Sahasrabhuja Sahasranetra Avalokiteshvara

sa_Saurashtra

sa_Saurashtra

Sahasra-bhuja Sahasra-netra Avalokiteśvara (Thousand Armed Thousand Eyed Avalokiteshvara) is one of the widely venerated forms of Avalokiteśvara. He has 48 principal arms which hold various instruments, and the rest of the arms form a background. He has an eye in each of those thousand palms. 

 

In the Kāraṇḍavyūha Sutra, Avalokiteshvara enters the Avici hells, to save the beings there. He converts the fire pits into cool refreshing pools, and makes the Avici Naraka a paradise.  The Guardians report this to Yama. Yama wonders whether the being who had done such a transformation, was “Shiva”, “Vishnu”, a “Rakshasa” or some other supernatural being. When seen through his divine eyes, he finds Avalokiteshvara there.

 

He then appears before Avalokiteshvara, he places his head at the feet of avalokiteesvara and worships Him. He utters the following praises on Avalokitesvara:

namo’stvavalokiteśvarāya, maheśvarāya, padmaśriye, varadāya, vaśaṁkarāya, pṛthivīvaralocanakarāya, jagadāśvāsanakarāya, śatasahasrabhujāya, koṭīśatasahasranetrāya, ekādaśaśīrṣāya, vaḍavāmukhaparyantāya,[…]

 

namo’stvavalokiteśvarāya, maheśvarāya, padmaśriye, varadāya, vaśaṁkarāya, pṛthivīvaralocanakarāya, jagadāśvāsanakarāya, śatasahasrabhujāya,koṭīśatasahasranetrāya, ekādaśaśīrṣāya, vaḍavāmukhaparyantāya,[…]

 

The words in bold reads “Hundred-Thousand-Armed” , “Ten-Million-Hundred-Thousand-Eyed“, “Eleven-Headed“. The God of Death, Yama praises Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara as having hundred-thousand-arms and Ten-millions times that amount of Eyes. But interestingly his heads seems to be constant – always counting to Eleven

 

There are lots of hymns praising the Thousand Armed Avalokitesvara, the most popular one is the “Mahā Karuṇā Dhāraṇī“, popularly known as the Great Compassion Mantra.However there are other less known hymns to the Thousand Armed Avalokiteshvara, many of such hymns are presented in Lokesh Chandra’s book, “Thousand Armed Avalokitsvara“.

 

One Such hymn is from Caryā Kalpa of the Thousand Armed Avalokitesvara recorded by Amoghavajra 

 

Corrected Text by Lokesh Chandra by comparing Taisho 1056 & 1062B) (From his Book)


namo ratnatrayāya

nama āryāvalokiteśvarāya bodhisattvāya mahāsattvāya mahākāruṇikāya

mahāvīrāya sahasrākṣāya sahasraśīrṣāya sahasrapadāya sahasrajihvāya sahasrabhujāya

ehi bhagavann āryāvalokiteśvara 

ugra atyugra mahāugra mahānāda

kili kili kili kili

mili mili mili (mili)

cili cili cili cili

naṭa naṭa naṭa naṭa

hasa hasa hasa hasa

kuru kuru kuru kuru

ehyehi mahāvīra

balaṁ dada vīryaṁ dada

sarva kāmaṁ me prayaccha

śīghraṁ vaśaṁ me 

rāṣṭraṁ sarājakaṁ kuru

sahasrabhuja sahasravīra lokeśvara

sādhaya sadā siddhiṁ me

bhava varado bhavāgro bhava me

oṁ namo’stute bhagavann āryāvalokiteśvara

prabudhya prasīda naḥ 

varado mama bhavāhi svāhā

 

* Lokesh Chandra’s text has 3 mili’s, but it is more consistent to have 4 mili’s.

 

The Corrupted Version as recorded in the Chinese Tripitaka : CBETA Reader : Taisho No. 1062B 

 

namo ratna trayāya 

namaḥ āryavalokiteśvarāya bodhisatvāya mahāsatvāya mahākāruṇikāya

makāvīrāya sahasrākṣāya sahasraśīṣāya sahasrapadaya sahasrajidvāya sahasrabhujāya

ehi bhagavaṃ nāryāvalokiteśvara

ugra atmagra mahāugra mahānāda 

kili kli kili kili 

mili mili mili 

cili cili cili cili 

naṭu naṭu naṭu naṭu 

krasa krasa krasa krasa 

kuru kuru kuru kuru

ehyehi mahāvīra

valaṃ dada vīryaṃ dada 

savaṃ kāmaṃ me 

prayaccha śīghraṃ vaśaṃ me 

rāṣṭra sarājakaṃ kuru 

sahasrabhuja sahasravīra lokeśvara 

sādhaya sadā siddhiṃ me 

bhava dharado bhava agro bhavāmi 

oṃ namostute bhagavaṃ tnāryāvalokiteścara 

prapudhya prasīda maḥ 

varado mama bhavāhi svāhā

 

The Corrupted Version as recorded in the Chinese Tripitaka : CBETA Reader : Taisho No. 1056 Fascicle 2


namo ratnatrayāya 

namaḥ āryāvalākiteśvarāya bodhisatvāya mahāsatvāya mahākāruṇikāya

mahāvīrāya sahasrākṣāya sahasraśīṣāya sahasrapadāya sahasrajihvāya sahasrabhujāya 

ehā bhagavaṃ nāryāvalokiteśvara 

ugra ātyugra mahāugra mahāmahānāda 

kili kili kili kili 

mili mili mili mili 

cili cili cili cili 

naṭu naṭu naṭu naṭu naṭu 

krasa krasa krasa krasa 

kuru kuru kuru kuru kuru

ehyehi mahāvīra valaṃ dada vīryaṃ dada

savaṃ hāmaṃ me prayaccha 

śīghraṃ vaśaṃ me

rāṣṭra sarājakaṃ kuru 

sahasrabhuja sahasravīra lokeśvara 

sādhaya sadā siddhiṃ me 

bhadharado bhavagro abhavāmi 

oṃ namostute bhagavaṃ tnāryāvalokiteśvara 

prapudhya prasīda maḥ

varado mama bhavāhi svāhā 

 

CBETA reader gives various footnotes or alternate readings (I am not sure what those references in the middle of the text mean) for the above text. Replacing the sensible alternate forms (some alternates dont make any sense) gives the following version.

 

namo ratnatrayāya 

namaḥ āryāvalokiteśvarāya bodhisatvāya mahāsatvāya mahākāruṇikāya

mahāvīrāya sahasrākṣāya sahasraśīrṣāya sahasrapādāya sahasrajihvāya sahasrabhujāya 

ehā bhagavaṃ āryāvalokiteśvara 

ugra ātyugra mahāugra mahāmahānāda 

kili kili kili kili 

mili mili mili mili 

cili cili cili cili 

naṭu naṭu naṭu naṭu naṭu 

krasa krasa krasa krasa 

kuru kuru kuru kuru kuru

ehyehi mahāvīra valaṃ dada vīryaṃ dada

sarva hāmaṃ me prayaccha 

śīghraṃ vaśaṃ me

rāṣṭra sarājakaṃ kuru 

sahasrabhuja sahasravīra lokeśvara 

sādhaya sadā siddhiṃ me 

bhadharado bhava agro bhavāmi 

oṃ namostute bhagavaṃ āryāvalokiteśvara 

prapudhya prasīda māṃ

varado mama bhavāhi svāhā 

 

This hymn expands the appearance of Avalokitesvara as having Thousand Heads (Sahasra-Shirsha), Thousand Feet (Sahasara-Pada) & Thousand Tounges (Sahasra-Jihva). One cannot but compare this form to the Vedic Purusha. The Purusha Sukta in Rig Veda explains the primordial Purusha,as having “Thousand Heads”, “Thousand Eyes”, “Thousand Feet”. ( sahasraśīrṣā puruṣaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ sahasrapāt ). The followers of the Vedic religion believe that, it is from this Vedic Purusha’s body, the entire universe along with all the deities had emerged .

 

It is also to be noted that, in the Karandavyuha Sutra, Avalokiteshvara takes the role of this primordial Purusha emanating all the Vedic gods from his body. (See: Srishtikarta Lokeshvara) The description of  Avalokiteshvara as having Thousand Heads, Feet and Tougues must be seen as echoing this of Nature of Avalokiteshvara. He is completely metamorphosed into the Vedic Purusha. No wonder, He is known to take any forms to teach the Dharma !

 

Siddham Variations

One important thing that could be noted in these various recessions is that, some of the corruptions occur due to misreading of the closely-resembling siddham characters.

 

bha,va,ba are very similar in appearance, which may cause some amount of confusion. See Jayarava’s post here

 

bhava dharado (T. 1062B) is actually bhava varado. valaṃ (1056 & 1062B) is balaṃ. 

 

sahasrajidvāya (T. 1062B) is sahasrajihvāya (T. 1056), This has occured due to the fact that dva & hva look similar.

 

I have no idea why ha & ka are interchanged. They are usually visually distinct.

 

T. 1062B mavīrāya (for mavīrāya) ::  T.1056 maṃ (for maṃ)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *