Open edition of signed gold on black Kalachakra screen prints now available in large A2 size (24.5 x 19.5 inches).
Kalachakra, meaning the 'Wheel of Time', is a yidam deity of the Highest Yoga Tantra class (anuttarayogatantra), whose initiations and practices have now been widely disseminated by H.H. Dalai Lama and several other prominent Tibetan lineage holders of this unique tantric tradition. The Kalachakra system differs from other Tantras in its symbolism and colour placements, which owes much to Hindu terminology and the alternative cosmology of its complex 634-deity mandala.
Kalachakra is semi-wrathful and blue-black in colour, with three necks, four faces, two legs, and twenty-four arms. His central neck is blue, his right neck is red, and his left neck is white. His main face is black and wrathful with bared fangs, his right face is red and passionate, his left face is white and peaceful, and his rear face is yellow and meditative. Each of his faces has three bow-shaped eyes and is adorned with a five-jewel crown, and his bound-up topknots are adorned with a white crescent moon, a variegated crossed-vajra, and a crowning wish-granting gem. He wears a long silk scarf that billows at his lower sides, a tiger-skin loincloth that has been loosened for sexual intercourse, and the golden vajra-ornaments of earrings, necklaces, a girdle, garlands, finger-rings, and bracelets, armlets and anklets.
He has six shoulders; the two upper ones are blue, the two middle ones are red, and the two lower ones are white. From these shoulders emanate twelve upper arms and twenty-four forearms, eight of which are black, eight are red, and eight are white. The backs of the fingers on each of his twenty-four hands are coloured: yellow (thumb), white (forefinger), red (second finger), black (third finger), and green (little finger): while the three inner joints of each finger are coloured black, red and white from their palms outward.
With his first pair of black right and left hands he embraces his consort while holding a vajra and bell. With his other three black right hands he holds a sword, a trident, and a curved knife; while with his other three black left hands he holds a shield, a khatvanga, and a skull-cup full of blood. With his four red right hands he holds a 'fire-arrow' or three arrows, a vajra-hook, a damaru, and a hammer; while with his four red left hands he holds a bow, a rope-noose, a jewel, and a lotus. And with his four white right hands he holds a wheel, a spear, a club, and an axe; while in his four white left hands he holds a white conch shell, a mirror, a vajra-chain, and the four-faced yellow head of Brahma.
Kalachakra stands in alidha posture as he leans towards the left. His right leg is red and extended, while his left leg is white and slightly bent. His right foot presses on the heart of red Kamadeva, the Vedic god of love, who holds five flower arrows, a bow, a hook and a noose in his four arms. At Kamadeva's side is his consort Rati, who desperately tries to lift Kalachakra's foot from the breast of her lord. Kalachakra's left foot tramples upon the heart of three-eyed white Rudra-Shiva, who holds a trident, a damaru, a skull-cup, and a khatvanga in his four arms. At Rudra's side is his consort Gauri (Rudrani or Uma), who likewise tries desperately to lift Kalachakra's foot from the heart of her lord. The disc upon which Kalachakra stands is made up of the four stacked planets: Kalagni (golden), Rahu (blue-black), Sun (red), and Moon (white), which rest upon the pericarp of a vast multicoloured lotus.
Kalachakra's consort is Vishvamata (Tib. sna-tshogs yum), who stands in pratyalidha posture with her lord in sexual union. She is golden in colour, with four faces, two legs, and eight arms. Her four faces all have three eyes, and are coloured golden (centre), white (right), red (left), and blue (back). Her hair is bound up into a topknot with strands hanging freely down her back, and she wears the golden ornaments of a jeweled crown and girdle, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, armlets and anklets. With her first pair of left and right hands she embraces the three necks of her lord while holding a skull-cup full of blood and a vajra-handled curved knife behind his necks. With her other three right hands she holds a hook, a damaru, and a rosary; and with her other three left hands she holds a rope-noose, a white lotus, and a radiant jewel. Placed in front of Kalachakra's lotus throne are two low tables that bear a variety of symbolic offerings and attributes.
© text by Robert Beer