The Swift-acting Six-armed Awareness Protector, the special protector of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition and its followers, commonly known as the Six-armed Mahakala, a wrathful emanation of the Great Compassionate One, Arya Avalokiteshvara, a Dharmapala whose transmission originated with the Indian Mahasiddha Shavaripa.
There also is a rare transmission of the protector with three faces which comes from the Mahasiddha Saraha. These transmissions were received by Khedrub Khyungpo Naljor, both in India and Tibet, from his teachers Maitripa and Rahula. The Six-armed Protector is the special protector of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition and its practitioners to the present day. Ever since the incomparable Tsongkhapa Lobsang Dragpa received these transmissions from Jagchen Jampa Pal, the Six-armed Protector is also one of the main protective deities of the Gelugpa school.
There are also other lineages of Six-armed Mahakala practice, but they all go back to Khyungpo Naljor’s original introduction of this cycle of empowerments, teachings, and practices into Tibet. The sole exception is the Six-armed Mahakala treasure teaching revealed by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa and included in his collected terma treasures, the Chokling Tersar