The Embodiment of Fearlessness and Compassion: Yidam Hevajra Tantra

Elevate Your Spiritual Practice with Prominent Yidam Hevajra

Hevajra stands as a prominent yidam within Tantric Buddhism/ Vajrayana Buddhism. Paired with Hevajra is Nairatmya, recognized as his consort. As a pivotal meditative deity within the Annuttarayoga category of Tantric Buddhism, "He" in Hevajra embodies profound compassion, while "vajra" signifies wisdom. Thus, the composite term "Hevajra" harmoniously encompasses the complete essence of compassion and wisdom.

In the realm of Anuttarayoga Tantra, his practice is classified under the Mother Tantras group. Much like other Anuttarayoga Tantra methodologies, when executed accurately, it enables the collection of the innate vital essence acquired from both parents during birth, consolidating it within the central psychic channel. This progression culminates in the profound encounter of immense bliss and lucid clarity.

Hevajra Tantrayidam hevajra statue

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Among the extensive collection of Tantric Literature, the Hevajra Tantra emerges as a distinctive representation of Vajrayana theory and practice.

 'Hevajra' comprises two distinct syllables: 'he,' representing compassion (Karuna), and 'vajra,' symbolizing wisdom (Prajna). This combination succinctly conveys the essence of ultimate reality, the harmonious convergence of Sunyata and Karuna. Furthermore, this title signifies the approach utilized by this tantra to achieve its objective, which seamlessly integrates Wisdom and Means. According to the Muktavali, Hevajra embodies the embodiment of Mahakaruna, with the core of Sarvadharma Sunyata encapsulating its essence.

The Hevajra Tantra, despite being a Buddhist scripture embedded with distinct Buddhist elements, bears profound influence from a specific movement. Originating in the late eighth century, this text embodies the charnel-ground culture emblematic of the Siddha movement. This culture accentuates unconventional practices, notably in sexuality and dietary habits. 

Classified as a "Yoginī" or "Mother" Tantra, it notably accentuates the significance of female deities. Yet, the extent to which this translated into enhanced respect for women remains debatable. Parallel to most Tantras, most of its content revolves around rituals, with a pronounced emphasis on mystical ceremonies leveraging mantras.

These rituals often target worldly outcomes, including weather manipulation. The text's distinctive attribute is incorporating songs penned in the Apabraṃśa dialect. It also prescribes a "coded language" (sandhyā-bhāṣā) for employment during Tantric feasts by yogins and yoginīs.

Forms Of Hevajrahevajra iconography gold statue

Kaya Hevajra

The Hevajra Tantra portrays a two-armed embodiment of Hevajra, positioned in a progressive stance upon a vibrant lotus, with a combination of a corpse and a sun disk. His complexion is a deep blue hue. He wields a vajra club while his left-hand grasps a skull cup embellished with vajra markings.

Notably, he is enfolded by his consort, Vajranairatma. A khatvanga staff is poised on his left shoulder, and he is adorned with the six emblematic ornaments. However, in the Sadhanamala, this rendition of Hevajra appears solitary (ekavira), devoid of a consort.

Vak Hevajra

The Hevajra Tantra presents a four-armed depiction of Speech (Vak) Hevajra, positioned in a progressive stance atop a multi-hued lotus, accompanied by a combination of a corpse and a sun disk. His complexion is a deep shade of blue. One of his right hands grasps a vajra while his left hand clutches a blood-filled skull. The remaining set of arms lovingly encircles his consort, Vajravarahi.

Citta Hevajra

The Hevajra Tantra introduces the six-armed manifestation of Mind (Citta) Hevajra, taking a progressive stance with an extended right leg and a bent left leg on a vibrant lotus, accompanied by a combination of a corpse and a sun disk. His complexion bears a deep blue shade, featuring three faces - the central one blue, the right white, and the left red. Each face boasts three bloodshot eyes, four exposed fangs, and furrowed brows that project a fierce countenance.

A cascade of tawny hair rises upward, crowned by a crossed vajra. Of his two right hands, one clasps a vajra while the other holds a knife; similarly, his two left hands grip a trident and a bell. The remaining set of arms tenderly envelop his consort, Vajrasrinkhala. Notably, Hevajra embodies the nine intense emotional expressions, complemented by a headdress adorned with five desiccated skulls, a necklace with fifty fresh heads, and the six symbolic ornaments, or 'seals.'

Hrdaya Hevarja

The Hevajra Tantra unveils the depiction of the sixteen-armed, four-legged, eight-faced Heart (Hrdaya) Hevajra, poised with two legs in ardha-paryanka and the remaining two in an alidha posture (left bent, right extended) on a vibrant eight-petaled lotus. Positioned beneath them are the four Maras personified as yellow Brahma, black Vishnu, white Shiva (Mahesvara), and yellow Indra, with a sun disc placed upon their hearts.

Concerning his visage, the central face of the Hrdaya Hevajra is shrouded in black, while the initial right face is white and the corresponding left face is red. Above, a smoke-colored look is depicted. The external two faces on either side sport a black hue. A cascade of lustrous tawny hair surges upward, adorned with a crowned vajra. An ornate headdress composed of five desiccated skulls embellishes his form. 

Among his sixteen hands, each clutches a skull cup. Positioned centrally, his dual arms clasp a skull cup housing a white elephant and the yellow earth-goddess Prithvi. His consort, Vajranairatma, is embraced, her legs encircling his body. Vajranairtma's right-hand grips a curved knife, while her left-hand wraps around Hevajra's neck, holding a skull cup. Beyond the central skull cup, his additional seven skull cups contain a blue horse, a white-nosed ass, a red ox, an ashen camel, a red human, a blue sarabha deer, and an owl or cat. Adorned with the six symbolic ornaments – circlet, earrings, necklace, bracelets, girdle armlets, and anklets – Hevajra's form is adorned with ashes sourced from the charnel ground.

Hervajra Empowerment: Symbolism and Significance in Buddism

The standard depiction of the deity is in yab-yum, a wrathful appearance that signifies his power to subdue and transform negative forces. His fierce expression and stance symbolize the fierceness required to overcome ignorance and attachment. The crown of skulls signifies his mastery over the ego and the transmutation of delusions, while the garland represents 50 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. This emphasizes his role in transcending language and concepts.

Hevajra often holds a vajra (thunderbolt), symbolizing the indestructible nature of enlightenment and his power to transform difficulties into wisdom.

He can also be seen with a bell, representing wisdom and the sound of emptiness, essential for dispelling ignorance. The Katvanga is adorned with three severed heads, representing the trinity of body, speech, and mind. It also signifies his mastery over life, death, and the intermediate state.

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