The Vajravarahi Tantric Master

I found the story of Vajravarahi (Tibetan: Dorje Pakmo) very interesting and wish to share it here. She is another form of powerful female Vajrayogin.

Vajravarahi is a Dakini & spiritual energy perceived to transmute the Five Negative Afflictions which represent five obstructions which obscure the true nature of the life & obstruct Buddhists as they seek illumination as they journey to enlightenment.

In her form as Vajravarahi, when she is known as ‘the Sow’ she is often pictured with a sow’s head on the side of her own as an ornament and in one form has the head of a sow herself. Vajrayogin is often associated with a triumph over , the pig is associated with ignorance in . This sow head relates to the origins of Vajravarahi from the Hindu sow-faced goddess .

The iconography of Vajra Varahi

The crown of five skulls symbolizes Vajravarahi’s power to transform the five negative afflictions. Vajravarahi_Buddhist Art Tibetan troubles into the Five Pearls of Wisdom. The Sanskrit word kleshaliterally means ‘defilement’ or ‘poison.’ Normally obscured by , , delusion, jealousy & pride often called the five poisons.

The five wisdom levels

  1. Tathata Jana – the ‘non-conceptualizing awareness’ of Sunyata.
  2. Adarsa Jana – the ‘-like Awareness’, ‘devoid of all dualistic thought & in union with its ‘images’ as a mirror is in its reflections’.
  3. Samata Jana – Awareness of Sameness, which perceives the sameness, the commonality of or phenomena,
  4. Pratyaveksana Jana – ‘Investigative Awareness’.
  5. Krtyanusthana Jana – Accomplishing Activities, the awareness that spontaneously carries out all that has to be done for the welfare of beings.

Each of these Wisdom Energies has a unique association with one of the Five Buddha Groups.

The Gesture of Vajra Varahi

Her threatening Tarjani hand gesture also known as Karana mudra is made with a raised index & little finger & by folding the other usually around an object represents her energy aimed at clarifying ignorance. In this case, she clasps a flying knife [Skt. Kartika] symbolizing her breaking the power of materialism. The word Kartika comes from the name of Shiva’s Son.

Her right-hand pours self-regenerating uterine blood into her mouth from a skullcap representing her independence from the material world …including men.

Vajravarahi is painted with a magical tantric staff leaning against her shoulder & which has impaled three heads. The first blue head is a fresh severed, the second redhead is in decay and the third a white skull.

Vajravarahi stands in satyalida position with one leg held aloft & the other trampling on the deity Kalatri representing the ego.

She wears a necklace of fifty human heads as a symbol that she vanquishes the fifty or ‘forms’ she has overcome.

She is shown in a celestial dance position upon an orange sun disc associated with the feminine wisdom aspect & on a representing Great Bliss, and her overall figure is surrounded by a of flames of immaculate .

The trees in the left foreground are the Ashoka Tree. The word Ashoka means without sorrow & is the tree linked to the Vedic of love & sexual union . Apparently, the tree blossoms when a virtuous lady touches it.

She has boar head which shows an link with the Hindu deity Vishnu. Varaha has a boar head & is one of Vishnu’s eight incarnated forms In Hinduism his consort is Bhu .

She wears three flayed animal which relate to the original three poisons traditionally painted in the center of the sometimes known as the Jivan .

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel’. The flayed human skin represents her power over greed, the tiger skin represents her power over hatred and the elephant skin represents her immolation of Ignorance.

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About sadiksha

Namaste! I am a Nepali Art Dealer specialized in Mandala and Thangka paintings. I love to write articles about the monastic culture of the Himalayas.

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