The Wrathful Deities

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The Tibetan Buddhists believed that a deceased person would wander into an area dominated by karma, which was the law of consequences, where the heart gave way to the reasonings of the brain. The heart impulses were personified by Peaceful Deities, and the brain reasonings were personified by the Wrathful Deities.

The Wrathful Deities, where also referred to as the 5 blood-drinking deities. They were believed to begin their appearance on the 8th day after the dead person passed into the post-death realm.

Vajra, the order of the blood-drinking deities, appeared on the 9th day. Here the intellect was represented by Bhagavan Vajra-Heruka; in one hand, he held a human scalp. He was embraced by his mother, Vajra-Krotishaurima, whose right hand held a red shell filled with blood that she placed at her son’s mouth. The next day, Ratna-Heruka, appeared like Vajra-Heruka, but was yellow instead of blue. On the eleventh day, the red Padma-Heruka appeared.

On the twelfth day, the blood-drinking deities of the Lotus Order were encountered. These deities had the heads of various animals and engaged in different vampiric and ghoulish actions. One Dark-Green Ghasmari held a scalp filled with blood that she stirred with a dorje (a holy object) and drank from it. Similar deities appeared daily throughout the fourteenth day.

The dying person was given instructions relating to the deities and prayers to acknowledge them.

These figures did not attack the deceased individual. They were merely pictured as representations of the metaphoric vampiric actions that were previously committed by the deceased.