Standing Fudo Myō-ō (11th century) - King of Mystical Knowledge and One Really Mean god…
The Myō-ō are warlike and wrathful deities that appear with furious faces and fire to frighten non-believers into accepting the teachings of Esoteric Buddhism. Introduced to Japan in the 9th century by Japan’s Shingon and Tendai sects, the Myō-ō were originally Hindu deities. Elaborate and secret ritual practices are used to help partitioners develop and realize the eternal wisdom of the Buddha.This form of Buddhism is not taught to the general public, but is confined mostly to Buddhist believers, priests and those far along the path toward enlightenment.
Curious History: The Rat Temple and the Legend of Karni Mata, the Rat Goddess
Karni Mata, a matriarch from the 14th century was a reincarnation of Durga, the goddess of power and victory. Legend has it that Karni Mata’s stepson drowned in a water tank he was attempting to drink from. Karni Mata implored Yama, the god of death, to revive him. Yama informed her that he could not because had already been reincarnated as a rat. Karni Mata made a deal with Yama that all of her children and tribespeople would be reincarnated as rats and he agreed.
The Karni Mata Temple at Deshnoke, 30 km from Bikaner, India, was completed in the early 20th century by Maharajah Ganga Singh. The Maharajah had a vision where Karni Mata appeared to him and asked him to protect her rats. So he built the temple as a tribute to the rat goddess and a place for her rats to dwell.
The temple is famous for the approximately 20,000 rats that live, and are revered in, the temple. If one of the rats is killed, it must be replaced with one made of solid gold. Eating food that has been nibbled on by the rats is considered to be a “high honor”.
Out of all of the thousands of rats in the temple, there are a few white rats, which are considered to be especially holy. They are believed to be the manifestations of Karni Mata herself and her four sons. Sighting them is a special blessing and visitors put in extensive efforts to bring them forth, offering prasad, a sweet holy food.
Kedareshwar Cave - India
Local legend holds that when the fourth pillar breaks, the world will come to an end. The cave of Kedareshwar, in which there is a big Shivling, is totally surrounded by water. The Shivling (also known as Lingam) is a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva used for worship in temples. Whether the lingam symbolizes the physical body of the god or something purely spiritual is the topic of many a century-old debate within Hinduism. The total height from its base is five feet and the water is waist-deep. It is quite difficult to reach the Shivling, as the water is ice-cold. There are sculptures carved out of the rocks here. In monsoon seasons, it is not possible to reach this cave, as a huge stream flows across its path.