Krodha Kali, 2012

Acrylic on paper

41.5 x 29.75 inches


Krodha Kali, Fierce Black One, or Wrathful Black Varahi is an alternate form of the wrathful Tibetan Buddhist goddess Vajravarahi. Her origin is in the Hindu Varahi, an animal-headed mother goddess. Varahi means boar, and there is an image of a boar in Krodha Kali's crown.

Krodha Kali was described in a Nyingma liturgical verse as a “treasure of all excellent and common attainments,” and as one who “performs [for] the benefit of beings.”

She wears many of the “eight attires of the charnel grounds” including facial ornaments, flayed animal skins (an elephant hide as an upper garment and a tiger skin as a lower garment), dry skulls in her crown, and a garland of freshly severed heads.

She holds a curved knife in her raised right hand, a skull bowl full of blood in her left hand at her heart, and a katvanga staff in the crook of her arm. These three attributes are typical of the female wrathful deities. The skull cup symbolizes method as the cultivation of bliss; the knife symbolizes wisdom as emptiness as the severing of all conceptualizations; and the staff symbolizes the union of bliss and emptiness.

She dances on a human corpse. The corpse symbolizes the defeated ego.

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