Mahasiddha Lilapa – The Royal Hedonist

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In the rapid succession of the Four Unlimited States,

A king-yogi reigns aemeni of a majestic lion of snow.

The lion has as its crown its turquoise mane of five strands;

The yogi’s crown is the crown of the Buddha’s consciousness.

The ten claws of the lion detach the flesh from the bones of a buffalo;

The ten perfections of the yogi remove the negative powers.

In achieving this, Lilapa gained freedom.



A long time ago, a king of southern India was visited by a wise yogi. The king took pity on the yogi, seeing him weak and poorly dressed: “You probably suffer a lot, wandering from one land to another, in such a pitiful state” said the king sitting comfortably in his lion-shaped throne.

I don’t suffer at all“, replied the yogi. “You are the one who wants mercy

“How so?” asked the king, amused.

You live in fear of losing your kingdom and you are always afraid of the wrath of your subjects. So you suffer. As for me, I cannot be burned, even if I walk through the fire, I do not die even if I swallow poison; and I am free from the suffering brought about by old age and even death. I possess the secret teaching of alchemists on immortality“.

The king, hearing the yogi’s words, was deeply impressed and replied: “It is obvious that it is impossible for me to follow your wandering way of life, but if I can practice a certain type of meditation by remaining on my throne, in this palace, I beg you, give me the necessary guidance.”

Saying this, the king bows before the yogi. The yogi fulfills the king’s wish, and he receives the initiation, from the deity Hevajra, as well as the way in which he must meditate on hevajra’s aspura, after which he enters the state of Samadhi.

After receiving the initiation, the king continued to meditate on his lion-shaped throne, surrounded by queens and ministers, listening to the suave accords of the musicians of the royal court, and resting on the silk pillows of his luxurious palace.

The king became famous, under the name of Lilapa, due to his obvious attraction to sensual pleasures, and to the beautiful forms of women.

Lilapa was instructed to meditate for the first time by focusing on the ring he was wearing in his right hand. After the concentration became stable, he was taught to focus on Hevajra, viewing him surrounded by deities, inside the ring.

When he managed to fix this vision, his realization occurred spontaneously. By the appearance of this understanding, he managed to attain the state of Mahamudra, and to acquire paranormal powers, which were, in this case, only an indication of his exceptional achievement.

The legend of Lilapa proves that it is not necessary to give up completely the pleasures offered by this world, in order to achieve spiritual realization. When the disciple has an intense aspiration, and follows precisely, the instructions of his master, having a favored karma, he can still live, in the midst of the world, being able to enjoy even the sensual pleasures offered by it, but in a different way and perspective than before.

Lilapa became famous for his wonderful acts of selflessness, and eventually obtained the last liberation, in the Paradise of the Dakini.

Although the vast majority of the tantric masters, they had to retreat to the caves, in order to be able to focus and meditate on the ultimate essence, in this case, we notice that these conditions are not always necessary. In his spiritual practice, performed day by day, it is no longer necessary to withdraw from the objects of the senses, because they are no longer perceived as obstacles, but become helpful elements that eventually help the sadhaka to reach the beatific void.

Thus, through a successful initiation, and an adequate guidance from a Guru, already renunciation can become a state of mind and “cave” can mean withdrawal from worldly attachments in the “cave of vacuity”.

As shown and in Hridaya – the sutra, the vacuity is not separated from the form, which implies that the state of Samadhi implies the absorption in the object of meditation – the ring, in the case of Lilapa.

Lilapa’s spiritual realization was made possible primarily by fulfilling certain conditions.

Firstly, finding a Guru, with whom he can have karmic connections and who can prescribe him an adequate practice, secondly, the correct motivation of the disciple, which must be oriented towards the spiritual realization and altruistic service, and thirdly, his karma, must be “ripe”, that is, the disgust for the present situation to be intense.

Stabilizing concentration is an essential element of Lilapa’s spiritual practice. By unifying the creative mode with the filmmaker, reality appears as a game of maya, the dance of the Dakini in all their moods and manifestations. The ideal expression of this vision is hevajra mandala, and hevajra tantra, is a tantra – mother or yogis – tantra, whose last achievement is Mahamudra.

Most likely Lilapa lived in the early part of the ninth century, and as a spiritual line his guru was a disciple of Saraha, probably Nagarjuna.

From an etymological point of view, its name comes from the word Lila which means divine game, describing the state of fascination in front of universal beauties, but also the perception acquired later, on the fact that everything manifests itself as a dance of the Dakini, creating the mirage of cosmic illusion.

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