Tibetan Kalachakra thangka is handpainted by Mandala artists in Nepal. Kalachakra is also a tutelary meditation deity. Kalachakra is temporarily conjoined with his consort yellow Kalachakra in an embrace called Yab-Yum.
Kalachakra is presented at the center of the mandala.
Iconography of Kalachakra
Kalachakra has four heads, 24 arms & 2 legs. A principal head is blue, with a blue upper body & four blue left & four right arms. His two principal arms embrace Kalachakra.
Additionally a left redhead, four red left, four right arms & a red left leg; a white right-facing head, four white right arms & a white right leg. Kalachakra is an emanation of blue Akshobhya. The two other original transcendent Buddha Families depicted are red Amitabha meaning bearer of love who can greed into love & white Vairochana meaning illuminator who can snuff out delusion into realized wisdom.
The wisdom energies of Buddhist Art Amitabha, Akshobhya & Vairochana respectively transmute greed, hatred & delusion tuning the Wheel of Life. His crossed two principle blue arms are in Victory over the Three Realms gesture, also called the Humkara Mudra with reference to the syllable ‘Hum’. The three realms form the Trikaya Principle of Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya & Dharmakaya.
The right-hand holds a vajra topped bell symbolizing female wisdom & a diamond scepter which symbolizes method or compassion. He wears a special necklace of interlocking Diamond Sceptres & a second made of skulls. He wears a tiger skin dhoti representing his power over hatred.
He stands & subdues two four-armed demons. One of his left hands holds a blue wooden club representing the crushing of the veils of ignorance. The top left red hand holds a hammer representing the destruction of greed. The head of the hammer is bell-shaped symbolizing the female wisdom quality, the vajra-shaped back part representing the male method quality & surmounted by a jewel representing conviction.
The third red left-hand holds an iron hook with a vajra pommel which represents subjugating negative afflictions. The fourth red hand holds three unkindled firebrands often shown as three fire arrows representing the power of subjugating the three original Kleshas being greed, hatred & delusion which form the center of the Wheel of Life.
The top right white hand holds the Four Heads of Brahma representing the severance of all conceptualizations & development of the four measureless states being loving-kindness, sympathetic joy, equanimity & lastly compassion which themselves know no bounds. The Four abodes are also known as the Temples of Brahma.
The third white hand holds a sun disc representing absolute truth with the third blue hand holding a moon disc representing awoken realization of relative truth. His fourth right white hand holds the right-turning conch shell representing sound & the seed syllables, Buddhism according to the Dharmas. Descriptions of the other shown hand-held attributes are found in Robert Beer’s book The Handbook of Tibetan Symbols.
The triangular diamond rock formation in the foreground represents the Source of Reality within which the deities manifest & the principle of Trikaya arises. This is generated from emptiness by the syllable E which in the Indian language is a Triangular shaped letter D.
Mantra of Kalachakra
The mantra of Kalachakra is om ah hum hoh ham kshah ma la va ra ya hum phet.