Himalayan Art Resources

Mahakala: Panjarnata (Ghandi Staff Variations)

Panjarnata Iconography

With Staff & Without Staff:
- Solitary: Bent Legs, no 'gandhi staff'
- Solitary: Bent Legs, with horizontal 'gandhi staff'
- Solitary: Bent Legs, with vertical 'gandhi staff'
- Solitary: Bent Legs (Lineages: Arya, Bari, Drogmi, Mal, Rin Zang, Sha Bhadra)
- Solitary: Straight Legs (Lineages: Arya, Ngog)
- Solitary: Straight Legs, no 'gandhi staff'
- Solitary: Straight Legs, with horizontal 'gandhi staff'
- Solitary: Straight Legs, with vertical 'gandhi staff'
- Others...

Panjarnata Mahakala can sometimes appear with a ‘ghandi’ (magical emanation staff) held across the forearms and sometimes without the staff. There are several different iconographic versions of Panjarnata. With respect to attributes the Gayadhara tradition, also known as the Sakya Lamdre, does not depict a ‘ghandi’ staff. The Rinchen Zangpo and Mal Lotsawa traditions describe the staff. With respect to physical bodily appearance the above mentioned traditions depict bent squat looking legs while the Nagarjuna tradition describes the two legs as standing together and straight. Some of the sculptural examples that do not have a 'ghandi' might be missing the staff due to loss over time.

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Jeff Watt 3-2020

(The images below are only a selection of examples).