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Mahakala is a deity worshipped both by Hindu and Buddhists. Mahakala can be seen in the entrance of every Buddhist monastery of Kathmandu valley. Mahakala is said to be the protector of doctrine of Buddha Shakyamuni. There are many forms of Mahakala, among them two-armed, four-armed, six-armed and sixteen-armed being the most popular one.

In the Nepalese Buddhist tradition the two-armed form of Mahakala carved in stone is found in large numbers. This two-armed form is described as follows:

Mahakala body is dark blue in colour. Mahakala looks wrathful bedecked with ornaments of serpents. He wears a garland of severed heads and a crown of five skulls symbolizing the five defilements. His right hand holds Kartri symbolizing that it can cut ego-clinging and attachment, and his left hand holds a kapala filled with blood symbolizing the subjugation of evil ones. He wears tiger skin symbolizing the purification of desire. He has three eyes symbolizing his clear comprehension of ree times. He looks ferocious against the blazing fire. His mouth is smeared with blood signifying that he is active in eliminating evils.

The characteristic feature of the Protector Mahakala is that he, during war, can protect those relying on him since there is limitless number of retinue of spirits and ghosts under his command who are skillful in battle. He can provide sufficient foods to the needy. Separate temples with Mahakala alone can be found in large number.

It is said that Mahakala is the manifestation of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. From the heart of Arya Avalokiteshvara emerged a dark blue Hung letter, which transformed into the Instantaneous Protector of wisdom. Buddha Amitabha proclaimed thus, “Son of the family, you shall have the strength of the wrathful Yama, Lord of death. You shall have the mountain spirits, the yakshas, the devils and the demonesses as your messengers. You shall embody the great wrathful empowerments of body, speech, mind, qualities and activities of all the Buddhas throughout the three times”. Ever since Mahakala has remained as the doctrine Protector of all the Buddha fields.

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