Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Pancha Raksha Iconography

Pancha Raksha Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Visual Outline
- Tibetan Iconography
- Nepalese Iconography
- Individual Figures (Bari, Sadhana-samucchaya, etc.)
- Five Deity (Atisha, Bari, etc.)
- Thirteen Deity (Vajravali)
- Fifty-six Deity (Bari Lotsawa)
- Mitra Gyatsa (Mitra Yogin)
- Mandalas
- Single Composition (Five Deities)
- Confusions
- Others...

- Pancha Raksha: Introduction
- Pancha Raksha: Continued
- Pancha Raksha: A Masterwork Painting
- Mahamayuri

There are differences between the Tibetan iconographic traditions and the Nepalese traditions. The principal traditions of Tibet come from Jowo Atisha and Bari Lotsawa. Aside from those two teachers there are other minor traditions with variations in the number of faces, arms, and colours.

Textual Traditions:
- Bari Gyatsa
- Sadhana-samucchaya (Drubtab Gyatso)
- Sadhanamala
- Patsab Gyatsa
- Nartang Gyatsa
- Vajravali
- Mitra Gyatsa
- Others...

- The Five Pancha Raksha (Bari):
- Maha Pratisara: Four faces, eight hand, yellow in colour.
- Maha Sahasrapramardini: One face, six hands, white in colour.
- Mahamayuri: Three faces, six hands, green in colour.
- Sitavati: One face, four hands, red in colour
- Mantramanudharani: One face, four hands, blue in colour.

Bari Gyatsa Descriptions: HAR #73293, 90764, 65444, 94265, 94362
[61] Maha Pratisara: from the "Vairochana Net of Illusion" [Tantra] arose Pratisara as the chief [deity] of the Five Protectors [Pancha Raksha].
Maha Pratisara, [with] a body yellow in colour, four faces and eight hands. The main face is yellow, the right white, the left red and behind blue. Each face has three peaceful eyes. The four right hands hold, a sword, wheel, trident and arrow. The four left, a vajra, lasso, axe and bow. Having peaceful ornaments and garments. Seated in a manner of ease with the left leg extended.

[62] Maha Mayuri [Pancha Raksha]. (See four side figures)
Maha Mayuri, green, with three faces and six hands. The main face is green, the right black [and] the left white and each face has three eyes. The three right [hands] hold, a peacock feather, arrow and [gesture of] supreme generosity. The three left [hold], a jewelled yak-tail fan, bow and vase held at the side. With the moon as a backrest, wearing peaceful ornaments and garments. Seated in the half [vajrasana] posture.

[63] Maha Sahasrapramardana [Pancha Raksha].
Maha Sahasrapramardana, white, with one face and six hands. [The three] right [hands] hold, a sword, arrow and [gesture of] supreme generosity. The left [hold], a bow, lasso and axe. With a moon supporting the back and having peaceful ornaments and [a peaceful] appearance. Seated in a manner of ease.

[64] Maha Mantramanudharin [Pancha Raksha].
Maha Mantramanudharin, [with] a body blue-black in colour, one face and four hands. [The two] right hold, a vajra and [the gesture] of supreme generosity. [The two] left, a staff and the wrathful gesture together with a lasso. With the sun as a backrest, the ornaments and manner of sitting are the same as before.

[65] Maha Sitavati [Pancha Raksha].
Maha Sitavati, [with] a body red in colour, one face and four hands. [The two] right hold a garland and [gesture of] supreme generosity. The left, a hook and a book held to the heart. [Having garments and adornments] the same as the others.

An Ocean of Methods of Accomplishment
99. Pratisara, Maha, Yellow with Four Faces and Eight Hands
100. Mayuri, Maha, Red with Three Faces and Six Hands
101. Sahasra Pramardhana, Maha, White with One Face and Six Hands
102. Mandramanusari, Maha, Blue-black with One Face and Four Hands
103. Sitavani, Maha, Red with One Face and Four Hands
104. Pancha Raksha, Pratisara, White with Four Faces and Eight Hands; Five Deities
105. Pancha Raksha, Pratisara, Yellow with Three Faces and Ten Hands; Five Deities

Nartang Gyatsa (the same image is used to represent all five figures)
26. Pratisara (Three faces, ten hands)
27. Maha Mayuri
28. Maha Sahasrapramardani
29. Mantranudharani
30. Maha Sitavati

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Jeff Watt 5-2005 [updated 4-2017, 1-2020]