Hayagriva – The Horse Necked One

Hayagriva is a primordial horse spirit too powerful to fade away:

• Hayagriva was incorporated into the Hindu pantheon as an avatar of Vishnu.

• Buddhism considers him a wrathful manifestation of Avalokitesvara.

• Hayagriva is one of the Eight Dharma Protectors.

Hayagriva is a fierce, protective guardian and healer. He is the guardian of sacred texts. Hayagriva heals all illnesses, especially ailments that manifest on the skin including the once-dreaded leprosy. He is invoked to banish all evil spirits.

Hayagriva has never lost his powerful association with horses and is especially venerated by Tibetan horse dealers.


There are believed to be 108 forms of Hayagriva. He drives away Demons by neighing like a horse.


Hayagriva is identified by a small horse’s head, which surmounts his primary head (it sometimes resembles a hair ornament). His image often appears on phurpa daggers as well as on amulets intended to ward off harmful spirits.


Phurbu (also known as phurpa), the triangular ritual dagger used to exorcise evil spirits. A true phurpa contains the essence of Hayagriva.


Hayagriva is the patron of horses. His mantra requests the protection of all horses.




Cooked oats (as for a horse)


  • Avalokitesvara
  • Bon Spirits
  • Eight Dharma Protectors
  • Marichi


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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