Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Lokeshvara, Nilakanta (Blue Necked)

Avalokiteshvara (Types & Forms)

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Shiva-Like Figures
- Avalokita Names
- Vishnu (Three Faces)
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

- Nilakanta Lokeshvara, The Blue-Throated One
- Shiva-like Figures

'Avalokita is yellow with one face and two hands, with a blue neck. The two legs are seated in vajra posture, with a meditation gesture holding a skullcup filled with various jewels. The head is adorned with a crescent moon and on the body a blue garland. Wearing an antelope skin on the shoulder and a tiger skin as a lower garment. Together with a jewel [there are] two snakes fastened about the neck [each] facing in an upward direction.' (bod brgyud nang bstan lha tshogs chen bzhugs so. 'jig rten dbang phyug mgrin sngon can ser po. page 490).

The Sanskrit dharani cryptically describes a three faced, four armed, deity with a peaceful face, a lion face, and a boar face similar to forms of Vishnu.

Two compendia compositions, HAR #89177 and #43763, depict many examples of Lokeshvara along with the Nilakanta form. (See an interesting article on the name of Nilakanta, How did the ‘great god’ get a ‘blue neck’?).

Jeff Watt 4-2015 [updated 9-2022]

Source Texts:
84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. Toh 697/905. The Incantation of Nīlakaṇṭha. ནཱི་ལ་ཀཎྛའི་གཟུངས། · nI la kaN+Tha'i gzungs. nīlakaṇṭhadhāraṇī (3 pages).

Sadhanamala Vol. I. Gaekwad's Oriental Series No. 26, 1925 by Benoytosh Bhattacharya, M.A., Ph.D., Rajyaratna M.S. University of Baroda, Baroda. Number 39. Nilakantha Lokeshvara Sadhanam.

Bu-ston. 'MA' folio 355.

bod brgyud nang bstan lha tshogs chen bzhugs so. 'jig rten dbang phyug mgrin sngon can ser po, page 490. ISBN 7-5420-0816-1