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Kīrttimukha

by Micha F. Lindemans

The face of a lion-headed monster, created by Shiva when he was challenged by Jalamdhara. It embodies the powers of the universal god. The ravenous monster intended to devour Rāhu but when he was deprived of his prey, Shiva suggested he feed on his own flesh. He started with his hands and feet, then his arms and legs, belly, chest, and neck until finally only the head remained.

Shiva declared that the head would be known as Kīrttimukha, the Face of Glory, and object of worship. It was placed on the lintels of Shiva's temple and as guardian of thresholds.


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