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Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara – Avalokiteshvara as Creator

Avalokiteshvara is the Bodhisattva of compassion and the manifestation of compassion of all Buddhas. Avalokiteshvara is the spiritual offspring of Amitabha Buddha. Avalokiteshvara is a very popular deity of Mahayana Buddhism. Moreover, he is supposed to have incarnated in the Tibetan king Shrong – Tsong – Gompo, as well as in every successive Dalai Lamas. Thus, Avalokiteshvara is the principal tutelary deity of Tibet.

Avalokiteshvara has different forms and epithets. Avalokiteshvara sometimes takes a unique form, Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara, ‘Beautiful Creation Lord of the world.’ Avalokiteshvara emanates the entire Brahmanical pantheon, especially the Dikpalas, for the benefit of all beings out of his universal compassion.

Shrishtikanta is standing gracefully in Tribhanga posture on a moon disk on a lotus seat. His face is oval and very sweet looking. His compassionate eyes are open to see the sufferings of humankind and to help all and illuminate all with the light of wisdom. Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara is the great compassion and boundless wisdom. Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara displays here the Varada pose with his right hand, while his left hand rests near his navel and holds a long stem of a lotus flower. His hair is partly upswept in a beautiful knot and partly tendrils on his shoulders. Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara has a seven – jewel crown and jeweled decoration. Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara wears a beautiful blouse like skirt, a flowing long green silk scarf, and exquisitely designed necklaces with gemstone, a necklace of snake, armlets, bracelets and anklets. An antelope skin is over his left shoulder with the antelope’s head on his left breast, this symbolizes compassion. Moreover Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara wears a blue brocade skirt, and silk leggings made of multicolored band of silk. A green halo with outer rim and an oval-shaped aureole with yellow outer rim, decorated with gemstone, are behind him. The auspicious offerings are beautifully rendered in the bottom center.

A large number of four-armed deities seated on clouds platforms surround his aureole, the deities are supposed to emanate from his various parts of his body. Amitabha Buddha is seated over his halo. The fourteen deities that emanates from Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara include the Sun (Surya) and Moon god Chandra, the ten world protectors (Dikpalas), Hayagriva Bhairava, Naga and also the Brahmanical deities Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Sarasvati and Lakshmi. But these entire deities do not exactly conforms to the textual sources, a later Buddhist text, the Karanda Vyuha gives the following emanations emerging from various parts of Avalokiteshvara, body:

  1. Maheshvara (Shiva) from his head
  2. Chandra from his left eye
  3. Surya from his right eye
  4. Brahma from his shoulders
  5. Vishnu from his heart
  6. Sarasvati from his teeth
  7. Vayu from his mouth
  8. Agni from his navel
  9. Varuna from his stomach
  10. Lakshmi from his Knees
  11. Prithvi from his feet

It is further mentioned in the above text that Avalokiteshvara said to Mahadeva, “you shall be Maheshvara when the Kali age arises. You shall be called the primal god (Adideva), creator and maker.” It is also said that the Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara is also the creator of the eight Mahasiddha of the Charnel grounds.

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