All you need to know about Brahmarupa Mahakala
Brahmarupa, a benign form of the wrathful deity Mahakala, is shown as a bearded nomadic ascetic, sitting on a corpse, wearing a bone apron, and holding a thighbone trumpet and a skull cup.
Table of Contents
- 1 - Who is Brahmarupa Mahakala?
- 2 - Life of Brahmarupa Mahakala
- 3 - Iconography of Brahmarupa Mahakala
- 4 - Depicting Buddhist Protector Brahmarupa Mahakala Thangka
- 5 - Brahmarupa Mahakala with Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja Thangka
- 6 - Brahmarupa Mahakala with Vaishravana Thangka
Who is Brahmarupa Mahakala?
Mahakala Bramanarupa is one of over 70 different deities of the Mahakala type. These are wrathful deities particularly adept at quelling monsters and overcoming demons, whether they be outer, inner, or secret. Some deities, such as Avalokiteshvara have their own Mahakala form.
Gonpo takes the guise of a brahman to appear in the world of ordinary beings. This Mahakala is from the Sakya Ngor Monastery located to the southwest of Lhasa where he is honored as one of their patron deities. Brahman refers to the priestly caste in the traditional Hindu system, which stressed purity. Although no longer accepted today, traditionally caste was linked to one’s skin color the high caste brahmans had light skin, lower castes had dark skin.
The Buddha strongly objected to this concept and stressed the importance of a person’s heart and mind over their external characteristics determined by birth. In the Buddhist concept, you were of a high caste if you had pure altruistic motivation.
You were of a low caste if you were harmful to others. By showing a dark-skinned brahman in such close proximity to corpses and other impurities, this manifestation of the deity aggressively confronts the racism of the traditional caste system and conveys the message that one cannot be polluted by death or outward appearances. In Buddhism, the only pollution rests within.
Life of Brahmarupa Mahakala
In this section, we are going to learn about the life of Brahmarupa Mahakala, after that, the short etymology of Brahmarupa Mahakala itself.
Brahmarupa Mahakala is a benign form of the wrathful deity Mahakala. He is credited with introducing the Hevajra Tantra.
Brahmarupa Mahakala is known as gon PO dram ze in Tibet. Brahmarupa Mahakala is also known as the Mahakala who appears in the form of a Brahman in English.
Iconography of Brahmarupa Mahakala
Brahmarupa Mahakala is appearing as an Indian Brahman. Brahmarupa Mahakala is dark brown in color. He has one face and two hands.
The right hand of Brahmarupa Mahakala holds a human shin-bone trumpet. The left hand of Brahmarupa Mahakala upraised a human skull filled with blood. The hair, beard, and eyebrows of Brahmarupa Mahakala are white.
He wears bone ornaments, intestines, and human skin he sits atop a human body.
Depicting Buddhist Protector Brahmarupa Mahakala Thangka
The thangka of Buddhist protector Brahmarupa Mahakala is from Tibet. It is made between 1700 to 1799 AD. Brahmarupa Mahakala is from Sakya, Ngor (Sakya), and Buddhist lineages. The base of the painting is ground mineral pigment on cotton. Currently, this thangka is in the Asian art museum of san Francisco.
Vajradhara is presented directly above the thangka. Vajradhara is floating on the clouds. Vajradhara is blue in color. Vajradhara is the ultimate primordial Buddha or Adi Buddha.
Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo
Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo is presented to the proper right side of the central figure in the thangka. Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo is in the seated position. Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo was one of the most influential of all Sakyapa masters and is credited with founding the Ngor subschool.
The Sakya Lama is presented on the proper left of the thangka. Sakya Lama is wearing a white lower robe.
Brahmarupa Mahakala with Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja Thangka
The thangka of Buddhist protector Brahmarupa Mahakala with Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja is from Tibet. It is made between 1600 to 1699 AD. Brahmarupa Mahakala with Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja is from the Sakya lineage. The size of the painting is 57.15×43.18cm. The base of the painting is ground mineral pigment on cotton. Currently, this thangka is in the Rubin museum of art.
By depicting this thangka, we are going to learn about the presentation of Brahmarupa Mahakala with Green Tara and Lama.
Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja is presented directly above the thangka. Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja is floating on the clouds. s Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja is orange in color.
Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja has three faces and six hands. Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja is embracing the consort.
Green Tara is presented on the right side of the thangka. Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja is the female figure.
Brahmarupa Mahakala with Vaishravana Thangka
The thangka of Buddhist protector Brahmarupa Mahakala with Vaishravana is from Tibet. It is made between 1700 to 1799 AD. He is with Vaishravana is from Sakya, Ngor (Sakya), and Buddhist lineages. The base of the painting is ground mineral pigment on cotton. The thangka of Brahmarupa Mahakala is from a private collection.
Vaishravana is presented at the lower right of the thangka.is Vaishravana is riding a Lion.
Begtse Chen is presented at the bottom center of the thangka. Begtse Chen is flanked by his consort and son. He is the Mistress of Life and Lord of Life.
The donor figure is presented at the lower-left corner of the thangka. Donor figure is the inscription of Ewam Rinchen Migyur Gyaltsen of the Luding Labrang and the 37th Great Abbot of Ngor Ewam Monastery.