Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Achala (Buddhist Deity) - Blue, Kneeling

མི་གཡོ་བ། 不动明王(梵名:阿遮罗)
(item no. 100045)
Origin Location Nepal
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Size 43.82x35.56cm (17.25x14in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1996.15.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Achala, Krodharaja (English: the Immovable One, King of the Wrathful).

Very wrathful, blue in colour, with one face, three eyes, brown hair flowing upward and two hands, he holds aloft the flaming sword of wisdom in the right hand. With the left placed at the heart in a wrathful gesture he holds a vajra lasso. Adorned with a crown of skulls and gold and jewel ornaments, earrings and necklaces he wears a scarf of green silk and a lower garment of tiger skin. Kneeling with the left knee pressed down and the right raised he dwells upon a sun and lotus seat as if about to stand, completely surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness atop a throne supported by the four worldly deities, Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and Shiva. The front is adorned with a sword motif. At the right and left sides are four Achalas, all in the same appearance save for the colours, red, yellow, green and white.

"...Lord Achala. The body is blue in colour, one face, two hands, the right brandishing to the sky a sword fiercely flaming with a mass of wisdom fire. And the left at the heart, in a wrathful gesture, holds a vajra lasso wound [around the index finger] with the ends hovering above the shoulder. With bared fangs, biting down on the lower lip, possessing three eyes, the right gazes upward completely eliminating heavenly daemons. The left gazes down, destroying nagas, spirits of disease and earth lords. The middle gazes forward completely eliminating all types of obstacles. Wearing a white snake as a necklace, gathering the power of nagas, spirits of disease and earth lords; with black hair, tied in a black tuft on the crown of the head; with jewel ornaments and various silks as a lower garment. The heel of the right foot and the left knee are pressing down on the seat in a manner of rising; dwelling in the center of a flaming mass of pristine awareness fire." (From a Tibetan text written by Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrup, 1497-1557. See Sanskrit source texts).

Seated at the top are the Five Tantric Buddhas, from left to right, Ratnasambhava, Vairochana, Akshobhya, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi. Below, on both sides are two goddesses with three faces and six hands. Parallel to the throne are two wrathful black goddesses, naked, with one face and two hands holding a stick in the upraised right and a lasso in the left, standing.

At the bottom left is the elephant headed wealth deity Ganapati of the Atisha Lineage, white in colour, with one face and four hands. In the middle is the bodhisattva of wisdom Manjushri, yellow, holding aloft a sword and Prajnaparamita book. At both sides are skullcups filled with wrathful offerings of the five senses. To the right is the wrathful protector Chaturbhuja Mahakala, blue-black, with one face and four hands, seated in a relaxed posture.

Krodharaja Achala is found in the Siddhaikavira Tantra, commonly known as the White Manjushri Tantra of the Kriya classification. It is from here that he takes on his role as a remover of obstacles and the special protector for the practices of Manjushri. In Anuttarayoga, Achala is also known as Chandamaharoshana from the tantra of the same name, and has the same appearance with an added consort and nine-deity mandala. The Kriya Tantra practice of Achala was popularized by Lord Atisha (982-1054), the founder of the Kadampa School and also by Lobpon Sonam Tsemo of Sakya (1142-1182).

There is an effaced inscription on the back of the painting which gives two dates - the first 1275 and the second 1871. This means that the painting was done in 1871 based on a famous old painting from 1275.

Jeff Watt 6-98

Secondary Images
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Buddhist Deity: Achala Main Page
Nepal: Buddhism
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Nepal
Nepal: Dated Art
Buddhist Deity: Achala (Kneeling)
Buddhist Deity: Achala (Kneeling) Page