Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Panjarnata (Lord of the Pavilion)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 88049)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Sakya and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Victoria and Albert Museum
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

TBRC: W25327

Interpretation / Description

Panjarnata, Vajra Mahakala (Tibetan: dor je nag po chen po, gur gyi gon po. English: the Great Vajra Black One, Lord of the Pavilion), special protector of the Hevajra cycle of teachings and principal protector of the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism. This form of Mahakala arises from the 18th chapter of the Vajrapanjara exclusive explanatory tantra.

"...the great Vajra Mahakala, blazing, with one face, two hands, in the right a curved knife and the left a skullcup filled with blood, held above and below the heart. Held across the middle of the two arms is the 'Gandhi of Emanation.' With three eyes, bared fangs, yellow hair flowing upward, a crown of five dry human skulls and a necklace of fifty wet, blood dripping; adorned with six bone ornaments and snakes; having a lower garment of tiger skin; flowing with pendants and streamers of various silks; in a posture dwarfish and thick, standing above a corpse. To the right is a black crow, left a black dog, behind a wolf, in front a black man, above a garuda, emanations of messengers issue forth, with Akshobhya as a crown, standing in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness." (Konchog Lhundrub, 1497-1557).

At the top center is Heruka Hevajra and consort Vajra Nairatmya. To the right and left sides are eight seated figures in total, Indian and Tibetan lineage teachers. Descending down the viewer's right side is Mgzor Gyalmo and Shri Devi Dudsolma. Descending on the left side are Brahmanarupa Mahakala and Ekajati. At the bottom center is Shri Shmashana Adhipati. At the left and side sides are the Five Activity Deities.

[Activity Protectors] "... Kala Rakshasa with a body black in colour, one face, two hands, the right holds a curved knife, left a blood filled skullcup, wearing a ceremonial human skin and having gold earrings. ... Kala Rakshasi with one face and two hands, the right holds a gold razor, left a skullcup filled with brains and blood, wearing cloths of black silk, and having one braid."

"...the three Putras, brothers and sister. ... Putra, black, one face, two hands, the right holds a sword and the left a blood filled skullcup, adorned with silk trousers and clothes of black silk. ... Bhata, black, with a tiger skin fur coat, holding in the right a wooden stick and in the left a human heart. ... Rakshasi Ekajati (Singmo), holding in the right a gold razor and intestines in the left, blazing fire from the mouth. These five have bodies blue-black in colour, three very fierce eyes, adorned with garlands of bones and a necklace of fifty wet human heads, standing in a manner raging and trembling completely severing harmful ones."

Lineage: Vajradhara, Vajrapanjara Dakini, Brahmin Vararuchi, Pandita Deva Vajra, Shraddha Karavarma, Lochen Rinchen Zangpo, Drag Tengpa Yontan Tsultrim, Mal Lotsawa Lodro Drag, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158), etc.

Alternate Names: Vajra Panjara, Vajra Panjarnata, Panjara, Panjarnata, Panjara Mahakala, Panjarnata Mahakala.

Jeff Watt 9-2021

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Painting Set: Shalu (17th century Atelier)
Mahakala: Panjarnata Masterworks (Painting & Textile)
Tradition: Shalu/Bulug Main Page
Collection of Victoria and Albert Museum