Vajrabhairava with the consort Vajra Vetali surrounded by the main protectors of the Gelugpa School. Vajrabhairava is also called as Yamantaka. He is a meditational deity Ishtadevata of the Anuttarayoga Classification of Buddhist Tantra. As the supreme meditational deity of the Gelug Tradition Vajrabhairava is also looked upon as the Lord or Master.
Table of Contents
The life of Vajrabhairava
In this section, we are going to learn about the life of Vajrabhairava, after the short etymological description of the word Vajrabhairava itself.
Vajrabhairava look upon by the various protector deities of the Gelug Tradition.
Etymology of Vajrabhairava
Vajrabhairava is known as dor Je jig Je in Tibet. and the meaning of Vajrabhairava is Vajra Terror in English.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Vajrabhairava. Now, we are going to learn about the iconography of Vajrabhairava.
Iconography of the Vajrabhairava
Posture of Vajrabhairava
Vajrabhairava is in the center and who is terrifying and wrathful. Vajrabhaivara is dark blue in color with nine faces. Vajrabhaivara has thirty-four hands and sixteen legs.
The main face of Vajrabhaivara is that of a buffalo, with a red face above and the slightly angry face of Manjushri placed on top. The three right faces of Vajrabhaivara are yellow with dark blue and red. The three left are black, white, and smoky.
Each face of Vajrabhaivara has three large round eyes, bared white fangs, and frightful expressions. Vajrabhaivara has dark yellow hair flows upward who is adorned with bone ornaments. Vajrabhaivara has a necklace of fifty heads.
The first pair of hands of Vajrabhaivara holds a curved knife and skullcup embracing the consort. The remaining hands of Vajrabhaivara hold a variety of objects.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Vajrabhairava and the iconography of Vajrabhairava. Now, we are going to learn about depicting Vajrabhairava thangka.
Depicting Vajrabhairava Thangka
The thangka of Vajrabhairava is from Tibet. The thangka of Vajrabhairava is made between 1700 – 1799 AD. Vajrabhairava is from Gelug and Buddhist lineage. the size of this painting is 66.04×43.18cm.Ground Mineral Pigment and Black Background on Cotton is used to color this thangka. presently, this painting is in the Rubin Museum of Art. By depicting this thangka, we will learn about the presentation of Vajrabhairava with Vajradhara, and Shadbhuja Mahakala, etc.
Shadbhuja Mahakala is on the left descending side of the thangka. Shadbhuja Mahakala has six hands. Chaturbhuja Mahakalais with four hands.
Shadbhuja Mahakala is also known as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara and the special protector of the Shangpa Kagyu School. The Lord of Pristine Awareness has six hands and a body dark blue in color. The first two hands hold a curved knife and skullcup.
The middle two hands a human skull mala and trident. The lowest two hands hold a Damaru drum and lasso. Shadhuja Mahakala is adorned with a tiger skin, garland of heads, bones and snakes, and small bells on the hands and feet.
Shadhuja Mahakala is Standing in a manner with the two legs together pressing down on Ganapati. Shadbhuja Mahakala is with three eyes, bared fangs, eyebrows, beard, and hair flowing upward with Akshobhya as a crown. Shadhuja Mahakala is anointed with a Sindhu drop on the forehead.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Vajrabhairava, the iconography of Vajrabhairava, and depicting Vajrabhairava thangka. Now, we are going to learn about the lineages of the Vajrabhaivara.
The lineage of the Vajrabhaivara
We are going to learn about the lineage of Vajrabhaivara.
The main lineages of Vajrabhaivara to enter Tibet were those of the following:
Rwa Lotsawa who was born in 1016A.D is one of the most controversial Buddhist teachers in Tibetan history. Rwa Lostsawa’s tradition was boasted that he killed or murdered thirteen Lamas and many of them famous. Rwa Lotsawa is also responsible for popularizing many Vajrabhairava and Krishna Yamari traditions of practice.
Mal Lotsawa introduced to Sakya the esoteric Vajrayogini lineage known as Naro Khachoma. From Bari, Lotsawa came innumerable tantric practices foremost of which was the cycle of practices known as the One Hundred Sadhanas. Other key transmissions that form part of the Sakya spiritual curriculum include the cycles of Vajrakilaya, Mahakala, and Guhyasamaja tantras.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Vajrabhairava, the iconography of Vajrabhairava, and depicting Vajrabhairava thangka. And Finally, we learn about the lineages of the Vajrabhaivara