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Ekajati (Tib. Ral Chikma), meaning the “Single Braid or Hair-lock” (Skt. eka-jata), is a powerful female deity of Indian Buddhist origin who serves as a protector of mantras, and is regarded as the “Queen of the mamo” or wrathful mother goddesses. Along with Rahula and Vajrasadhu (Tib. Dorje Legpa) she is one of the three main Nyingma protectors of the Dzogchen teachings. In Tibetan she is known by a number of names, including the 'Sole Mother with a Braid', the 'Mistress of the Life-force Spirits and Mother Goddesses', and 'Queen of the Enemy-gods'. These various classes of spirits may be considered as obstructive enemies over which Ekajati has control. As a protective goddess she guards the traditions of secret mantras and terma or 'revealed treasures', grants the wishes of all her practitioners, and protects them from demonic forces.
Ekajati leans towards the right in standing pratyalidha posture with her right leg bent and her left extended, as she tramples upon the head and legs of a female enemy that lies prone upon her golden sun disc, lotus, and vajra-rock formation. Ekajati is extremely wrathful and dark maroon in colour, with a fierce face and two extended arms. Her tawny-yellow hair is disheveled and hangs freely down her back, with one single twisted iron-like braid rising up above the crown of her head. She possesses the peculiarities of a one round red eye in the centre of her forehead, one long and sharp white tooth that bites down on her lower lip, and one distended and sagging breast.
Her single eye represents the unity of her pristine awareness, while her two other eye sockets are empty. She has a gaping mouth, a twisting tongue, and upward blazing facial hair. She wears the five bone ornaments of a dakini, along with golden earrings, bracelets, armlets, anklets, a necklace, and a crown adorned with five dry white skulls. Around her neck hangs a garland of fifty freshly severed heads that are strung upon a thread of intestines. As a lower garment she wears a tiger-skin skirt or loincloth, the flayed skin of a human enemy, and a cloud-shaped collar and cape of smoke. The human-skin is looped around her neck and hangs behind her back like a shawl, and her smoke cape is edged with an indigo border and billows out behind her body. Nectar streams from her sagging single breast, symbolizing how she protects the teachings as if they were her only son, and nourishes practitioners with the great bliss of her compassion and wisdom-awareness.
With her right hand she wields aloft a corpse-club that is fashioned from the mummified body of an enemy, which symbolizes how her understanding of emptiness has dried-out the corpse of appearances. With her left hand she holds the torn-out heart of an enemy with three twisting life-veins hanging beneath it, which she consumes as food. This heart represents the dharmakaya, and her holding of it reveals how her awareness is 'fused' with reality. With this hand she also releases the female iron-wolf that serves as her principal 'messenger' to swiftly lure all demonic enemies into her sphere of activity. Light rays emanate from the pores of Ekajati's body and she is encircled by a blazing aura of awareness fire. In front of her is an upturned skull with scalped hair that contains the five torn-out sense organs of eyes, ears, a nose, a tongue and a heart; and flanking this are two cloud-borne skull-cups that contain swirling blue nectar and fresh blood.
© text by Robert Beer