Mahāmāyūrī Vidyārājñī also known as “[Great] Peacock Wisdom Queen” (Literal Translation of the Sanskrit) is a [peaceful looking] wrathful deity in Mahayana. She is known as Kujaku Myo-o in Japanese. She is generally associated with the removal of poisons.
Mahamayuri Devi belongs to the class of deities called “Vidyārājas” (Wisdom Kings). She is one of the Pañcarakṣā Devi’s [Five protection Deities] in the Nepalese Tradition. The others being “Mahāpratisarā“, “Mahāsāhasra-pramardinī“, “Mahāśītavatī“, & “Mahāmantrānusāriṇī“
From the Iconography of Nepalese Buddhism :
According to the Mahamayuri sutra of Pancaraksha, there was a bhiksu called venerable Svati. He was newly ordained in the Buddhist community of monks. He was unfortunately bitten by a poisonous snake and fainted. On seeing his condition venerable Ananda reported this incident to Buddha Shakyamuni. Lord Buddha, out of compassion for the newly ordained monk and the future ones, disclosed a dharani which was capable of eliminating poisonous harm and malignant diseases. This was the dharani of Arya Mahamayuri.
There is another story about this deity. There was a golden King peacock in the Himalayan mountain who used to recite Mahamayuri dharani with great devotion. It so happened one day that this king went along with his family to travel in the mountain forgetting to recite the dharani that day. He was caught by hunters. thinking of his forgetfulness of the dharani he immediately began to recite and was able to free himself. Thee Buddha told Ananda that the peacock king called Suvarnavabhasa (i.e. golden coloured one) was none other than Buddha Shakyamuni himself. Thus this dharani is believed to be efcacious in all cases of dangers as well as for relieving poisonous harms.
The Mahāmayūrī vidyā seems to have appeared originally in the “Bhaiṣajya Vastu” of the “Sarvāstivāda Vinaya” , from, which other derivations must have occured.
(The paper summarizes the presence of this Vidya in the Sarvastiva Vinaya, as an early indication of Tantra in Pre-Schismatic Buddhism)
[…] It is interesting to note that ‘Mahamayuri-Mantra’ had been prescribed by Sakyaputra Gautama, the Buddha, himself when a monk was not cured in spite of the treatment of a Vaidya from his snake-bit. The account is mentioned in the Bhaisajya-vastu (T. Sman gyi gzhi) of the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya vastu (‘Dul ba gzhi: Bka’ – ‘gyur. Nge. Vol. Peking Edn). As usual the method of narrating an account in the vinaya-texts is observed here. A monk named Sari (Skt. Svati) had a snake-bite.
In this connection a legend of the Peacock-king named suvarna-prabhasa depicts the efficacy of the Mahamayuri-Vidya who had bee conversant in the Vidya. He was in the right side of the Himalaya mountain when he was caught hold in a net of an enemy at the midnight after allure in the company of the peahens around him. He however regained his memory and chanted the Vidya. Thereafter, he could run away. The net was broken off.
[…] It becomes evident that the Vidya in Sanskrit had been prevalent in India […]
In course of time the Mahamayuri Vidya became prominent for its power to sope snakes biting and it was called Vidyarajni. (Queen of the secret sciences. The Vidya was included in the list of the five protecting Dharanis (Parncaraksa) […]
The Vidya of Mahamayuri
The Vidya of Mahamayuri as seen in the Bhaisajyavastu, from the e-text of
Second Version of the Vidya:
[ namo buddhāya namo dharmāya namaḥ saṃghāya ]
Apart from the variation such as Mangale/Mangalye Manse/Manasi etc [which I think is mostly due to manuscript variations ] between the two versions, note the Italicized portions. In the first version, when the Buddha proclaims the vidya to save the Bhikshu Svati he says, “rakṣa svātiṃ” (Protect Svati), and in the second version, as the Peacock Suvarnaprabhasa, when remembering the dharani to help himself out, the buddha says “rakṣa māṃ” (Protect Me).
Similar to that noted by Jayarava here, this could be an example of a “Template-style-dharani” too – The Pattern to be matched is Raksha <<object in accusative case>>.
- The e-text has “rakṣā svātiṃ” which must be a typo. The BoT has “rakṣa svātiṃ”, which seems to be correct “Protect<<imperative>> Me<<accusative>>”, and matches more with the second version of the dharani. I have followed the later.
The Image of Mahamayuri in full resolution: http://www.lifetv.org.tw/downlond/provide/佛母大孔雀明王a.jpg (1000 X 1687)