Known as Sahastrabahu Avlokiteshvara, the 1000 arms statue of Lord Buddha was a gift from the Government of Vietnam to India’s second President, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. The Sanskrit work Sahastrabahu means ‘one with 1000 arms’ and Avlokiteshvara means, ‘The lord who looks upon the world in compassion.’ This avatar of Buddha is a personification of compassion. It is believed that the thousand hands allow Lord Buddha to reach out and help the sufferers.
This Plaster of Paris statue finds its place on the south ash-grey marble staircase of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. It came from Vietnam in the year 1962 in three parts and was assembled here.
The first part consists of the pedestal with the dragon that carries the weight of the statue, the second consists of the main statue of Lord Buddha in padmasana and the third consists of the grand halo with 1000 arms of Lord Buddha. One can notice that the Buddha has twelve heads, symbolizing nirvana and 42 hands symbolizing generosity.