Himalayan Art Resources

Indian Adept: Virupa (Six Forms)

Virupa Iconography

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Six Forms Description (below)
- Six Forms Ngorchen Page
- Sculpture Set
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

- Virupa: Lord of Yoga
- Virupa & Shrisimha Confusion

Six Forms:
- Holding the Sun
- Stopping the Ganga
- Dharma Teaching
- Creating Gold
- Splitting the Image
- Subduing the Tirtika Gods.

According to the Sakya Tradition there are six principal iconographic forms of Virupa which correspond to six major events in his life story. The images below are all depictions either as a central figure, mural, or minor figure in a painting. Several paintings depict all six forms in a single composition such as the painting of Ngorchen, Ngorchen & Lineage, Ushnishavijaya, Vajradhara.

The Six Forms of Shri Virupa
by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo

"Om svasti! The Six Forms of Sri Virupa. [1] Holding the Sun. [2] Stopping the Ganga. [3] Dharma Teaching. [4] Creating Gold. [5] Splitting the Image. [6] Subduing the Thirtika Gods.

[1] First: with the body brown in colour, the right [hand] is in a threatening gesture, the left holds a nectar filled skullcup to the heart, seated in lalitasana. [2] Second: the body colour is blue-black, the palm of the right hand presses down on the seat, the left in a threatening gesture held upwards, in sattvasana. [3] Third: the two hands are held at the heart in the Dharma Teaching mudra, seated in sattvasana. [4] Fourth: the right [hand] presses on the seat, the left in a fist above the left knee, the two legs in a relaxed posture. [5] Fifth: the right hand is raised to the forehead in prayer, the left resting on the seat, in sattvasana. [6] Sixth: the thumbs of the two hands press on the two little fingers performing the three pronged vajra mudra, and those two are held at the heart, the left ring-toe presses on the right ring-toe. The first is not, but think that all the others are either blue-black or sky blue. [ ... ]

Compiled by the Yogi Rinchen Dorje from the diverse teachings of the Sakya Gongmas." (Collected Works, Vol.1, pgs.133-1-5, Poti Marchung, fol.435-436).

[Written by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382-1457). Translated by (copyright) Jeff Watt, Vancouver, Canada, May 1989, Rev: October 5, 1999]

Jeff Watt [updated 3-2019]