Two Buddhists and a Hindu

There sure are some crazy gods. And quite a few of them are at the V&A. Here’s three I met today.

Let’s start with the Buddhist defender, Mahākāla.


The thing with this chap is that he has various guises throughout Buddhism. Sometimes he’s even an elephant. But always he has too many arms, looks fierce and protects the Buddhist faith from…well, people who would rather hurt it, I guess.

There is a Mahākāla ritual where, over a series of days, various magical things happen. For instance, roasted barley dough is squashed flat with the imprint of the hand that made it. These are then rolled into balls and pressed onto the parts of people’s bodies that are ailing them. I presume this cures them. Makes me wonder why we bother with doctors and medicine…and science in general, really.

Actually, this chap is really important and to that end, Tibetan monasteries perform the Mahākāla Grand Puja and Sacred Dance at the end of every year. From what I can find, it would appear that this festival lasts for about nine days and involves continuous dancing by lamas and devotees. The days start at 3am and end at midnight…which sounds pretty intense. Still, it must be one hell of a party. And one hell of a hangover at the other end of it.

The thing is, though, if they have this nine day party for this god then, I suppose, they must believe he’s real.

Next up we have the super randy Kharamukha Samvara:


He is the Buddhist tantric sexpert. He has the head of a donkey (because that means emptiness and that’s an important part of enlightenment) and is usually depicted having a lot of quite full-on sex. As usual, he has lots of arms. He holds in each hand of those arms, various items which symbolise steps on the path to enlightenment. Well, apart from the ones supporting the woman that is. She symbolises wisdom.

I reckon the donkey thing is just a little bit too much like Europa and the white bull, if you ask me.

And, finally, here’s Hindu star, Durga.


I reckon if I was going to be religious in any way or form, I’d be a Hindu. They have the coolest goddesses. I’ve said before how much I love Kali, destroyer of worlds, but I reckon Durga comes a close second. She’s a sort of Hindu Xena, riding tigers with her many arms loaded with all manner of weaponry.

She is the Goddess of Victory of Good over Evil and is often represented slaying the buffalo demon Mahishasura. Mahishasura was bent on destroying everything (sort of like the Old Testament god) until That Lot Upstairs decided to send Crazy Girl Durga out to stop him. You see, all the other divinities (That Lot Upstairs) were unable to stop the Buffalo Man individually so they pooled their powers and created one mean and wrathful she-devil, who whooped his ass.

The thing is, it wasn’t just Mahishasura she had to fight but his entire army as well. Even so, she annihilated them all with, as they say, unparalleled cruelty. This pissed Mahishasura off somewhat…as you’d imagine.

An enraged Mahishasura attacked Durga in [the] guise of a buffalo. But Durga bound it with ropes. The buffalo morphed into a lion and leapt on Durga, but she beheaded it with her sword. At this, Mahishasura began to fight in [the] form of a swordsman. Durga pinned him down with a torrent of arrows. Mahishasura now assumed [the] form of a giant elephant and tugged at Durga’s lion. Durga lopped off its trunk with her sword and freed her lion. The elephant turned into a buffalo and charged at Durga. Sipping from her wine cup, Durga flung her trident and beheaded Mahishasura, finally killing him. Wikipedia (

I mean, you’ve got to love someone that amazing. All she needs is a lasso and an invisible plane…

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1 Response to Two Buddhists and a Hindu

  1. hankyoyu says:

    My goodness that was great really loved it cant wait to see all this stuff .
    love mum xx

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