Vajra Claw is a wrathful activity ḍākinī, described as dark blue in color, and adorned with charnel ground bone ornaments. Her powerful mantra is found with several variations in the Guhyasamāja, Vajravārāhī, and Vajrakīla traditions. Her mantra is recited in order to protect practitioners and to overcome and liberate obstacles. In Tibet, the Vajra Dakini was often invoked to protect a practitioner’s domestic space, family, friends, and allies and to avert any obstacles that might threaten them.
The text that contains the most details is The Incantation of Glorious Vajraṇakhī (dpal rdo rje sder mo’i gzungs). According to this account, Buddha Śākyamuni revealed Vajraṇakhī’s dhāraṇī in a place called the Vajra Palace to an assembly of monks and tantric practitioners. There the Buddha advised them that reciting the dhāraṇī would make Vajraṇakhī their guardian and protector and ensure that they obtain fifteen qualities of excellence. Moreover, the practitioners would be protected from experiencing fifteen terrible types of death.
At the end of the dhāraṇī, Vajraṇakhī describes the origin of this practice. Countless eons ago she took birth as a female practitioner. At that time she encountered the buddha Dṛḍha-śūraraṇa-sena-praharaṇa-rāja. He placed his hand upon her head and entrusted her with the dhāraṇī. He predicted that if she were to recite the dhāraṇī continuously, in the future she would become the deity known as Vajraṇakhī and bring great benefit and happiness to all sentient beings. Her advice to vidyādharas then is to “recite this dhāraṇī three times during the day and three times at night. Thus all sentient beings will be fulfilled and act conscientiously in all actions. Have faith in me and your spiritual friends.’”
In the text, the Vajra-Claw Dakini gives these words of instruction to disciples who recite her dhāraṇī:
lobpön chiwor khur zhing wang dang damtsik sung
Venerate your master and maintain your empowerments and samayas.
mengak kün la mi pel gönpar sang la drup
Do not disseminate the pith instructions, but accomplish them secretly in solitude.
tsok nang mi dro damtsik nyam dang kha mi sé
Do not wander among crowds or mingle with those of degenerated samaya.
chö dang tor tsok khor dé dü zhir ja
Make offerings, oblations, and feast offerings to the beings of samsara and nirvana during the four times.
tawé takché gom drup depar ja
Resolve through the view, practice meditation, and be faithful.
chöpa ma dor damtsik den na ngödrup top
By maintaining the samayas, without rejecting the secret conduct, you will receive the siddhis.
tsé di rangdön ma jé dam ngak long
Follow the oral instructions without prioritizing the pleasures of this life.
རང་སེམས་དབང་དུ་ཚུགས་ལ་དངོས་གྲུབ་དོན་དུ་གཉེར། ཞེས་སྨྲས་པ་དང་།From The Dhāraṇī of Glorious Vajraṇakhī, translated by Samye Translations.
rangsem wang du tsuk la ngödrup dön du nyer zhé mepa dang
Learn to control your mind and pursue accomplishment.
Several daily practices have been composed including the condensed form of the long dhāraṇī arranged by Karma Chakme. There are also two short practices arranged by Dudjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. These are based on a terma revealed by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa from The Profound Long-Life Practice of the Three Roots from the Sevenfold Profundity or Zabdün Tsasum Tse Zab.