The front of this exquisitely designed Gau Box depicts triangular flaming torma, held within turquoise skull cup with three skulls supporting the cup. The torma is depicted in field of brilliant Nepalese filigree work decorated with precious gemstone emerald, ruby and coral. The torma is flaked by two coral butterfly, symbolizing good fortune and fertility. The Tibetan term 'torma' (Tib. gtor ma), means a sacrificial object or offering, is derived from the verb (Tib. Gtor ba) meaning to cast, throw, scatter, or break up. The term 'gtor' also implies the act of giving without attachment as an expression of pure motivation; the suffix 'ma' means mother, and implies the selfless unconditional love that a mother bestows upon her children. There are three main types of torma the first one is the offering torma that is presented in mundane rituals such as for pacifying the spirits, and eliminating hindrances. This form of torma is broken into pieces after the ritual and scattered as food for birds, wild animals, spirits and hungry ghosts. The second types of torma is the conical food torma, which is distributed and eaten by the participants after a ritual as a medicinal or spiritual substance. The third and largest category of torma are the deity tormas, which are usually uniquely constructed to represent the symbolic form or mandala of a particular deity. There are number of basic shapes for torma designs. The flaming tormas of triangular shape are for Vajrayogini or Dakinis.
The cover of the Gau Box opens with a hinge on the top to reveal the image of Naro Vajrayogini. She is made of coral and she is dancing on a throne supported by emerald, turquoise and coral beads. The side inner wall of the Box is also decorated with emerald cabochon beads. The image of Naro Dakini is made of red coral and she is dancing on a throne supported by emerald, emerald, turquoise and oral beads. Her right hand holds a vajra-chopper, while her left hand holds a skull cup. Moreover, she also holds a khatvanga. She has flaming aureole.
In tantric Buddhism, Yoginis or Dakinis are the guardian of teachings and are considered the supreme embodiments of wisdom. The Dakini can help change human weaknesses into wisdom and understanding, or the concept of self into enlightened energy. There are three different aspects of Vajrayogini, according to how three different masters visualized her. Mahasiddha Naropa received teachings from the Dakini Vajrayogini around eleventh century A.D., and his disciples began calling this aspect of Vajrayogini Naro kha chod, according to the vision of and teachings of Naropa. Her attributes have symbolic meaning in Buddhist tantra. She is shown with slightly open mouth ready to drink the contents of the blood-filled skull-cup. Symbolic of the Tantric images, the blood represents the purifying nectar of emptiness while the mouth of the goddess signifies wisdom. The khatvanga staff she bears symbolizes her non-dual union with Chakrasamvara.
The devotees or sadhakas generally wear the Gau Box of Naro Vajrayogini for protection from evils, diseases, general misfortune, obstacles, etc. as mentioned above. This Gau also purifies one's body of all negativities, and transforming him or her into an intense mass of red light, that in turn, transforms into wisdom. Everything depends upon the faith and devotion to the deity and sincerity of the sadhaka or devotee.
This description is by Dr. Shailendra K. Verma, whose Doctorate thesis is on "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D.)".