Dance » Vajrayogini

Featured in: Gods and Demons

The Vajrayogini is a supreme deity of the Tantric pantheon and is considered to be a superior being in both her metaphysical and practical stages, representing the embodiment of a fierce, enlightened, wild, and tempestuous female dakini, who is the essence of all Buddhas. She is considered to be a tantric Buddhist meditational entity and is portrayed with a garland of skulls, drinking blood from a kapala (skull), and holding a curved flaying knife called a driguk.

Young and desirous, with a third eye set vertically on her forehead, she stands naked in a sensual pose, her red body burning with tummo or an “inner fire”, and her untamed hair flowing down her back. Her two arms symbolize the realization of two truths while her three eyes endow her with the ability to see past, present, and future. She cuts through delusions and obstacles with her knife and expresses her experience of bliss by copiously from her skull cup.

The Vajrayogini is an extremely difficult dance to master, with expressive poses that tell the story of her attributes and divine qualities. Every movement refers back to the Sanskrit verse which poetically describes both her gentler and more aggressive natures. The dance also contains visual references to the ashtamangala, or eight auspicious Buddhist symbols, particularly the conch shell as it spirals down from its largest aperture to the point of origin. A dancer requires great balance and finesse to achieve this smooth gliding swirl between stanzas in the music.