Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Five Mandalas of Five Deities

Karma Kagyu Main Page

Five Mandalas of Five Deities:
- Five Deity Vajravarahi Mandala
- Five Deity Chakrasamvara Mandala
- Five Deity Hevajra Mandala
- Five Deity Shvana Hayagriva Mandala
- Five Deity Green Tara Mandala

The earliest painting example of the Five Mandalas is found in the composition of HAR #94. From the list of five only two of the mandalas are popular and well represented in art. Hevajra in a five deity mandala is extremely rare to fine. The Shvana Hayagriva and Tara with retinue figures were always considered as minor meditational practices and also not commonly found represented in art.

There are many traditions of the Vajravarahi Five Deity Mandala. Typically, in the four directions stand the four attendant Yoginis in the same appearance as Vajravarahi: red Khandaroha, yellow Rupini, green Lama, and dark blue Dakini.

There are many sources and traditions of the Chakrasamvara Five Deity Mandala.

The Five Deity Hevajra Mandala with Vajra Nairatmya likely originates from the Vajra Samputa Tantra. It is not a widespread practice and the iconographic forms are rarely depicted in art.

The mandala of Shvana Hayagriva has four attendant figures. He has three faces and four arms, red in colour, wrathful in appearance, drawing a bow with the first pair of hands. The second pair hold a vajra scepter and lotus blossom. Shvana Hayagriva originates with the Jowo Atisha tradition.

Green Tara Five Deity Mandala with the accompanying retinue figures of Marichi, Maha Mayuri, Janguli, and Ekajati. This configuration of deities is found in the Ocean of Methods of Accomplishment (Sadhansagara, folio 34). Another form of the Five Deity Green Tara with the figures of Pratisara, Marichi, Varahi and Ekajati is found in the Rinjung Gyatsa of Taranata.

Jeff Watt 6-2022

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