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Paintings > Thangka > Dharmaraja Yama with Yami
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Dharmaraja Yama with Yami

Dharmaraja Yama with Yami

Dharmaraja Yama with Yami

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Tibetan Thangka Painting

Size of Painted Surface 17.5" X 22.5"
Size with Brocade 25.5" X 37.5"
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Dharmaraja Yama with Yami

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Viewed 16546 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
Yama is the protector of Buddhism and the judge of all beings who are reborn in one of the cold or hot hells. He weighs their deeds and rewards them either joy or suffering. Yama is called the god of death. Therefore it is said that he cuts away the life of all beings, but here life means their endless ignorance and passion and it is not the killing of beings. Yama is also known as Dharmaraja as the protector of Dharma. As king of the Avichi hell, situated in south of Mount Meru, Dharmaraja judges the virtuous and evil actions of persons. He abides in the samadhi of non-binding. Dharmaraja is free from the bonds of good and evil. He rides freely through samsara like a dharma king. Lokeshchandra says that death, the daughter of darkness and the sister of sleep as the eternal somnia, is source of life, and not only of spiritual life, but of the resurrection of matter as well. It is a transformation of form without annihilating the essence. It symbolizes dematerialization as well as progress of evolution. Continual death and decomposition is infused with an all-pervading luxuriance and magnificence of life. A tree falls and rots, thousand of plants invest, assault and prosper in turn. Life thrives on death. Dharmaraja is the cycle of living that gives nourishment to the vortex of new lives. Dharma is upholding, from the root dhar, 'to hold', sustain, the dense tissue of vitality and Dharmaraja is the invisible time that glides on in the cycle of life – the body is like a garment that we put on and take off.

In terrific black thangka, Dharmaraja who has the face of a buffalo, rides a buffalo. He is in dark blue colour. His right hand brandishes a vajra-tipped club with skull and the left hand is in the tarjani-mudra of threatening. His three eyes are blazing like a fire. His black hair is rises behind his skull crown with a vajra at the top. He is adorned with bone ornaments. Dharmaraja is naked except for his ornaments. On his left is a female companion in pale yellow colour. She is sometimes described as his sister Yami, and sometimes as his consort, Chamundi. They are never shown in sexual union. Dharmaraja's bent right leg stands on a buffalo. His left leg is straight and stands on buffalo's rump. Yami stands on the buffalo with her right leg, while her left leg crosses the mighty left leg of Dharmaraja. She lifts a blood-filled skull cup to Yama in her left hand. Her hair is long and loose. She has an open mouth and sharp-protruding teeth. She wears a skull crown but is naked except for a blue scarf. Her breasts are large and her body is strong. She wears skull crown, earrings, bracelets, armlets and anklets. Both Dharmaraja and Yami as mentioned above are on the buffalo and under which is a woman on a lotus seat. There is wisdom fire aureole behind them.

On the top centre Amitabha Buddha is seated on a lotus throne. Upper left corner depicts serpent-bodied nine-headed dangerous protector, Rahula. There is a wrathful face on his belly and yellow eyes all-over his body. Upper right corner portrays wrathful Vajrapani, a cosmic bodhisattva and protector who represents the concentrated power of all Buddhas. Bottom left corner is filled with a blue-complexioned wrathful deity whose right hand is upraised in tarjani-mudra of threatening, while right corner depicts Vajrasadhu, a Buddhist protector, who was originally a harmful spirit, Vajrapani tamed him and turned him into a protector of Buddhism, and then named him Vajrasadhu (good thunderbolt). Two dancing dakinis depicted here, one is in the bottom centre, while the second one is in the left side of the middle ground.

The landscape depicts panch-bhutas, the five great elements – earth, water, fire, air and space. The element earth is represented here by mountains, water by lakes and waterfalls; fire by aureole flames; air by cloud formation and space by sky. The painting is very much suitable for esoteric sadhana and practice of Dharmaraja Yama.

This description is by Dr. Shailendra K. Verma. His Doctorate thesis being: "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D.)".

Click Here to View the Thangka Painting along with its Brocade

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