Mahasiddha may be translated as "Great Attainer" and implies a mystical teacher who is free-thinking and often eccentric, who has mastered the various yogic techniques and attained unusual magical and spiritual powers. Thus the Indian mystic Virupa is credited with performing many extraordinary deeds, including parting the waters of the Ganges and drinking enormous amounts of alcoholic beverages. Once he was refused further liquor at a tavern unless he could pay, upon which he prevented the sun from setting for two days with his magical powers. The local king, highly concerned, settled his bill in order to free the sun. He is here depicted with his right arm raised in the threatening gesture of tarjani mudra, ordering the sun not to move.
The inscription around the base may be translated as: "Salutations to the one with the dark red body who makes dangerous persons shake, who holds the skull of immortality in the left hand, who sits in the manner of the king of all, who holds up the sun. Auspiciousness." cf. C. Reedy, Himalayan Bronzes, 1991, p. 215f. The figure is well finished in the round with finely detailed hair at the back and well worn from worshipping. Compare a closely related figure of Virupa, likely by the same workshop, but with his right hand lowered instead of holding the skull cup, in U. von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, 1981, cat. no. 128C; and two examples in the Berti Aschmann Collection, cf. H. Uhlig, On the Path to Enlightenment, 1995, cat. nos. 122 and 123.