Explaining Buddhist Protector Four Faced Mahakala – Chaturmukha Thangka

Depicting , Chaturmukha who was known as the Four-faced Great Black One. Mahakala was associated with the Guhyasamaja along with the Twenty-five and Fifty Chapter Mahakala Tantras.

The Life of Chaturmukha Mahakala

In this section, we are going to learn about the life of Mahakala, after that, we will learn about the short etymological description of the word Mahakala itself.

Etymology of Chaturmukha Mahakala

Earlier, we learn about the life of Caturmukha Mahakala. Now, we are going to learn about the of Chaturmukha Mahakala.

Iconography of the Chaturmukha Mahakala

In the iconography of Mahakala, we will learn about his posture, hand and leg gesture, and different representations of Mahakala in and statue.

Posture of Chaturmukha Mahakala

The main face of Chaturmukha Mahakala and the stacked face are both black, the two on the right and left are dark green of the Mahakala. With four arms the first two right and left hold a curved knife and blood-filled skullcup to the heart. The lower right holds a sword.

The lower left of Mahakala holds upraised a bone garland of beads. The brown hair bristles upwards and there are three eyes, also bared fangs, lower lip distended, a crown of five dried skulls, a necklace of fifty fresh heads, a Brahmin’s cord, bone and snake ornaments. He stands in a manner with the right leg bent and the left straight; having an appearance of magnificent wrathfulness.

Earlier, we learn about the life of Chaturmuka Mahakala and the iconography of Chaturmukha Mahakala. Now, we are going to learn about the Indian lineage of Chaturmukha Mahakala.

Indian lineage of Mahakala

We are going to learn about the list and the description of Indian lineages.

The following are the Indian lineage of Mahakala which are listed and presented below:


Vajradhara is the supreme , who is also known as the primordial Buddha without beginning or end, lord of all mysteries,  of all secrets. It is to Vajradhara the subdued and conquered evil  swear allegiance and  that they will no longer prevent or hinder the propagation of the  faith. Vajradharais thought to be too ‘ great a  and too much lost in divine quietude to favor man’s undertakings and with his assistance, and that he acts through the god .

Vajradhara would be to him in the relation of a Dhyani-Buddha to his human Buddha. He is always represented seated, with his legs locked and the soles of his feet apparent, and wears the crown as well as the dress and ornaments of an Indian prince. His arms are crossed on his breast in the -hum-kara holding the vajra and ghanta.


Nagarjuna is widely considered as one of the most important Buddhist philosophers. Along with his disciple , he is considered to be the founder of the  school of . Nagarjuna is also credited with developing the of the and, in some sources, having revealed these in the world, having recovered them from the nagas.


Buddhajnana was the disciple of Haribhadra. Buddhajana became the of Vikramasila Vihara after the death of Haribhadra. Thus, Haribhadra was the first Vajracharya of Vikramasila Vihara.


Ratnavajra is the name of a city that was associated with Ghorandhakara: the south-western cremation according to the Vajravarahi-sadhana by Umapatideva as found in the 12th-century Guhyasamayasadhanamala. As a part of this sadhana, the practitioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.


Ratnakirti was a Buddhist philosopher of the Yogacara and epistemological schools (Pramanavada) who wrote on logic, philosophy of and epistemology. Ratnakīiti studied at University under Jnanasrimitra (975–1025). Ratnakirti introduced the two truths doctrine as key to the nature of the discussion.

Sachen Kunga Nyingpo

Sachen Kunga Nyingpo was a   and the first of the Five Venerable Supreme  Masters of . Sachen Kunga Nyinpo was the 3rd Sakya Trizin and son of Khon Konchok Gyalpo who was the first and founder of the first in Tibet in 1073. Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the son of Khon Konchok Gyalpo and an emanation of , was born in 1092 into the prominent Khon clan of Sakya.

From early childhood, Sachen showed great signs of . At the age of twelve, Sachen, under the guidance of his , Bari Lotsava, performed one-point on Manjushri. After meditating on this for a continuous period of six months, the bodhisattva appeared in front of him.

Earlier, we learn about the life of Chaturmuka Mahakala, the iconography of Chaturmukha Mahakala, and the Indian lineage of Chaturmukha Mahakala. Now, we are going to learn about the types of Chaturmukha Mahakala.

Types of the Chaturmukha Mahakala

We will learn about types of Chaturmukha Mahakala.

Tarana in his text called an Ocean of Meditational Deities describes Chaturmukha Mahakala as having Five types which are listed below:

  1. Approximation
  2. Accomplishment
  3. Performing Activities
  4. the Four Families

Demon FaceThe technical descriptions of the various of Chaturmukha vary between the text of Taranata and the Rinjung Lhantab text of the 4th .

Earlier, we learn about the life of Chaturmuka Mahakala, the iconography of Chaturmukha Mahakala, and the Indian lineage of Chaturmukha Mahakala. Finally,we learn about the types of Chaturmukha Mahakala.

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