This set of three images of khandros (mKha’ ’gro – dakini) are details from a bardo thödröl thangka, showing all the awareness beings who appear in the bardo, along with the 58 wrathful awareness beings of the bardo thödröl. The khandros are crow headed, vulture headed and raven headed.
In this image the raven headed khandro is holding a skull bowl and a grigug. These implements are the fundamental items held by khandros. The skull bowl represents the transformed emotions and wisdom. The grigug is the flaying knife which flays off the thick hide of indifference. Here the raven headed khandro is associated with the fire element, and therefore is red, symbolising the transformation of passion into compassion.
In all three images the khandros are draped in leopard skins, the traditional khandro skirt when the khandro is not a yidam. When the khandro is a yidam she will wear a tiger skin skirt.
Khandros can refer to the charnel ground, our life circumstances, or experiencing our life circumstances as the mandala of the yidam. In the context of the bardo thödröl however, they represent ephemeral nuances of being in the disembodied state. They are active aspects of the 58 wrathful yidams of the bardo thödröl.