Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Ganapati, Ragavajra (Atisha Tradition)

Ragavajra Ganapati | Ganapati Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Ragavajra Ganapati Description (below)
- Atisha
- Nyingma Traditions: HAR #207
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

Ragavajra Ganapati originates in Tibet with the tradition of Jowo Atisha in the 11th century. In general, Buddhist forms of Ganapati function as wealth deities within the Tantric system. This specific form of Ganapati is clearly the most sexually explicit and possibly the most 'pornographically outrageous' in all of Tantric Buddhism. The best work is certainly the sculpture with clear distinctions between the three faces along with detail and movement in the limbs seen from the front and back. Three images of a mural have also been added from one of the smaller chapels in the Gyantse Kumbum.

"...glorious Ganapati, Ragavajra, body colour white, three faces, the main face is that of an elephant, the right a mouse, the left a monkey. With six arms the three right hold a vajra, turnip and sword. The three left hold [Indian] sweets, a skullcup filled with alchohol and a battle axe. The two back legs are placed [with one] bent and the other extended. The two inside legs are folded ... Adorned with jewels, a lotus garland and naked." (From a text in the tradition of Jowo Atisha, sgrub thabs kun btus vol.8).

Jeff Watt 3-2012 [updated 1-2019]