Mahakala Bhairava with Buddhas, Ganesha, Karttikeya, Achala, and Devotees. Newar Lineage. Malla Period, Nepal. 1500s.

Newar religious practice employs a unique mix of Buddhist and Hindu elements. The five transcendental buddhas at the top of this painting and Achala (the blue-skinned Buddhist protector at the bottom center) are joined by deities more often affiliated with Hinduism. These include the elephant-headed Ganesha and dancing Karttikeya, who flank their father, Shiva, in his form as Mahakala/Bhairava. Another important feature of Newar art and practice is the depiction and participation of both men and women devotees. In the lower two registers seventeen men (in white-and-red-striped outfits) and seven women (in Malla period red skirts with white-and-blue stripes) offer flowers. Also typical of the Malla period are the shapes of Mahakala’s triangular eyebrows, his neatly trimmed moustache and beard, and his round, full eyes. -Asian Art

Those who approach
have His sustaining strength
as they strive
to reach His feet.

[He’ll] say,
"Be rid of your fear.
I know why you have come.”

from Tirumurukarruppadai (Guide to Lord Murugan) translated by Layne Little

To worship
is to get what one asks for,
according to one’s request…

there and there
[He’s] residing,
as everybody knows.

It whatever place
you happen to be,
there you’ll be able to see [Him].

Whenever you long
to look upon His face
and do worship,
He’ll appear there instantly.

-from Tirumurukarruppadai (Guide to Lord Murugan), translated by Layne Little