Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Vajrayogini (Buddhist Deity) - (Naropa Tradition)

རྡོ་རྗེ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་མ། སྣང་བརྙན་ཡོངས། 金刚瑜伽佛母(全图)
(item no. 530)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Sakya and Buddhist
Size 58.42x38.10cm (23x15in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1996.31.16
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Vajrayogini, Naro Khechari (Tibetan: dor je nal jor ma, na ro kha cho ma) from the lineage of the Indian mahasiddha Naropa.

Sanskrit: Vajrayogini Tibetan: Dor je nal jor ma

With one face and two hands, she is red in colour and naked. With the left hand she holds aloft a skullcup from which she drinks with an upturned face. The left hand, pointed downwards, holds a curved flaying knife with a gold vajra handle. Resting on the left shoulder is a vajra tipped katvanga staff. Adorned with various bone ornaments of a tiara, girdle, bracelets and a necklace of dry skulls and the like, she wears a dark green scarf wafting about the upper body and limbs. Standing above the forms of the two deities red Kalaratri and black Bhairava, a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus, she is completely surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness.

At the top center is Vira Vajradharma, red, holding a damaru drum in the right hand and a skullcup to the heart with the left, cradling a katvanga staff in the bend of the elbow; in a seated posture. To the left is an Indian mahasiddha flying in the air holding a damaru in the right hand and a skullcup in the left. These iconographic characteristics are usually those of the Indian mahasiddha Kanha of the Chakrasamvara lineage, however in this case it is unclear who is being portrayed although it is most likely the mahasiddha Naropa. On the right is Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158), wearing the attire of a layman, with the right hand in the gesture of generosity and the left holding the stem of a lotus to the heart. Below and on each side are two Gelugpa lamas wearing monastic robes and yellow pandita hats, in a seated posture.

At the bottom left is the wealth deity yellow Jambhala with one face and two hands holding in the right a bijapuraka fruit and in the left a mongoose expelling jewels. On the right is the standing black Jambhala, naked and semi-wrathful, holding a skullcup in the right hand and a mongoose in the left. Various wish-fulfilling jewels are arranged in front. The background portrays a rich verdant landscape of grasslands and green mountains.

Vajrayogini belongs to the 'wisdom class' of tantra and arises specifically from the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras. In Tibet the practice is included amongst the 13 Golden Dharmas of Glorious Sakya. In more recent times the practice has gained popularity in the Gelugpa School.

Distant Lineage: Vajradharma, Vajrayogini, Mahasiddha Ghantapada, Tengipa, Antarapa, Tilopa, Naropa, etc.

Near Lineage: Vajradhara, Vajrayogini, Naropa, the Phamtingpa brothers, Lokkya Sherab Tseg, Mal Lotsawa Lodro Dragpa, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, etc.

Jeff Watt 7-1998

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Tradition: Gelug Deity Paintings
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery III
Tradition: Sakya Deity Paintings
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Deities (Female)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Khechara (Naropa Tradition)