Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Universal Deities (Appearance)

Eleven Types of Deities

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Buddhist
- Hindu
- Bon
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

- Universal Deities
- Universal Deities, Part 2

Types of Universal Deities & Gods:
- Avalokiteshvara (male)
- Chakrasamvara: Abhidhana & Dakarnava (male)
- Durga (female)
- Ekajati (female)
- Mahakala (male)
- Mahottara (male)
- Manjushri (male)
- Marichi (female)
- Shiva (male)
- Sipai Gyalmo (female)
- Sitatapatra (female)
- Vajravarahi
- Vishnu (male)
- Vajrabhairava (male)
- Vajravarahi (female)
- Others...

The idea of a universal deity is based entirely on appearance and the narrative relating back to the origin myth of a particular figure such as the Eleven-faced Avalokiteshvara or the Hindu goddess Durga. Some universal deities are created from the powers and abilities of all the other gods combined, or all of the buddhas of an aeon, thus creating a super god or universal deity. Deities such as these are depicted in a unique manner by having multiple heads, arms and legs, often into the thousands. In appearance the deities can be peaceful, semi-peaceful & wrathful, wrathful, along with animal-headed.

The basic criteria to be included in this group of deities is to be described as having one thousand arms, one thousand legs or one thousand heads. Often these deities can have even more faces and limbs. The many faces and limbs represent all of the attributes, qualities, powers and weapons of that deity and possibly all other known deities.

Jeff Watt 8-2014

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