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Harihariharivahan Lokeshvara

Harihariharivahan Lokeshvara is one of the most interesting forms of Avalokiteshvara. It seems that this form of Avalokiteshvara is basically of Nepalese origin. According to Swayambhu Purana, when the great bodhisattva Manjushree drained the lake called Nagarhad (now Kathmandu valley) all the Nagarajas especially Takshaka were very angry. Bodhisattva Samantabhadra pacified them all except the Takshaka. He killed many people and animals. Due to this act of violence he was afflicted with leprosy. Harihariharivahan Lokeshvara repented his actions and began to pray for Arya Avalokiteshvara in order to eliminate his bad karma. Due to his strong devotion to Lord Avalokitesvara he was cured of his disease.

One day while he was leisurely sun basking in a nearby river, a hungry Garuda saw him there. He alighted down and tried to devour Takshaka. Since Takshaka was the king of Nagas, he had great strength. They began to engage in a ferocious battle. Harihariharivahan Lokeshvara soon began to drag Garuda into river and intended to kill him. Garuda, finding himself about to be killed, invoked his protector Vishnu who came there immediately to save him. As Vishnu was about to cut off the head of Takshaka with his Sudarsanachakra i.e. whirling disc, Takshaka, realizing his upcoming defeat, prayed for Avalokiteshvara for his protection. Avalokiteshvara arrived there instantly flying over his lion vehicle. Vishnu was ashamed to find Avalokiteshvara, Lord of compassion in front of him and instantly bowed before him throwing away his Sudarshana Chakra and paid homage.

Thereafter Takshaka and Garuda too retreated from the battle and joined to the worship of Avalokiteshvara. After that Vishnu offered himself to Avalokiteshvara to be his vehicle. In the mean time, the lion also offered himself to be the vehicle of Garuda, in turn. Nagaraja Takshaka also offered to be the vehicle of the lion. Thus this composite image of Avalokiteshvara on Vishnu, and on Garuda, then on the lion, all then on Takshaka. The original image of this unique Lokeshvara is at Changu Narayan, a hill above Sodhani Tirtha, near Bhaktapur.

Harihariharivahan Lokeshvara’s body is depicted white in color. Harihariharivahan Lokeshvara has six arms. Out of his three right hands one hand displays the witness gesture; the second hand holds a rosary and the third right hand displaying Bodhyanga Mudra. The three left hands hold staff, Krishnajina and a vase. He is seated on the vehicle of Naga, lion, Garuda and Narayana. His images in bronze and stones can be seen at Swayambhu in Kathmandu, Kwabahal, and Okubahal in Patan.

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