The four arms of Mahakala perform on of the following four positive Karmas or actions, which are said to be his specific boon to his worshippers:
- a). Pacify sickness, hindrances, and troubles.
- b). Increase life, good qualities and wisdom.
- c). Attract whatever Dharma practitioners need and bring people to the Dharma.
- d). Destroy confusion, doubt, and ignorance.
In addition to the ubiquitous skull cup and chopper, the Chatur Bhuja Mahakala hold in his other two arms a Khatvanga (left hand) and flaming sword respectively. The Khatvanga is a kind of ritual staff having human heads at the upper end. These represent the overcoming of the roots of evil, namely greed (raga), ill will (dvesha), and delusion (moha).
The sword is the flaming weapon of transcendental wisdom (praja) with which Mahakala destroys ignorance. The later is the principal attribute of Buddhist deities especially associated with overcoming ignorance and embodying aspect of enlightenment within their physical forms.
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