Bhartruhari's famous shatakams:
The pleasures of life are not consumed by us;
it is we that are consumed by the pleasures.
A penance is not performed by us;
we merely suffer the pain of the penance.
Time has not gone by ;
We have been carried away by time
(without our consent and away from our goals).
Our longings have not been fulfilled or exhausted;
we have been wasted by our longings
Kiritimukha is the golden monster head hanging over the offerings to our senses. I put him hanging over the Offerings as a warning regarding greed, which can consume one if not mindful of greeds power. Through our senses we experience our world, through our conditioned reaction to sense data we create our world. I often think how odd it is we see the world from the inside of our head, which is totally dark.
In Tibetan Buddhism the five senses are also called the five Wisdoms. With our senses we can transform our ignorance into wisdom. At the bottom of my article you can find references to the symbolic meanings and names I use.
The five senses are sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. The mirror represents our sight, lute represents sound, counch shell with incense represents smell, fruit represents taste, and silk represents touch. The armor design in the background represents the virtues which protect our mind.
The flag has three colors of white, blue and red, representing the 3 vehicles, Mahayana, Vajrayana, and Theravada Buddhism.
The colors white, red, yellow, blue, and green represent the five Buddha families. Also the five sensory objects represent the five Buddha families.
Kirtimukha was a monster created by Shiva to scare away another monster. When the job was done Kiritimukha was still hungry and asked the Lord Shiva for something to eat, he was so hungry. Shiva commanded the monster to eat himself and he did right up to his neck. Shiva was so impressed he stopped the monster from totally eating himself and transformed him into a guardian against greed and avarice.
My take on the story is be careful what you create when you fight evil because it can consume you.
"The obvious lesson of all of which is that the first step to the knowledge of the highest divine symbol of the wonder and mystery of life is in the recognition of the monstrous nature of life and its glory in that character: the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think—and their name is legion—that they know how the universe could have been better than it is, how it would have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without life, are unfit for illumination. Or those who think—as do many— "Let me first correct society, then get around to myself" are barred from even the outer gate of the mansion of God's peace."
From Khondro.net--The Sanskrit word makara is the dragon like head on the String instrument and can refer to the amphibian animal we know as the crocodile. However, it also designates a mythological water creature that resembles a croc in only one way -- it has a long proboscis [nose-like organ.] It is doubtful that someone would recognize in images and sculptures of makaras any crocodilian he or she had ever seen.
Saraswati [or Sarasvati] is essentially an Indian goddess. She appears as a Buddhist yidam in her capacity as an embodiment of virtuous activities of all kinds especially cultural ones such as learning, and also the performing arts, especially music. Her mythology also includes an important purificatory aspect. In many regards, she shares characteristics with White Tara.