Dharmapala Thangka CentreIconography

The four guardians of the universe


Vaisravana / Kubera
Vaisravana Vaisravana [Tib.: rNam thos sras] also called Jambhala and Kubera, is the only one of the four protectors of the world who is revered even outside the group of four, for he not only guards the north, but is considered the god of wealth and treasure.

He sits on a lion and holds under his left arm a mongoose that spits beads. With his right hand he supports the stick of a round standard proclaiming the victory of the Buddha doctrine.

Dhritarashtra Dhritarashtra [Tibetan: Yul 'khor bsrung], »who has his kingdom firmly in hand,« is the guardian of the eastern world realm and lord of the »Gandharvas,« the celestial musicians who, as beings suspended in the air, play to the gods.

He therefore also plays an instrument himself, namely the lute.

Virupaksa Virupaksa [Tibetan: mig mi bzang], the one with the deformed eyes guards the West and is also the guardian of the Buddha relics.

To symbolize this, he holds in his right hand a small reliquary [stupa], his left hand embraces a snake, [naga] for Virupaksa is the Lord of the Nagas.

Lotus Protecting the south is Virudhaka [Tibetan: Phags skyes] He is also called the »sprout« because a horn seems to grow out of his head like a plant sprout. The impression is false, however, because it is a raised trunk of a slain elephant-like monster, whose hard skin Virudhaka wears as a helmet.

He is the king of giants and gnomes. His attribute is the sword.