© Parvathy Baul & Ravi Gopalan Nair
Bamakhepa is regarded as one of the great Shakta Siddha’s from Bengal.
He resided all his life in the sacred funeral ground of Tarapith in Birbhum District of West Bengal.
He was a devout sadhak of the Divine Mother Tara.
Goddess Tara in Tarapith is considered Smashan Tara i.e. a specific form of the Goddess Tara presiding over the funeral ground.
She adorns an Ugra form, meaning a fierce form. Doing her Sadhana demands great courage and an attitude of fearlessness.
Bamakhepa was called as Khepa, which in Bengali means ‘Mad one’.
His life story evokes deep devotion. He was the contemporary of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Thus the land of Bengal was doubly blessed with two spiritual greats at the same time.
His devotees consider him as the Bhairava of Tarapith.
This woodcut depicts the Bhairava aspect of Bamakhepa.
He is surrounded by dogs who are special beings residing in the funeral ground.
The presence of a Black dog depicts Bhairava tattva.
One can see the pyres burning and in the background a depiction of Tarapith temple can be noted.
During old times, this temple was a simple structure with a main worship space for the Goddess.
However it is difficult to fathom where Her sphere of energy begins and ends as
Her presence pervades all through this sacred funeral ground.
This woodcut print is currently being displayed at the British Museum.