Bon Deity – Shenlha Okar
Shenlha Okar is the most important deity in the Yungdrung Bon tradition of Tibet. He is counted among the “Four Transcendent Lords”. Shenlha Okar Tsog Shing is the field of deities for the accumulation of merit.
Shenlha Okar is said to have created the world with the help of nine brother gods or nine cosmic gods who appear as war gods or Drala. He is also considered a god of compassion with many parallels to Chenrezig and also with Amitabha.
Shenlha Okar is known as the white Light God of Shen in Eglish. The meaning of Shenlha Okar is Sang gym in Tibet.
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The iconography of the Shenlha Okar
In the iconography of Shenlha Okar, we are going to learn about Shenlha Okar’s body posture, hand and leg gesture, and different representations of Shenlha Okar in thangka and statue.
The posture of Shenlha Okar
The great deity Shenlha Okar is located in the center who is white in color with one face and two hands. Great deity Shenlha Okar is peaceful in appearance. The two hands of Shenlha Okar are placed in the lap in the gesture of meditation.
Shenlha Okar is adorning the head is a crown of gold and jewels, red ribbons tied at the sides. The body of Shenlha Okar is decorated with gold earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. A green scarf is draped across the shoulders and unfurls at the sides and the lower body is covered with a skirt of multi-colored silks.
Shenlha Okar is atop a white moon disc and pink lotus blossom, above a snow lion supported throne. He sits surrounded by a dark blue nimbus and green aureole. The backdrop of white snow lions, golden dragons, pink Makaras, and a garuda with wings outstretched at the top prevent the arising of obstacles.
Depicting Bon Deity Shenlha Okar Thangka
The thangka of Shenlha Okar is from Tibet. The thangka of Shenlha Okar is made between 1900 – 1959 AD. Shenlha Okar is from Bon lineage. Ground Mineral Pigment and Fine Gold Line on the Cotton is used to color this painting. Currently, this painting is in the Rubin Museum of Art.
By depicting this thangka, we will learn about the presentation of Shenlha Okar with Conquering Hero and Lamas.
Conquering Hero is at the upper right of the thangka. Conquering Hero is surrounded by eight others. This is the refuge of Sempa.
Lamas is in the top right and left of the thangka. lamas and ascetics of the various Bon lineages are in the bank of clouds.
Shenlha Okar with Tonpa Shenrab Thangka
The thangka of Shenlha Okar with Tongpa Shenrab is from Tibet. It is made between 1700 – 1799 AD. The size of the painting is 77.47×62.99cm. The base of the p[painting is Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton. The thangka is from The Brooklyn Museum of Art collection.
By depicting this thangka, we will learn about the presentation of Shenlha Okar with wrathful Protector Deity.
Shenlha Okar is resting with both hands placed in the gesture of meditation in the lap. Shenlha Okar is adorned with a crown of gold, jewels, and ribbons. He wears earrings, necklaces bracelets, and anklets about the body.
A dark green scarf covers the shoulders. The lower body is wrapped with a red skirt. Atop a green, red, and orange lotus and elephant supported throne. He is surrounded by a blue nimbus and a pink aureola of light.
Shenlha Okar is attendant figures stand at the sides. An elaborate backrest of flowers, white snow lions, dragons, Makaras, and a garuda completely encircle the central figure. Two hundred and fifty identical figures are arranged in rows, in various colors.
At the bottom center of the thangka, there is the presence of the Tonpa Shenrab in a standing posture.
Wrathful Protector Deity
Wrathful Protector Deity is below the thangka. Wrathful protector deity is blue in color. Wrathful Protector deity is with nine heads and eighteen hands and encircled by orange flame.
Shenlha Okar with Sherab Chamma Thangka
The thangka of Shenlha Okar with Sherab Chamma is from Tibet. It is made between 1900 – 1959 AD. Shenlha Okar with Sherab Chamma is from Bon lineage. the base of this painting is Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton. Presently, this painting is in the Rubin Museum of Art.
By depicting this thangka, we will learn about the presentation of Shenlha Okar with Wrathful Tutelary Deities and Kunzang Gyalwa Dupa.
Sherab Chamma is on the right side of the thangka. Sherab Chamma is orange in color and holding a vase and a mirror.
Wrathful Tutelary Deities
Wrathful Tutelary Deities is on the left side of the thangka. Wrathful tutelary deities such as Magyu, Walse Ngampa, Gekho, Meri, Purba, and Tagla Membar and the like.
Kunzang Gyalwa Dupa
Kunzang Gyalwa Dupa is at the left of the lotus seat in the thangka. White Kunzang Gyalwa Dupa is with five faces and ten hands. Various peaceful tutelary deities and lineage lamas are arranged below in thangka.
We learned about the life of Shenlha Okar, the iconography of Shenlha Okar, depicting Bon deity Shenlha Okar thangka, and the representation of Shenlha Okar with Tonpa Shenrab thangka and representation of Shenlha Okar with Shera Chamma thangka.