Himalayan Art Resources

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

རྡོ་རྗེ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་མ། སྣང་བརྙན་ཡོངས། 金刚瑜伽佛母(全图)
(item no. 654)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Sakya
Size 29.85x29.85cm (11.75x11.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1998.5.4
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Vajrayogini Mandala (Tibetan: na ro kha cho ma, dor je nal jor ma kyil khor. Sanskrit: Naro Khechara Vajrayogini Mandala). The Yogini of the Indian Mahasiddha Naropa.

Sanskrit: Vajrayogini Tibetan: Dor je nal jor ma

Red in colour, with one face and two hands she stands with the body arched, left leg bent and the head thrown back, looking up to the pure buddha realm of Khecara. Held upraised to the sky in the left hand is a skullcup and in the right a curved knife extended downwards. Adorned with bone ornaments and a necklace of fifty skulls she supports on the left shoulder a katvanga staff decorated with silk streamers. With the two feet pressing down on the two gods red Kalaratri and black Bhairava she stands above an orange sun disc and lotus blossom completely surrounded by the ring of flames of pristine awareness.

The two crossed red triangles serving as the foundation for Vajrayogini are each bordered with a yellow edge. The two protruding wings at each side contain small white circles. The red geometric form is placed in the middle of a green circle filled with small green and yellow flower motifs surrounded by an outer ring of multi-coloured lotus petals (Skt.: padmavali). Outside of that is the ring of the eight great charnel grounds with small figures, trees and stupas. Surrounding that is a small blue ring with alternating gold vajras and lines (Skt.: vajravali). The outermost ring is composed of the five coloured flames of the fires of pristine awareness (Skt.: jvalavali).

At the top left is the goddess of power, Kurukulla of the Hevajra Tantra, red, with one face and four hands holding a bow and arrow in the first pair and a hook and lasso in the second. She stands on the left leg in a dancing posture wreathed with orange fire. At the right is the power deity, Great Maha Rakta Ganapati, red in colour, emanation of Avalokiteshvara, with one elephant face and twelve hands holding various implements and standing on a blue-black rat; surrounded by flame. At the bottom left is the power deity Takkiraja of the Guhyasamaja Tantra, red, with one face and two hands holding a hook in the right and a lasso in the left - embracing the consort, standing in the middle of the flames of pristine awareness. These deities are known as the Three Great Red Ones of Sakya (Tib.: mar po kor sum). At the bottom right is the Direction Guardian Vaishravana, white, with one face and two hands holding a victory banner and mongoose; riding atop a white snow lion.

Vajrayogini belongs to the 'wisdom class' of Anuttarayoga Tantra and arises specifically from the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras. Popularized by the Indian mahasiddha Naropa, in the Sarma Tradition of Tibet, the practice of Naro Khechari is included amongst 'the 13 Golden Dharmas' of Glorious Sakya. In more recent times the practice has also gained popularity with the Gelug 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 (1092-1158), etc.

The painting style shows a strong Nepali influence indicated by the dominant red and blue-green colours and the intricate floral like background designs.

Jeff Watt 7-98

Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Mandala, The Perfect Circle (RMA)

Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini Mandala Plate (Naropa)
Subject: Svastika - Bliss Whorl Confusion
Mandala: Mandala Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 7
Tradition: Sakya Deity Paintings
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini Main Page
Mandalas: Sakya Tradition
Buddhist Deity: Deities (Female)
Mandalas: Female Deities
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Khechara (Naropa Tradition)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini Mandalas
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Khechari Manadala
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Mandala
Mandala: Ritual Mandala Plate (Wood)
Mandala: Vajrayogini Mandala Plate