Exploring the Forms of Vajrayogini and The Traditions of Her Practice

Vajrayogini: A brief Introduction

In the pantheon of Vajrayana deities, Vajrayogini stands as having her own unique glory as a universal motherhood. Depicted in glory red and with a naked body of a young women, she is the centre deity in the highest Tantric Practice called Anutara Yoga Tantra.

Although in most of her depiction, she is depicted as wrathful or semi wrathful, she represents the bliss in Nirvana and ultimate Buddhahood.

Is Vajrayogini a Dakini?

To answer this, it is very important to understand the term “Dakini”.  It means someone who has attained the ultimate Wisdom. Hence, Vajrayogini is both a form of Dakini and Yogini. Her origination is deeply associated with the Chakrasamvara Tantra, where she is often depicted in YabYum (embracing consort Heruka).

Her other forms and manifestations are evoked and practiced by many Buddhist practitioners through meditation and her mantra recitations.

Many of her forms will be discussed further below:

1. Khechari of Indrabhuti:

Mahasiddha Indrabhuti was the first one to introduce Vajrayogini practice, hence making this tradition the oldest. It is also believed that he was granted with her mantra Sadhana by Vajrayogini herself. He was the king of Oddiyana, who later left his kingdom and converted himself into her disciple. And this became the origin of the Indra-Khacho tradition of Vajrayogini.

Here, the word Khacho means Khechari which is the Sanskrit word for the "ones who flies in sky". Also, the term sky here is not limited to the space we see above us, but it is the vase space of emptiness within our heart. Once we realize this space within us, we will lead ourselves to the pure land of Khechara, the Kingdom of Vajrayogini.

Vajrayogini of Indrabhuti

  1. She is depicted as having two faces:
  • Central face of a Woman
  • The face at the right side is a Wild Black Hog. Here, the wild hog is profound symbol for Ignorance while her central face is the Wisdom.
  1. She appears wrathful, naked in ruby red body.
  2. Standing in the Pratyalidah posture (where her right leg is raised upwards and left leg stands upon the navel of the corpse.
  3. She has two hands:
  • Right hand holds a small curved knife
  • Left hand holds a skull cup filled with blood
  1. On her right shoulder is placed a Khatvanga
  2. She wears a garland of 50 severed human heads and a 5 skull crown on head. 
 Khechari of Indrabhuti:

 Her Mantra:

"Oṃ Sarvabuddhadākinīye Oṃ Vajravarṇinīye Oṃ Vajravairocanīye Hūṃ Hūṃ Hūṃ Faṭ Faṭ Faṭ Svāhā”

The Lineage of Her practice:


- Vajrayogini

- Mahasiddha Lva-va-pa


- Brahmin Virupa

- Mahasiddha Savaripa

- Lord Maitripa- ---------

(to the lineage of Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism)

Kechari of Naropa:

Vajrayogini of Naropa tradition is the most practiced form and is considered to semi wrathful. It is believed that goddess Vajrayogini (in the form of Dakini) appeared in front of Mahasiddha Naropa, one fine day when he was studying at the Nalanda University. She guided him to find his Guru Tilopa who later taught him the secret wisdom of Mahamudra. This tradition practiced Vajrayogini as the main yidam.

Vajrayogini of Naropa Tradition:

  1. She is as red as hibiscus flower, naked and wearing bone ornaments over her body
  2. She is slightly wrathful.
  3. Wearing a garland of human skull and a crown of 5 skulls on her head.
  4. Her right leg is extended at the ack and the rest on the breast of Kalaratri. While her left leg is bended and tramples on the body of Bhairav.
  5. Her Right hand holds a curved knife and her left hand holds a skull cup full of blood.
  6. A Khatvanga rest upon her left shoulder.Khechari of Naropa Vajrayogini

Depiction of Vajrayogini of Naropa Tradition in Thangka

Her Mantra:

“Oṃ Vajravairocanīye huṃ huṃ faṭ svāhā”.

The lineages of Her Practice:


- Vajrayogini

- Mahasiddha Ghantapa

- Tengipa

- Antarapa

- Tilopa

- Naropa

- Marpa

Kechari of Maitripa:

This form of Vajrayogini is also widely known as Vidyadhari (the one who holds Wisdom). Her another name is Urdapada Vajravarahi and she is practiced under the Maitripada tradition.

Vajrayogini of Maitripada Tradition:

  1. She is depicted in her red body, naked and wearing bone ornaments.
  2. Wears a garland of skulls and a five skull cup on her head.
  3. Her both legs are raised upwards (or in some depiction, only one leg is raised up). This represents the flying posture, which symbolizes her freedom from earthly bondages. Since she flies high in the sky, she is also known as Kechari Vidya.
  1. She holds a Vajra on her right hand and drinks the blood from the skull cup in her left.
  2. A Khatvanga rests upon her left arm.maitripada Khechari Vajrayogini

Hand made Gold Plated Statues of Vajrayogini from Termatree

Her Mantra:

Oṃ Sarvabuddhadākinīye Vajravarṇinīye huṃ huṃ faṭ faṭ Svāhā”

Lineage of this Practice:


- Vajrayogini

- Mahasiddha Lva-va-pa

– Kind Indrabhuti

- Lakshminkara

-Mahasiddha Virupa

- Savaripa

- Lord Maitripa 

Trikaya Vajrayogini:

In the Hevajra Tantra, it is said that there are 32 Nadi (nerves, which represents the 32 Bodhicitta) flowing all over the body. Among them, there are three main of them which are namely:

  1. Lalana (that carries the urine)
  2. Rasana (carries the Blood)
  3. Avadhuti (carries the semen)

The first and the second one are of Prajna (wisdom) and Upaya (skillfull) nature respectively while the third one is the one which balances the both.

Depiction of Trikaya Vajrayogini:

  • On the right side is Lalana, also known as Vajravairocani. She is white in colors, holds skull cup and a knife
  •  On the left is Rasana, also known as Vajravarnini. Black in color, holds skull and a curved knife
  • In the middle is Avadhuti, known as Dakini. Bright yellow in color.Triloka Vajrayogii

The 6th MahaVidya, Chinnamasta:

She is described as the one who can grant Siddhi and Moksha, a Mahavidya who is fierce than others. It is believed that her practice can bring salvation quicker than any other one.

She is holding a curved knife with Vajra handle in her right hand and with her left hand, she holds her own head. From her neck, three streamlines of blood are flowing. The left and right blood streams are being drunk by the two Dakinis on her each side. And the central stream is flowing through her own mouth.

Her name is SarvaBuddha Dakini.


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