Vajrapani – Thunderbolt Bearer; Diamond Bearer

Vajrapani began as a Yaksha and was so fierce that he eventually attained the status of Chief General of the Yakshas. He is now one of the three principal protectors of the Buddha, alongside Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri. The three are sometimes venerated together.

Vajrapani epitomizes the power of all the Buddhas. He is a complex spirit who manifests in many forms. Vajrapani is the companion and bodyguard of the Buddha, but he is also a Buddha himself. According to legend, he will be the last Buddha to appear in the world cycle. He is a principal Bodhisattva.

When the Nagas approached the Buddha seeking to listen and learn from him, Vajrapani was charged with protecting them from their mortal enemies, the Garudas. In order to confuse the Garudas and combat them if necessary, Vajrapani assumed a form closely resembling a Garuda.

Vajrapani is wrathful, a spirit of fierce, benevolent compassion. Because of his associations with Nagas, he has evolved into a rain deity and is petitioned when rain is either too abundant or insufficient. Vajrapani banishes the worst Demons. As a guardian spirit, his image is frequently found near the entrances to Buddhist shrines in Mongolian and Tibetan temples and in the homes of devotees.

Also known as:

Phyagna Dorje


Bodhisattva; Buddha


The earliest images of Vajrapani were based on Greek images of Heracles. In his modern aspect, he is draped in a tiger or elephant skin. A snake coils around his neck. He wears a crown of five skulls. Vajrapani dances within a halo of flames symbolic of the energy of the enlightened mind (and his fearlessness).


Vajra, blue lotus, rope




Dark blue


OM VAJRAPANI HUM (Chanting Vajrapani’s mantra reputedly dispels fear and illness and thus is beneficial for hypochondriacs among others.)

See Also:

  • Bodhisattva;
  • Buddha
  • Garuda
  • Heracles
  • Naga
  • Vajra
  • Mantra


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.