurkishDynasty, attacked Bhaktapur, which resulted in great damage to the city. Its has been found that taking into account the likelihood of foreign attack and even internal rivalry, and also to protect the city from natural disasters, the city underwent a round of restructuring to also spur enhanced living mechanism. For example, Yantrakaar Khwapa De (an apparatus or the body-frame suggesting the dwelling of powerful deities) depicts eight great mothers by the name of Brahmayani, Maheshwori, koumari, Vaishnawi, Varahi, Indrayani, Mahakali and Mahalakshmi is 8 respective power points distributed peripherally, with Tripurasundari placed in the middle of the body frame. The entire body frame is used for the purpose of tantra-based Yogic practice.
It is said that in order to ensure healthy, secured and disease-free populace, proven tantric practitioners sought treatment of various bodily diseases by placing a deity into the core of a healthy human being, who as a representative of God, would provide treatment for the suffering ones. Even to this date, people go to their dya: wathay, a place where god comes, then undergo witchery for the treatment, besides their pledge for freedom from their past faults and safeguard from lawsuits. In the reign of King Suwarna Malla, Nawadurga Nach (nine classic dances of nine female deities emanated from the single Goddess of Power) was introduced with the objective of protecting the people of Bhaktapur from any calamities. The locales still worship the Nawadurga as their living Goddess, and believe that wherever she steps on, the place is blessed to benefit safety, and fertility of land. In the present time in all historical changes, the Nawadurga is being revered. King Tribhuvan, in the aftermath of the restoration of democracy in the country in 2007 BS, and King Mahendra, just before he practiced the autocratic system, had worshiped the Goddess to bless them for their success.
Freed from the shackles of time and well saved from natural adversities, this city of Bhaktapur still remains luminous and noble. Though, at present we are all amid hullabaloo, we must not step behind. Let us make all the shrines and temples of this ancient city sustain and lively as far as possible.