Grinning wildly and fiery eyed, this monumental image of the Great Mahakala stands heavily on the body of a corpse. He holds before him a huge vajra chopper and a large white skull bowl full of the blood and guts of demons turned into elixir. He carries across the crook of his elbows an ornamented wooden gandi gong, used in Buddhist monasteries to call the Buddhist monks to assemblies, symbolizing his vow to protect Nalanda monastic university and by extension all Buddhist monasteries.
The ornaments worn so elegantly on his chubby body and gigantic head include
a jewel-encrusted gold crown, necklaces, earrings, and anklets. A garland of
severed heads and snakes and the chalk white five-skull crown complement the
ornaments and his glowing eyeballs and gleaming teeth. Each of these
specifically symbolizes the conquest of a particular type of obstruction of
enlightenment. Mahakala takes a terrific form and conquers the most horrible
realms of existence. As a fierce manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, the
Bodhisattva of Compassion, Mahakala helps beings overcome all negative
elements, especially spiritual ones, personified and symbolized by the
panoply of fearsome creatures over which he becomes lord. He wears his
grisly ornaments to show his indefatigable determination to redeem even the
This particular form of Mahakala, easily recognized by the wooden gong he
carries across his arms, is a favorite protector of the Sakya Order.
Each of our thangkas comes framed in silk brocade and veil, ready to be hung in your altar.
Here to View the Thangka Painting along with its Brocade
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