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A princess of Zahor also known simply as the White Princess (Tib., lha lcam dkar mo), Mandarava was one of the five consorts who practiced and studied with Padmasambhava. In terms of historical time, Mandarava was actually the first of these five, chosen and initiated when she was 16 years old (in India, a number symbolizing perfection).

In due course and by diligent practice, Mandarava attained a degree of mastery equal to that of her consort, a fact given expression in her honorary title of Machig Drupa Gyalmo (ma gcig grub pa'i rgyal mo), Singular Queen Mother of Attainment. Compassionate and loving by nature, she also saved the life of young Kalasiddhi - and helped her grow up - who later became another of Padmasambhava's favorite ladies.

Her full name, Mandarava Flower (Tib., man da ra ba me tog), refers to one of the five mythical trees said to grow in Sukhavati.

The legendary tale of Tso Pema, one of the holy sites included in the itinerary of the pilgrimage, was retold by H.H. the XIIth Gyalwang Drukpa in the book "A Tribute to Naropa and His Lineage":

"In the 8th century AD, the king of Mandi had a beautiful daughter, Princess Mandarava, born with all the signs of a dakini. Although she was not born a Buddhist, she was interested only in solitary retreat, away from the samsaric obstacles of marriage and other activities. She became a nun on reaching adulthood. Her father, who was worried about the possibility of his daughter disrobing which would affect the kingdom's reputation, sent five hundred ordained nuns to live with her, to practice with her and to guard her from male suitors.

When Guru Padsambhava journeyed from the Swat Valley (located in present-day Pakistan) to Tibet, he stopped at Mandi and discovered Princess Mandarava to be a suitable spiritual companion. The princess and her entourage became disciples of Guru Rinpoche. A local shepherd discovered them and news of the princess living with a man finally reached the ears of the king. He was so outraged that he commanded that his daughter be stripped and wrapped in thorns, and locked in the dungeon near the river. At the same time, he demanded that Guru Rinpoche be burned in the charnel grounds high in the mountains, while he watched the smoke from the Royal Park.

Guru Rinpoche turned the fire into a lake and reappeared on a lotus. The sight of this converted all the witnesses into following Buddhadharma, and when the king knew about it, he too became the Guru's follower. Immediately, he ordered that the princess be released from the dungeon. The lake became known as Tso Pema, or the Lotus Lake, and is also commonly known as Rewalsar."



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