Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Legden (Excellent One)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 65208)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1300 - 1399
Lineages Kagyu and Buddhist
Material Metal, Mercuric Gild
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Legden Mahakala, Gandi Nata (Tibetan: beng gon po leg den): a Mahakala of the Nyingma Terma (Revealed Treasure) Tradition.

"... Legden Nagpo, Desire Free Son, with a body blue-black in colour, one face, two hands, three eyes. The right [hand] holds a large sandalwood gandi marked with a jewel. From the upper [portion] of the gandi fire blazes and from the lower [portion] water flows. From inside the gandi a great army of asuras issue. The left [hand holds] at the side an iron [bowl] filled with various diseases. Wearing a thick upper cloak and tied with a gold belt, wearing boots, a crown of five dry skulls and having a necklace of fifty wet heads, adorned with snakes, three staring eyes, bared fangs and a curled tongue, black flowing eyebrows, moustache and hair, standing with the right leg bent and the left straight in the middle of a blazing mass of fire." (Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje 1646-1714 and Minling Lochen Dharmashri 1654-1718. Tibetan source text 'dod 'jo bum bzang, Part II, page 149-150).

Tibetan Source Text

This form of Mahakala has traditionally been referred to by Western scholars as Danda Mahakala. The Tibetan word 'beng' has been translated back into the original Sanskrit as both 'gandi' and 'danda'. Both Sanskrit words refer to a wooden stick although each has a more precise meaning defining the type of stick and its use.

Lineage: Vajradhara, Vajrapani, Shantigarbha, Rombuguhya, Dragtung Nagpo, Gegpa Dorje, Vasudhara, Nubchen, Drang Nga Kundrag, Soban Bum Drag, Kyoban Tuchen, Che Dode Sengge, Rongpa Gvalo, Che Loden Sengge, Lama Siu Chungpa, Jamyang Ringyal, Chogyal Palzang, Chokyong Gyaltsen, Chokyong Rinchen, Tsarchen [Losal Gyatso, 1502-1556], etc. (Tibetan source text page 30). Note that this lineage is identical to that of Mahakala Vyaghra Vahana.

Jeff Watt 4-2004

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Tibet: Densatil (Masterworks)
Buddhist Protector: Mahakala Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Sculpture (Gallery 1)
Tibet: Densatil (Protectors)
Mahakala: Legden (Bhagavat, Excellent One)
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 2
Collection of RMA: Selected Sculpture
Tibet: Densatil Monastery Style Sculpture
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Densatil Sculpture
Tibet: Densatil (Mahakala)
Subject: Masterworks (Miscellaneous Topics, 多種科目)
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection (Sculpture)
Mahakala: Legden (Bhagavat) Masteworks
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Mahakala Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Mahakala Sculpture Masterworks