Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Hevajra (Buddhist Deity) - (Hevajra Tantra)

ཀྱེ་རྡོ་རྗེ། ནང་ལྷ། 喜金刚(佛教本尊)
(item no. 53404)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Sakya and Gelug
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Male

TBRC: P25326

Interpretation / Description

Hevajra with the consort Nairatmya and eight accompanying goddesses. (See the Hevajra Main Page, Outline Page, Resource Page).

Semi-wrathful, blue in colour with eight faces, sixteen hands and four legs, at each side of the main face are three further faces with the eighth situated centrally above - brown in colour. Orange hair flows upward like flame from each of the heads. White skullcups are held in sixteen hands. The eight on the proper right of Hevajra hold various animals looking inward and the eight on the left hold the eight worldly gods gazing outward. The first pair of arms folded at the heart embrace the consort. Adorned with a crown of five skulls, bone ornaments and a necklace of fifty freshly severed heads he has the appearance of being slightly wrathful and slightly peaceful. The consort Vajra Nairatmya, dark blue in colour, has one face and two hands. In the upraised right she holds a curved knife. Adorned with a tiara of five skulls, a necklace of fifty skulls and white bone ornaments, she is supported by the left leg with the right embracing Hevajra. Hevajra, standing on two legs, right and left, with the two remaining legs drawn up in a dancing stance, atop the forms of four Hindu gods, a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus seat, is completely surrounded by the orange and red flames of pristine awareness.

Surrounding Hevajra are the Eight Goddesses starting from the bottom left and moving clockwise are (3) yellow Vetali holding a tortoise, (4) white (multi-coloured) Dombini holding a vajra and performing a wrathful gesture, (5) green Gashmari holding a snake, (6) blue Pukkashi holding a lion and an axe, (7) black Gauri holding a fish, (8) white Shavari holding a monk, (9) red Chauri holding a damaru drum and a pig and (10) blue Chandali holding a wheel and a plough.

Each of the Eight Goddesses have one face and two hands holding various objects, adorned with bone ornaments, a necklace of fifty skulls and stand above a corpse, sun disc and lotus seat. In the Hevajra Cycle of Tantras the immediate female and male retinue figures are always referred to as goddesses and gods (devi/deva) because that is how they are referred to in the literature. The references to gods and goddesses also relates to the origin myths of the deity Hevajra and the subjugation of various indigenous Indian gods and their consorts. However, in the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras the male and female retinue figures are uniformly referred to as dakas and dakinis, again because of the origins narratives found in the source literature.

At the top center is the primordial Buddha Vajradhara, blue in colour, holding a vajra and bell crossed at the heart. On the proper right side is the mahasiddha Saroruhavajra and on the left side is Virupa. On the right again is Khon Konchog Gyalpo, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo and Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen. All three are laymen and wear multi-coloured clothes, along with long hair or beards. On the left side of Vajradhara are Pandita Gayadhara, Lhachen Drogmi [Lotsawa] and Khedrub Geleg Pal Zangpo.

At the bottom center is Panjarnata Mahakala, blue-black in colour, with one face and two hands holding a curved knife and skullcup with a 'gandhi staff' placed horizontally across the forearms.

Panjaranata Mahakala is the protector for the Shri Hevajra cycle of Tantras. The iconography and rituals are found in the 18th chapter of the Vajra Panjara Tantra (canopy, or pavilion) a Sanskrit language text from India, and an exclusive 'explanatory tantra' to the Hevajra Tantra itself. It is from the name of this tantra that this specific form of Mahakala is known. 'Vajra Panjara' means the vajra enclosure, egg shaped, created from vajra scepters large and small - all sizes, completely surrounding a Tantric Buddhist mandala. The name of the Tantra is Vajra Panjara and the name of the form of Mahakala taught in this Tantra is also Vajra Panjara. The full name for the protector is Vajra Panjara Nata Mahakala.

Jeff Watt 2-2011

Greyscaled & Numbered
1. Shri Hevajra
2. Nairatmya
3. Vetali
4. Dombini
5. Ghashmari
6. Pukkashi
7. Gauri
8. Shavari
9. Chauri
10. Chandali
11. Vajradhara
12. Sararuhavajra
13. Virupa
14. Drogmi Lotsawa
15. Khon Konchog Gyalpo
16. Sachen Kunga Nyingpo
17. Dragpa Gyaltsen
18. Sakya Pandita
19. Kedrub Geleg Pal Zangpo
20. Panjarnata Mahakala

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Hevajra Main Page
Collection of WGA