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á¡kyamuni   - An Exhibition of Rare Thankas

Thanka No. 10

Sarahapa


Sarahapa

Collection: Hemis Monastery

School of art: Sman-bris

18th century

Sarahapa

He was born in a Brahm¡n family in East India whose mother was a ·¡kin¢. He studied Brahm¡nic literature and became a famous scholar. He had faith in Buddhist Tantra and was practising it along with Brahm¡nism. As a tantric, he was allowed to drink alcohol which restored energy in physical body. He was accused by Brahm¡ns of drinking and appealed to the court of the king. He freed himself from the ordeals imposed on him by the king. After the judgment, the king acquitted him of drinking alcohol. He even ordered the Brahm¡ns to drink alcohol if they could perform the feats that Sarahapa did.

After this bad incident, he left for Nalanda and took ordination. He deeply learnt Sutra and Tantra. He strove to preserve and promote the Buddha's teachings.

After some time, he fled to South India in search of a qualified consort who would help him in practising Tantra. He adopted a daughter of a ·¡kin¢ as a consort who was making arrows. He used to roam from village to village selling arrows with her consort. His name, therefore, became Saraha, the) arrow shooter.

When 12 years of meditation were over, he still did not attain perfection. He was inclined to leave for the mountain solitude. His consort advised him saying, "physical solitude itself will not bring you liberation so long as the seeker and the sought do not dissolve (fuse) in the inner solitude of your mind." By the realization of the' contents of the utterance Saraha suddenly attained perfection.

In this Thanka, the central figure is Mah¡siddha Sarahapa who holds an arrow with his hands. In the top centre is Buston holding a. secret scripture. In the right corner is N¡g¡rjuna whose head is shaded with snake umbrella. In the lower right corner is Dombipa. In the bottom is Padmavajra and in the lower left corner is Tsoskys Dorje.

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