Artist: Sunlal Ratna Tamang
Size: 152 x 102 mm // 6 x 4 inches
Vajravarahi, the ‘vajra-sow’, is the female consort of the major yidam deity, Heruka Chakrasamvara. As a yidam deity in her own right, Vajravarahi is a specific aspect of the goddess Vajrayogini, who likewise belongs to the ‘mother tantra’ class of the ‘highest yoga-tantra’ practices, which emphasize the development of wisdom. Vajravarahi is youthful, lusty, semi-wrathful, three-eyed and ruby-red in colour. She stands in dancing ‘bow-and-arrow’ posture with her left foot pressing upon a golden sun disc, a corpse, a white moon disc and a lotus that rests upon a triangular rock formation. Her naked body is adorned with bone ornaments, a five-skull crown, a billowing silk scarf, a garland of fifty severed heads, a garland of kharavira flowers, and the symbolic head of a squealing black sow protrudes above her crown. With her raised right hand she circles a vajra-handled curved knife towards the ten directions, whilst with her left hand she holds a skull-cup full of blood in front of her heart. In the crook of her left arm rests her tantric-staff or khatvanga, which essentially represents her non-dual union with her consort Chakrasamvara. She dances ecstatically within her radiant aura of golden light rays and blazing wisdom fire, and directly above her head is white Vairocana Buddha, the ‘Lord of the Tathagata Family’ to which Vajravarahi belongs. Surrounding Vajravarahi in the four directional corners are the four goddesses that collectively appear within the ‘five deity mandala’ of Vajravarahi, all of which are identical in form to Vajravarahi, except for their colours. Clockwise from the bottom left these goddesses are: blue Dakini (east); yellow Rupini (south); red Kandaroha (west); and green Lama (north).
© text by Robert Beer