Black Mahakala Statue Real Gold and Thangka Color

All about Wisdom Protector – Mahakala

is a male deity. He is the protector deity known as a in , especially most traditions, in Tangmi and in Japanese Esoteric .

Maha literally translates as great and Kala signifies or death, hence Mahakala means “beyond the time” or “Great Black One“.

Mahakala is a protector deity and specifically the primary Protector of and . In some cases, Mahakala can also be a meditational deity in the highest .

Mahakala is usually black in color and appears in 75 different , each an emanation of a different . Black can represent the total absence of color and signifies the true nature of Mahakala as ultimate or absolute reality and transcendence of all forms.

Despite a wrathful demeanor, the essential of Mahakala has awakened . His blessings are said to quell difficulties and hindrances arising from depression and . He is also in charge of all protectors.

“Mahakala has never been known to harm one being, even in the slightest manner, because he is constantly benefiting beings through the continuous play of the enlightened mind.” – Khenpo Karthar

Iconography of Mahakala

Mahakala is very popular in and found typically at entrances to Buddhist , paired with Ganesh. Figures of Mahakala are objects of lay devotion, thus the Mahakala is often smeared by devotees with food and powder. The of Mahakala here is analyzed by the number of arms.

The most notable variation in Mahakala’s manifestations and depictions is in the number of arms, but other details can vary as well. For instance, the two-armed Mahakala was transformed from the first Buddha, Ardhalma, and is worshiped for his spiritual wisdom. The four-armed Mahakala was transformed from the Buddha. The six-armed Mahakala comes in two forms: one white and one black. His white form helps one attain riches and long life. His black form was transformed from Avalokitesvara and helps people conquer any obstacles on their path to .

Mahakala is typically black in color. Just as all colors are absorbed and dissolved into black, all names and forms are said to melt into those of Mahakala, symbolizing his all-embracing, comprehensive nature. Black can also represent the total absence of color and signifies the nature of Mahakala as ultimate or absolute reality and transcendence of all forms.

“There is an emanation of Avalokiteshvara which arose in the form of Mahakala and this is the Shangpa Kagyu Mahakala with one face and six arms, in a standing posture. This form was later adopted by Tsongkhapa and followers as the main protector of the Gelugpa School.” – Jeff Watt

Two-armed Mahakala

The two-armed Mahakala is most popular in the Newari Buddhism of Nepal. In the Mahakala , he is described as the form by which the of sentient beings are removed. Such images are placed in the entrances to many bahals (monasteries) with Mahakala on the left as one enters and on the right.

2 armed Mahakala is one-faced and two-armed Mahakala stands on a corpse, with his right hand holding a chopper which symbolizes the cutting through of negative patterns such as aggression, , and .

In his left hand, he holds a skull cup, a element typically filled with blood or human brain matter.

He is seen standing on the corpse of two human bodies, thus symbolizing the death of negativities and the complete uprooting of negative patterns to such a point that, like a dead , they will not come to life.

His ornament, a snake thread, and anklet, garland made of skull cups, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

Statue of 2 armed Mahakala Copper
Statue of 2 armed Mahakala Copper

He has a dwarfish figure with bulging eyes and flaming hair.

The two-armed Mahakala called Bernakchen is a protector of the school.

It is often thought to be the primary protector, but it is actually the main protector of the specifically.

Kartaridhara, Mahakala

Kartaridhara, Tibetan: dri gug gon po nag po chen po, English: the Black Lord with a Curved Knife).

Mahakala is Glorious Lord, blue-black in color, with one face and two hands, three round red eyes, bared fangs, orange hair flowing upward, a crown of five dry skulls, a necklace of human heads, and nagas of the five races adorning the head.

The right hand holds aloft a curved knife, the left holds to the heart a blood-filled skullcup.

The right leg is bent and the left extended, standing above a , , and upturned human corpse. Wearing a lower garment of tiger dwells in the middle of a blazing mass of red-black .

Also adorned with a large green flowing scarf and two necklaces of writhing snakes Mahakala is portrayed against a bright red nimbus completely surrounded with licks of flame contrasted against a dark blue background above a multi-colored lotus in the middle of a blue lake.

Panjarnata Mahakala

Panjarnata Mahakala (Tibetan: gur gyi gon po nag po chen po, English: the Great Black One, Lord of the Pavilion). Mahakala with one face and two hands holds a curved knife and skullcup to the heart.

Panjarnata Mahakala
Panjarnata Mahakala

Resting across the forearms is a ‘Gandhi stick. On the crown of the head is the Buddha .

Very fierce with all the usual wrathful ornaments and attire, he wears a necklace of fifty severed heads and tiger skin lower garment.

Standing in a squat posture on a corpse above a sun disc, he stands within a mass of flaming fire of pristine awareness.

Emanating from the of flames along the top and left side is a wolf, black dogs, black crows, and directly above. These are the messengers of Mahakala.

Thangkas of Dorje Bernagchen

Statues of Dorje Bernagchen

Statue of Mahakala
Statue of Mahakala

Four-armed Mahakala

Chaturbhuja Mahakala is a male Buddhist deity, wrathful in appearance, generally blue in color. He is principally a protector deity associated with the Chakrasamvara cycle of tantric literature and practice.

Chaturbhuja Mahakala can also function as a meditational deity and be either an emanation of Buddha or Chakrasamvara.

From a general perspective, there are many lineages of Chaturbhuja Mahakala within the (old) and Sarma (new) traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

In the Sarma tradition, most lineages of Chaturbhuja derive from the great Pandita to Tsami and GVA Lotsawa.

As the special protector for the Chakrasamvara cycle of Tantras, this form of Mahakala is very important to all Traditions. Some traditions have the form of Chaturbhuja in singular aspect or embracing the consort Chandika. Some traditions and lineages have a full entourage of secondary figures or a configuration.

Mahakala Mantra Meaning

Black Mahakala Statue Real Gold and Thangka Color
Black Mahakala Statue Real Gold and Color

The short of Mahakala

Shri Mahakala Hung Phet

The long mantra of Mahakala

Om Mahkala Kala Bikala Ratrita Dombini Candali Rakshisi singhali devibhyo Hung Phet

Mahakala is the most important wisdom dharma protector in . Mahakala’s blessings are particularly well-known for quelling obstacles and difficulties arising from depression and anger.

In addition, chanting this mantra removes all obstacles in flows, destroys confusion, doubts, and ignorance. He can exterminate all black magic, demon, evil, and enemy encroachments. As a result, many people cultivate his practice in Tibet.


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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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