Interpreting Vajravarahi and 5 Deities Tibetan Painting

Vajravarahi, 5 Deity principal tutelary deity of the .

The life of Vajravarahi

In this portion, we are going to learn about the life of Vajrabarahi, after that the short description of the word Vajravarahi itself.

Etymology of Vajravarahi

Vajravarahi is known as Asrdo Rje Phag mo in . Vajravarahi is one of the most popular female deities in all traditions of .

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Vajravarahi. Now, we are going to learn about the of the Vajravarahi.

Iconography of the Vajravarahi

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

Posture of the Vajravarahi

Vajravarahi is with a fierce expression, slightly and slightly wrathful. She is red in color with one face and three eyes. Vajravarahi has dark yellow hair flowing upward at the crown a black boar’s head.

The right-hand of Vajravarahi holds aloft a curved flaying knife with a gold handle.  The left to the heart a white skullcup. At the bend of the left elbow stands an upright tantric staff, ornate with an orange streamer.

Vajravarahi is adorned with a tiara of gold and five white skulls, green ribbons and gold and jewel earrings, a garland of fifty fresh heads, a garland of flowers, a bone necklace, girdle, bracelets, and anklets.  Vajravarahi wears a long green scarf around the shoulders.

Vajrabarahi is with the right leg raised in a dancing posture. The left of  Vajravarahi presses on a disc atop a prone figure. Vajravarahi is completely surrounded by the tight curling flames of orange pristine awareness .

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Vajravarahi and the iconography of the Vajravarahi. Now, we are going to learn how to depict Vajravarahi with different deities.

Depicting Vajravarahi  Thangka

The thangka of Vajravarahi is from Eastern Tibet. It is made between 1700 – 1799 AD. Vajravarahi is from () lineage. The size of the is 37.47×27.31cm. The base of this painting is Mineral Pigment on . Presently, this painting is in the . By depicting this thangka, we will learn about the presentation of Vajravarahi with different deities such as Red Khandaroha, yellow Rupini, Green , Blue , and 13th Dorje, etc.

Red Khandaroha

Red Khandaroha is at the top right of the thangka.  Khandaroha means something in . Being half-male half-female with their two sides being red and yellow.

A Dakini is a type of female in and . The term can also be applied to human women with a certain amount of .

The expansive open foreground is adorned with an display of wishing jewels, red coral, white conch, and gold ingots. The tiered earthen diminishes upward into a vast open sky.

yellow Rupini

Yellow Rupini is to the left of the thangka. Yellow Rupini is the name of the goddess found on the southern petal of the Varahyabhyudaya- according to the Varahyayabhyudayatantra.

The central deity of the Varahyabhyudaya-mandala is the twelve-armed Vajravarahi, which is modeled upon the twelve-armed , thus inhibiting many similar iconographical features.

Green Lama

Green Lama is at the bottom right of the thangka. The Green Lama is a fictional pulp magazine hero of the 1940s. He is commonly portrayed as a powerful Lama, dressing in green robes with a red.

! Ma-ni pad-me Hum! The first of its kind, the complete adventures of the Green Lama follows the adventures of Buddhist Jethro Dumont and his aides.

Blue Dakini

Blue Dakini is to the left of the thangka. Blue Dakini with Purbha , Buddhism- The   Buddhism, Tibetan , Divine Mother.

13th Karmapa Dudul Dorje

13th Karmapa Dudul Dorje is at the top center in the thangka.  13th Karmapa Dudul Dorje (1733-1797) with the right hand in the of generosity and the left at the heart holding the stem of a flower.

13th Karmapa Dudul Dorje is wearing the orange and red robes of a . The lower body of 13th Karmapa Dudul Dorje is wrapped with a yellow cloak. The top of the head is adorned with a black vajra crown.

13th Karmapa Dudul Dorje is enveloped in spheres of light and ascending rainbow streams he sits on a cushioned seat indicating his earthly status.

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Vajravarahi, the iconography of the Vajravarahi, and to depict Vajravarahi with different deities. Now, we are going to learn about Vajravarahi lineage.

Vajravarahi Lineage

Now, we are going to learn about the list and explanation of the Vajravarahi lineage.

This form of Vajravarahi is one of the special practices of the Kagyu Tradition and arises from the Chakrasamvara cycle of belonging to the (Mother) class of .


Vajradhara is blue in color who is also known as primordial and the Dharmakya Buddha. He is also known as “Bearer of the thunderbolt”.


Tilopa who is also known as is a key figure for the lineage is the Indian Tilopa (988-1069), one of the 84 or highly realized .

Tilopa is often depicted at the top of the (Tib. ) of the Kagyu .

He became the first monk at the of Somapuri in Bengal. It is also said that one day a Dakini (female embodiment of wisdom) came to him in a vision and offered him her .


Naropa was also known as a contemporary of Atisa. Naropa was born in a high-status Brahmin family of Bengal. From an early age showed an independent streak, hoping to follow a career of and meditation.

Succumbing to his parents’ wishes, he agreed to do an arranged marriage with a young Brahmin girl. After 8 years they both married each other and become ordained.

At the age of 28, he entered the famous Buddhist University at where he studied both and Tantra.


life-story is famous in and retold many . The best-known biography, The Life of Milarepa, written by  (1452–1507) in the fifteenth century and drawing from older biographies, is still very popular.

Most of the present-day stories on Milarepa come from this single source, with oral lineage predominating this as well as relics including his bear skinned coat.


Marpa was born as Marpa Chökyi Lodrö, in Lhodrak Chukhyer in the southern part of Tibet, to an affluent family, he began studying at a young age but was wild and untamed compared to other children.

Marpa first received instruction for three years at Mangkhar with Drokmi and mastered . He decided to travel to to study with renowned Indian Buddhist masters.

Dusum Khyenpa

Dusum Khyenpa was born in eastern Tibet in the year 1110 CE, to a mother named Lhathok Zagang Jam and a father named Dorje Gönpo.

His birthplace lies in Dreshö, a part of Dreho, Kham, ringed by snow-covered mountains. Unlike those who preceded him in the Marpa Kagyu lineage, Dusum Khyenpa was born to a humble family with a greater aptitude for than worldly .

Karma Pakashi

Karma Pkashi was the 2nd Gyalwa Karmapa. He was a child prodigy who had already acquired a broad understanding of and meditation by the age of ten.

The teacher of Karma Parashi was  Pomdrakpa, who had received the full Kagyu transmission from , the first Karmapa’s spiritual heir.

Pomdrakpa realized, through certain very clear visions, that the child in his charge was the of Dusum Khyenpa, as indicated in the letter given to Drogon Rechen.

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Vajravarahi, the iconography of the Vajravarahi, to depict Vajravarahi with different deities, and about Vajravarahi lineage. Now, we are going to learn about 6 Dharmas of Naropa.

6 Dharmas of Naropa

In this portion, we are going to learn about 6 dharmas of Naropa.

The Six Dharmas of Naropa, sometimes also referred to simply as the Six are six sets of and practices which originate from the Indian Naropa.

They form the basis of the inner yoga practices of , as practiced in the Kagyu and schools. nner heat which is the root of the path. For a Dzogrim practitioner, this meditation on inner heat is like the root of the entire path.

The is the foundation of the path. Clear light luminosity which is the heart- of the path. Then in order to the strength of, or assess one’s progress in, the practice of clear light, there is the .

For those who are unable to complete the practice of clear light because untimely death occurs, there needs to be one who picks them up. The practice which comes to ‘collect’ you is the practice of .

Then, finally, the juncture which bridges the gap between past and future lives and provides a connection with the Zangdokpalri heaven of or the pure such as is the .

By applying the Bardo teachings a practitioner whose practice isn’t particularly great can transform their practice and become a great practitioner.

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Vajravarahi, the iconography of the Vajravarahi, to depict Vajravarahi with different deities, and about Vajravarahi lineage. And finally, we learn about 6 Dharmas of Naropa.

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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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