The Uncommon Transworldly Wrathful Gelug Protector

Some concepts and revelations are lost in time only to resurface later. In dependence on a chanced-upon image and historical texts coarising, here is an interesting glimpse into an important, yet almost seemingly lost, manifestation of the protector Dorje Shugden. It has been explained herein that Nyungne Lama Yeshe Zangpo wrote a kangso (ritual) to Dorje Shugden. In that kangso the central figure is described quite differently than the usual "Dulzin" form. Although iconography-relevant portions of this ritual have been translated and available in Nebesky-Wojkowitz’s Oracles and demons of Tibet for over half a decade, little attention has been drawn to unique iconography described therein.

As for the central figure:

The frightful rDo rje shugs ldan, whose body is of a dark-red colour, who becomes fierce like a savage raksasa... The yellow-brown hair of his head stands on end and in the centre above it, within a sun-mandala, resides the lord-protector and king of religion, the great Tsong kha pa bearing placid expression... On his head he wears a crown of five dry skulls... He wears a freshly drawn elephant-skin... He floats on the wings of a khyung [Garuda] of meteoric iron...

This description more or less matches the iconography in the image below. The surrounding mandala in the image also matches the description found in the kangso as well.

In the early 20th century the Mongolian master Lobsang Tamdin noted this unique form in accordance with his own teacher’s explanation when he was writing an introduction to the Dorje Shugden Be Bum - a compilation of all prayers and rituals to this protector. According to Lobsang Tamdin the peaceful form of Dorje Shugden is the common form (thung mong ba rgyal chen), while the description of the mandala and its inhabitants of the uncommon wrathful form of Dorje Shugden (thun mong ma yin pa rgyal chen drag po'i rnam 'gyur) are found in this ritual written by Nyungne Lama Yeshe Zangpo. When Nyungne Lama Yeshe Zangpo was at Trode Khangsar, Dorje Shugden possessed the oracle and requested him to write a kangso to the five families according to a wrathful transworldly form. Nyungne Lama Yeshe Zangpo then composed this uncommon ritual with iconography (mngon rtogs) according to how he appeared to his pure wisdom.

This ritual also appears to be one of the first to use the title Dharma Protector of Conqueror Manjunatha ('jam mgon rgyal ba'i bstan srung). Here, Conqueror Manjunatha refers to Je Tsongkhapa, who is represented at the crown of the central figure in the iconography. By the end of the 19th century, this title became synonymous with Dorje Shugden in the Gelug and clearly illustrates its important influence.

Wrathful Shugden