Chakrasamvara - a Buddhist deity

Exploring a thangka from Nepal (19th century) of Buddhist deity Chakrasamvara

Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi (1800/1899)Salar Jung Museum

Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi

This thangka depicts 12-armed Chakrasamvara in embrace with Vajravarahi, two important deities in Vajrayana Buddhism. Their appearance is semi-peaceful and semi-wrathful. A circle of flames is around them. This thangka is from Nepal, dated to the 19th century.

Let's explore the thangka further!

Multi-headed deity

The heads of Chakrasamvara are depicted in different colours beside the main head which is dark blue. Each head has a third eye, and there are skulls on his diadem.

The deity and his weapons

The deity uses his front arms to hold Vajravarahi. His other arms are mostly holding weapons and a tiger skin which he drapes over his back. One of his right lower hand is in karana mudra, a gesture of dispelling demons.

Under the feet of the deity

The deity being both wrathful and benevolent is seen trampling two beings, probably demons under his feet as he stands on a lotus.

The consort of Chakrasamvara

The deity is holding his consort Vajravarahi in an embrace. She is depicted as bright red, wearing jewellery and with skulls on her diadem.

A tantric depiction

Chakrasamvara represents the male principle or bliss or 'right method' while Vajravarahi, also called Dakini and Vajrayogini  represents emptiness, wisdom and clear light.

During Tantric meditation the union of these two principles is used to generate enlightened states of mind.

Credits: Story

Text and Curation : Soma Ghosh
Photography : M. Krishnamurthy and Bahadur Ali
Research Assistance : Dinesh Singh and E. Rajesh
Special Thanks to : Dr. A. Nagender Reddy, Director, Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, India.

References -
1. Lowry, John(1973) - Tibetan Art, London, HMSO.
2. 08.11.2022)
(accessed 08.11.2022)

Credits: All media
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