Himalayan Art Resources

Mahakala: Legden (Bhagavat, Excellent One)

Legden Mahakala Main Page | Mahakala Main Page

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Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Legden Mahakala Description (below)
- Main Figure
- Retinue Figure
- Sarma Tradition Forms
- Nyingma Tradition Forms
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

Types of Bhagavat Mahakala:
- 'Three Brother Lords' (Sakya Tradition)
- 'Three Brother Lords' [Mahakala], Sitatapatra Retinue Figures
- 'Bernagchen' Mahakala
- 'Danda' Mahakala
- 'Maning' Mahakala
- Vyaghra Vahana Mahakala
- Mahakala 'Yutog Nyingtig'
- Others...

Bhagavat is a classification of Mahakala like Panjarnata, Chaturbhuja and Shadbhuja. This form of Mahakala (Bhagavan, Bhagavat) has traditionally been referred to by Western scholars as Danda Mahakala. The Tibetan word 'beng' has been translated back into the original Sanskrit as both 'gandi' and 'danda'. Both Sanskrit words refer to a wooden staff or stick, although each has a more precise meaning defining the type of staff or stick, and its precise use.

Legden Mahakala in general has a wrathful 'raksha' appearance with one face and two hands. He wears a heavy cloak and robes along with felt-like boots typical of Tibetan indigenous deities and mountain gods. It is possible that forms of Legden mahakala are cross-over deities partially of Indian origin and partially of Tibetan creation. Heavily robed Mahakala figures were popular at Densatil Monastery as both stupa decorations and as stand alone shrine sculpture. This form of Mahakala appearance is also popular and widespread in the 'Revealed Treasure' traditions of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism.

Lineage: Vajradhara, Vajrapani, Shantigarbha, Rombuguhya, Dragtung Nagpo, Gegpa Dorje, Vasudhara, Nubchen, Drang Nga Kundrag, Soban Bum Drag, Kyoban Tuchen, Che Dode Sengge, Rongpa Gvalo, Che Loden Sengge, Lama Siu Chungpa, Jamyang Ringyal, Chogyal Palzang, Chokyong Gyaltsen, Chokyong Rinchen, Tsarchen [Losal Gyatso, 1502-1556], etc. (Tibetan source text page 30). Note that this lineage is identical to that of Mahakala Vyaghra Vahana.

Jeff Watt 4-2004 [updated 6-2017, 8-2017]