Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Svastika - Bliss Whorl Confusion

Svastika Main Page

A Bliss Whorl (Tibetan: dga' ba 'khyil ba, nor bu dga' 'khyil) is a spiral shaped circle or disc that commonly appears in the four or six corners of a double tetrahedron mandala of Vajrayogini. The whorls can appear on both painted compositions and sculpture. The solitary Naropa Tradition Vajrayogini typically has four whorls with two on the extended corners on the right and two on the left leaving the top and bottom corners empty. The Five Deity Vajrayogini typically has each of the six corners of the outer tetrahedron marked with a whorl.

The bliss whorl in Himalayan and Tibetan art can have a similar appearance to the svastika shape. Because of this similarity between the two shapes it is then possible to misidentify the symbol being observed. It is important to know the differences and also the definition and forms of the bliss whorl.

In modern times the bliss whorl is commonly explained as having three types differentiated by the number of legs (or points), two legs, three legs, or four legs. The two legged bliss whorl is explained as symbolizing method and wisdom. The three legged as representing the Three Jewels, or possibly the three types of beings. The four legged is symbolizing the four joys as explained in the Anuttarayoga Tantra system.

Jeff Watt 5-2013

ནོར་བུ་དགའ་འཁྱིལ་ལའང་གཉིས་ལྡན་དང༌། གསུམ་ལྡན། བཞི་ལྡན་བཅས་ཁག་
མི་འདྲ་བ་བཞི་ཙམ་ཡོད། ནོར་བུ་དགའ་འཁྱིལ་གཉིས་ལྡན་ནི་ཐབས་ཤེས་རབ་མཚོན་བྱེད་
ཡིན་པ་དང༌། ནོར་བུ་དགའ་འཁྱིལ་གསུམ་ལྡན་ནི་སྐྱེས་བུ་ཆེ་འབྲིང་ཆུང་གསུམ་མཚོན་བྱེད་ཡིན་
ཞིང༌། ནོར་བུ་དགའ་འཁྱིལ་བཞི་ལྡན་ནི་དགའ་བ་བཞིའི་མཚོན་རྟགས་ཡིན།
དགའ་བ་བཞི་ནི་དགའ་བ་དང༌། ཆོས་དགའ་བ། ཁྱད་པར་དགའ་བ།
(Online internet source).