Mahasiddha Menapa… Mīnapa / Vajrapāda / Acinta (nya bo pa): “The One Swallowed by a Fish”/”The Avaricious Hermit”/”The Bengali Jonah”
Menapa the fisherman on the Bay of Bengal was swallowed by the Leviathan while he was at sea. However, due to his beneficent karma, he survived and set up house in the belly of the great fish.
Being swallowed by the Leviathan was most fortunate for Menapa, as deep down in the depths of the sea, Umadevi, Divine Consort of Siva Mahadeva has constructed an underwater hermitage for Mahadeva to instruct her in his dharma.
The Leviathan took up residence in the neighbourhood, enabling Menapa to listen to the precious words spoken by Mahadeva through the flesh walls of the great fish.
Not long after, Mahadeva discovered Menapa in the Leviathan’s belly, whom at the time was already a faithful pupil.
Mahadeva took him as a disciple and gave initiation to Menapa, it is here that Menapa took the vow, and began a 12 year sadhanas.
At the end of the 12th year, the Leviathan was hunted by fishermen from Sri Tapari, and when they hacked the fish’s belly open,
Menapa emerged. Menapa then told the tale of his capture and initiation, at this, the gathered crowd worshiped him and held a great feast right there, where Menapa had emerged from the sea.
As Menapa danced, he sang:
The source of my magic is twofold;
It arises from the good fortune that accrued
From the virtue of my past lives,
And also from my steady devotion
To the great teachings I have heard.
Ah, my friends, what a precious jewel
Is one’s own mind.
Menapa worked selflessly for others for five hundred years, and through this time, he came to be known as Vajrapada, or Acintapa.
At last, his labours done, he arose bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.