Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Hevajra, Heruka Page

Hevajra Iconography

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- 1. Posture
- 2. Hand Attributes
- 3. Miscellaneous Characteristics
- 4. Underfoot
- Two-Armed Hevajra Mandala
- Heruka Meaning & Forms
- Masterworks
- Confusions: Chakrasamvara, Mahamaya, Buddhakapala, Nairatmya, Eight Retinue Figures
- Others...

- Heruka Hevajra
- Hevajra: Meditational Deity

Study Topics:
1. Posture:
- Right Leg
- Left Leg
- Two Legs
2. Hand Attributes:
- Vajra
- Skullcup
- Skullcups, Two
3. Miscellaneous Characteristics:
- Katvanga
- Consort
- Other
4. Underfoot:
- Single Figure
- Two Figures
- Four Figures

The Heruka form of Hevajra is generally recognized by the vajra scepter held in the right hand. Alternately Hevajra can also hold two skullcups at the heart. The solitary form can have a katvanga staff resting against the left shoulder. The Hevajra and consort configuration generally is without the katvanga staff. The Two-Armed Hevajra with mandala, often referred to as Solitary or Sole Hero (Ekavira), solitary form (Heruka) and Hevajra with a consort (Sahaja Heruka) are all basically the same and originate from the Hevajra Two Part Tantra. The consort of Heruka Hevajra is the goddess (devi) Dombhi.

[75] Hevajra.
"Shri Heruka, with a body blue in colour, one face and two hands. The right [hand] holds aloft a flaming vajra. The left holds a blood filled skullcup at the heart [and] a katvanga [in the bend of] the elbow, adorned with a pendant and three prongs. Having three round red eyes and slightly bared fangs. Brown hair bristling upwards. Adorned with a garland of human heads and bone ornaments. Wearing a garment of human skin and anointed with body ashes. Standing on a corpse seat in a dancing manner with the right leg extended in a half [vajrasana] posture." (By Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrub (1497-1557. Based on the Bari Gyatsa of Bari Lotsawa Rinchen Drag, 1040-1112 [P3731]).

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Jeff Watt 4-2015 [updated 6-2017, 12-2023]