Palden Lhamo is the only female among the eight great dharampalas (Protectors of Buddhism). She is a protectress of Buddhist governments everywhere, including the Dalai Lamas and their government in Lhasa. She was also a protectress of imperial China from the Yuan dynasty in the thirteenth century to the end of the Qing dynasty in the twentieth century.
In India, Palden Lhamo is also known as Shri Devi. She is considered a wrathful manifestation of Saraswati, the goddess of learning, eloquent speech, and music. Another of her manifestation is Chamundi, the consort of Yama.
From the gods she received a mule, whose covering is the skin of a Yaksha or demon, and the reins are venomous serpents. She is always shown seated sideways on this mule.
Palden Lhamo is said to have been married to a bloodthirsty warring king who refused all her entreaties to stop his wanton killing. She finally issued an ultimatum: if he wouldn't stop the killing, she would personally slay their child so the king would experience for himself the pain that his warring caused to others. He did not stop, she carried out her threat, and his loss finally did bring him to a halt. She is thus depicted carrying her dead son's body with her on her mule, showing that she will stop at nothing to achieve peace.