Sṛṣṭikartā Lokeśvara, one of the 108 forms of Avalokiteshvara, is perhaps the most interesting form of Avalokiteshvara, apart from Hari Hari Hari Vahana Lokeshvara. Here Avalokiteshvara assumes the form of Srishtikarta (i.e Creator) emanating all the Vedic gods from his body, for the benefit of all the beings. According to Lokesh Chandra, Bhattacharya misread sṛṣṭikartā as sṛṣṭikāntā (which actually reads something awkward like Creation-lovely or something similar, that too in the feminine !) Lokeshvara in his Book “Indian Buddhist Iconography”.
The depiction of Srishtikarta Lokeshvara is derived from the Karandavyuha Sutra, where Bhagavan Shakyamuni descibes how Avalokiteshvara emanated all the Vedic gods from his body, for the welfare of all living beings. Here Avalokiteshvara assumes the form similar to that of the Vedic Purusha, producing all the deities, thus assuming the form of Srishtikarta. In this particular hymn, he even acquires a role similar to that of the Vedic Purusha, apart from the associated activity.
In the Sutra, Bodhisattva Sarvanīvaraṇaviṣkambhī, asks where Bhagavan Shakyamuni had heard about Avalokishvara’s manifestation of qualities (guṇodbhāvanā), to which Shakyamuni replies that the qualities of the Avalokiteshvara (quoted below) was heard by him from Vipashyin Buddha himself, and also again from Sikhin Buddha when he was a Bodhisattva named “sarvanīvaraṇaviṣkambhin dānaśūra“
cakṣuṣoścandrādityāvutpannau, lalāṭānmaheśvaraḥ, skandhebhyo brahmādayaḥ, hṛdayānnārāyaṇaḥ, daṁṣṭrābhyāṁ sarasvatī, mukhato vāyavo jātāḥ, dharaṇī pādābhyām, varuṇaścodarāt | […]
From [his] Eye’s [Gods of] Sun and Moon, from forehead Shiva, from shoulders Brahma, from heart Vishnu, from teeth Sarasvati, from mouth Vayu (Wind God), from two feets God of Earth, Varuna [Rain God] from Stomach. […]
It is clear from these verses, that Avalokiteshvara assumes the from of Srishtikarta Lokeshvara, emanating all the deities from his body, for the benefit of all beings due to his Maha Karuna. The above creation story is also repeated in the Guna-Karandya Vyuha Sutra. AfterAdi Buddha Prabhasvara emanates Avalokiteshvara, he inturn emanated the Vedic gods from his body.
Bhattacharya explains the Iconography of Avalokiteshvara as follows:
He is one-faced and two armed and stands on a lotus. He displays the Varada pose with his right hand, while his empty left hand rests near the navel. A large number of four armed gods issue from varoius parts of his body, while Amitabha appears over his head
Srishtikarta Lokeshvara from “Gods of Northern Buddhism”
Thus, the Buddhist Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara becomes the creator for all the Vedic Deities. And still Buddha is supposed to be an subversive Avatar of Vishnu, whom Karandavyuha identifies as emanating from the heart of Avalokiteshvara :-). Also, in the list of deities that are present in the assembly, when the Buddha was preaching this Sutra, both Shiva and Vishnu appear as heading the entire assembly of Devas !
The Karandyavyuha Sutra describes a great deal of interaction that has supposedly taken place in between the Buddhist and Hindu figures. We shall see about the, one by one later…