Himalayan Art Resources

Definition: Mahasiddha (Indian Adept)

Mahasiddha Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Mahasiddha Definition (below)
--- Three Basic Meanings
--- Three Functions in Art
--- Three Types of Appearance
--- Three Groupings
- Confusions
- Others...

- Mahasiddhas: Three Groupings
- What are Mahasiddhas: Question 1
- What is 'Mahasiddha' in Buddhist Art: Question 2

There are three basic meanings to the term mahasiddha with regard to Himalayan art and religious context. There are three principal functions that the depictions of mahasiddhas have in art. There are three principal types of appearance that mahasiddhas can have: lay person, monastic and siddha appearance.

Mahasiddha (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: ): great (maha) accomplished one (siddha), or great [spiritually] accomplished one, also known as Indian adepts. They are the principal Indian teachers of Hindu and Buddhist Tantra. A mahasiddha can be any great religious teacher that is credited with having special attainments and powers. Although most of the famous mahasiddha are from India, there are a number from bordering countries such as Luipa (Tibetan: ) and Aryadeva (Tibetan: ) from Sri Lanka, and Suvarnadvipa from the Golden Land (Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia).

Jeff Watt 4-2006 [updated 5-2017, 10-2020]

(The images below are only a selection of examples selected from the links above).