Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Hevajra Iconography

Hevajra Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
Bibliographic reference: Hevajra Tantra
Sanskrit: Hevajra Tibetan: Gye pa dor je
- Explanation of Form
- Hevajra Deity Paintings
- Hevajra & Ten Wrathful Ones
- Heruka: Meaning & Forms
- Hevajra (South-Asia)

Principal Types of Hevajra:
- Hevajra Tantra, Heruka One face, two hands, solitary
- Hevajra Tantra, eight faces, sixteen arms
--- 'Oral Instruction' Iconographic Form
--- Non-standard Iconographic Form
--- Nairatmya Standing on the Right Leg Form
- Samputa Tantra, Shastradhara (holding weapons)
- Samputa Tantra, Horse Face Hevajra (green)
- Dombi Heruka Tradition (red)
- Hevajra with Stacked Heads
- Others...

Hevajra Tantra: (bibliographic reference)
1. One face, two hands, with consort
2. One face, four hands, with consort
3. Three faces, six hands, with consort
4. Eight faces, sixteen hands, with consort
5. Eight faces, sixteen hands ('Torma' Offering Configuration)

Vajrapanjara Tantra: (bibliographic reference)
1. Five Families Hevajra (all with eight faces and sixteen hands)
2. Akshobhya Hevajra
3. Vairochana Hevajra
4. Amitabha Hevajra
5. Ratnasambhava Hevajra
6. Amoghasiddhi Hevajra

Samputa Tantra: (bibliographic reference)
1. One face, two hands, with consort
2. One face, four hands, with consort
3. Three faces, six hands, with consort
4. Eight faces, sixteen hands holding weapons, with consort
5. Donkey-faced Hevajra, sixteen hands, with consort

Buddha Family Forms:
- Akshobhya Hevajra (blue)
- Vairochana hevajra (white)
- Amitabha Hevajra ((red)
- Ratnasambhava Hevajra (yellow)
- Amoghasiddhi Hevajra (green)

Shri Hevajra is a principal meditational deity of the Anuttarayoga classification in Buddhist Tantra. According to the Sakya system Hevajra belongs to the sub-class of 'non-dual' tantra. The Kagyu system classifies Hevajra as 'Wisdom-mother' tantra. From the numerous texts within the cycle of Hevajra the root Tantra of 'Two Sections' is the most important.

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"...Shri Hevajra with a body blue in colour, eight faces, sixteen hands and four legs. The main face is blue, right white, left red, upper face smoky; the two remaining pairs of faces are black. Each face has three eyes and four bared fangs; yellow hair flowing upwards; the top of the head is marked with a vishvavajra. The sixteen hands hold sixteen skullcups. The first right holds a white elephant, the first left holds the yellow God of Earth; these two embrace the Mother. In the second right is a blue horse; third - ass with a white patch; fourth - yellow bull; fifth - ash-coloured camel; sixth - red man; seventh - blue sharabha; eighth - cat with a white patch. In the second left hand is the white God of Water; third - red God of Fire; fourth - green God of Air; fifth - white God of the Moon; sixth - red God of the Sun; seventh - blue Yama; eighth - yellow Holder of Wealth. Each head has a crown of five dry human skulls; and a necklace of fifty fresh heads; six bone ornaments; the two right legs are extended, on the thighs the toes of the two folded left legs are pressing in the half-[vajra] posture in a dancing manner; possessing the nine sentiments of dancing: grace, strength and ugliness; laughter, ferocity and frightful; compassion, fury and peace. In the lap is the mother Vajra Nairatmya, with a body blue in colour, one face, two hands, three eyes; yellow hair flowing upwards; right a curved knife, left holding a skullcup and embracing the father; five dry human skulls as a crown; a necklace of fifty dry [skulls]; five bone ornaments; left leg extended and the right drawn up embracing the father. Both are standing in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness." (Ngagwang Legpa).

"...in the east black Gauri, right hand holding a curved knife, left a rohita fish; south red Chauri, right hand holding a damaru, left a pig; west yellow Vetali, right hand holding a tortoise, left a skullcup; north green Ghashmari, right hand holding a snake, left a skullcup; north-east blue Pukkashi, right hand holding a lion, left an axe; south-east white Shavari, right hand holding a monk, left a monk's staff; south-west purple Chandali, right hand holding a wheel, left a plough; north-west multi-coloured Dombini, right hand holding a vajra, left a wrathful gesture. Also, all have one face, two hands, three eyes and yellow hair flowing upward; naked, adorned with five ornaments of bone; a crown of five human skulls and a necklace of fifty skulls. With the left leg extended and the right in a half-lotus posture, in a dancing manner, they stand in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness." (Konchog Lhundrub).

Jeff Watt 7-2006 [updated 12-2019]

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