Explaining Vajrabhairava

with the consort Vetali surrounded by the main protectors of the Gelugpa School. Vajrabhairava is also called as . He is a meditational deity of the Classification of . As the supreme meditational deity of the Tradition Vajrabhairava is also looked upon as the Lord or .

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 . 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 of Vajrabhairava.

Iconography of the Vajrabhairava

In the iconography of Vajrabhairava, we will learn about Vajrabhairava’s posture, hand and leg gesture, and different representations of Vajrabhairava in and statue.

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 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 lineage. the size of this is 66.04×43.18cm. Mineral Pigment and Black Background on is used to color this thangka. presently, this painting is in the . By depicting this thangka, we will learn about the presentation of Vajrabhairava with , and Shadbhuja , etc.


Vajradhara is at the top center of the thangka.   Vajradhara is the primordial . Vajradhara is with one face and two hands holding a vajra and to the heart.

Shadbhuja Mahakala

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 and the special protector of the 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 and trident.  The lowest two hands hold a and lasso.  Shadhuja Mahakala is adorned with a tiger , 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 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:

  1. Jowo
  2. Rwa
  3. Mal Lotsawa

Rwa Lotsawa

Rwa Lotsawa who was born in 1016A.D is one of the most controversial Buddhist teachers in .  Rwa Lostsawa’s tradition was boasted that he killed or murdered thirteen and many of them famous. Rwa Lotsawa is also responsible for popularizing many Vajrabhairava and traditions of practice.

Mal Lotsawa

Mal Lotsawa introduced to the esoteric lineage known as Naro Khachoma. From Bari, Lotsawa came innumerable 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 , Mahakala, and Guhyasamaja .

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

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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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