Saturday, April 25, 2009


Dakshinamurti and the Dakshinamurtis
Dakshinamurti is a term often met with in Shaivism and Shaivite iconography. Generally, the term Dakshinamurti is translated loosely as "the One facing south," but a more apt translation would be "Favorable Form." The term originally referred to the southern benevolent face of the Panchamukha (five-faced) Shiva Lingam. At the temple of Pashupatinath in Nepal, for example, the southern face of the Shiva Lingam is still called Dakshinamurti. Alternatively, any Linga icon facing southward may also be called Dakshinamurti. An example of this is the Mahakala Jyotirlingam in Ujjain.

Apart from these above rare usages, the term Dakshinamurti, now, is generally associated with specific anthropomorphic forms of Lord Shiva. In the Shaivite tradition, Dakshinamurti is not a singular iconographic form, but a class of forms, all of which are yoga murtis, wherein Shakti is not separately represented but is implicit within the representation of Shiva. While there are several Dakshinamurti forms, three are prominent:

1. Yoga Dakshinamurti - Shiva as the idyllic Himalayan Yogi in meditation.
2. Jnana or Vyakhyana Dakshinamurti - Shiva as the divine Teacher under a banyan tree.
3. Vinadhara Dakshinamurti - Shiva as the divine Teacher of music and arts, holding a lute.

Of these three, the Yoga Dakshinamurti is perhaps the most represented and recognized form of Shiva, and the Vinadhara Dakshinamurti is rarely seen. In common usage, however, when one says Dakshinamurti, the image that comes to mind is that of Jnana or Vyakhyana Dakshinamurti, the idyllic Teacher. It is to this form that the rest of the article is dedicated.

Jnana/Vyakhyana Dakshinamurti

I contemplate, for the attainment of the highest end,
The Supreme Guru, the Lord of Bhavani,
The serene-faced Primal Being,
He who is spoken of in all the Vedas,

Whose hands shine with the symbol of wisdom,

With a book and fire and a serpent,
Bedecked with garlands of pearls,
And a crown blazing forth brilliant
With the digit of the moon,
Resides at the foot of a fig tree,

And removes the ignorance of all.

~ Dakshinamurti Upanishad the Krsna Yajurveda (Mantra 14)

The landscape of ancient India was dotted with numerous centers of Shiva worship. In that the region known as Tamilakam was no different. Within this region, two important and competing kingdoms flourished - the Cholan kingdom to the north and the Pandyan kingdom to the south. In the kingdom of the Cholas, in the city of Chidambaram, a magnificent universal form of Shiva called Nataraja was realized. Around the same time, in the city of Madurai, within the kingdom of the Pandyas, yet another magnificent form of Shiva called Dakshinamurti was realized. While in Madurai, Shiva sat in perfect stillness, in Chidambaram, Shiva stood in perpetual motion.

Like the ever-famous Nataraja, Dakshinamurti is a highly exalted and deeply mystical form of Shiva conveying Him as the Lord of Yoga and the embodiment of all knowledge - worldly and spiritual. In the Dakshinamurti icon we find the Lord in perfect stillness and perpetual serenity. He sits under the banyan tree, the tree of knowledge, facing southward. In His upper hands, He holds a drum representing the sound of creation and a flame representing the fire of dissolution. In one of His lower hands, He holds the holy Vedas, and the other is raised in jnana mudra, imparting knowledge upon the world. Under His foot is the Apasmara Purusha, the personification of ignorance.

Dakshinamurti is the great unseen Master, the eternal Teacher. It is from Him that the holy Vedas and the holy Agamas, and indeed all knowledge has flowed down through the ages and through the sages. He teaches without words and imparts without letters. He guides without speaking and blesses without blinking. His teachings are imparted upon all whose minds are pure and whose hearts are full of devotion. He impels especially those who are on the path of renunciation, those who have given up worldly life to realize Divinity within. He is the Ocean of compassion and Source of the stream of endless consciousness that flows through all.

In all traditions of Dharma, we have unbroken lineages of gurus and teachers. Each of these gurus was instructed and initiated by gurus before them, who were in turn instructed by their own gurus all the way back to remote antiquity. But who was the first Guru, the original source of knowledge? In theistic Dharma traditions, the Lord Himself is considered the Primal Guru, the Adi Guru; the Guru of all gurus; the Jagadguru, the universal Master; or Waheguru (to borrow a term from Sikhism). It is from the Lord that all knowledge descended down, later to be condensed into volumes of holy books. It is this principle that is embodied most perfectly and beautifully in the form of Dakshinamurti. He is the Bestower of all knowledge (jnana) and Origin of all explanations (vyakhyana). Such is the beauty and esotery of Lord Shiva-Dakshinamurti.

Legend of the Four Kumaras

In the beginning, it is said, the Creator, Prajapati-Brahmā, Himself was born from the supreme Unborn Divine Being, Ishvara, who is called Shiva in Shaivism. The Creator was the firstborn being, and the Golden Germ (Hiranyagarbha) of all further creation.
In the beginning of creation did Brahmā, having worshipped Shiva,
Attain the power to create and was delighted at heart.

~ Dakshinamurti Upanishad (Mantra 20)

Brahmā then began to create. His first creations were his four mind-born sons - Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara (Sanatsujata) - known collectively as the Kumaras. The four Kumaras were instructed to further create beings in this world, but the Kumaras were not interested in worldly life. Their only interest was the pursuit of the Divine. They did not obey their Father's command and instead sought a life of renunciation and meditation.

Seated at the foot of Shiva-Dakshinamurti are these four Kumaras, the founders of the path of renunciation followed by sages and sannyasis everywhere. Forever do the Kumaras look upon Lord Shiva-Dakshinamurti, the Supreme, the Eternal, the Unchanging, the Fountainhead of all knowledge. Esoterically, the four Kumaras represent the four components of the antahkarana ("inner organ") - manas (sensory mind), buddhi (intellect), ahamkara (ego) and chitta (mind stuff) - ever given to and focused on realizing the Divine Reality within.

Aum, Obeisances to Him who is the very meaning of Omkara,
The Form of pure knowledge, who is serene and without flaw,
To Lord Dakshinamurti obeisances be.
~ Dakshinamurti Stotra, Dhyana Shloka 5

Aum Dakshinamurtaye Namah.

Agnideva © 2009. All rights reserved.

Vaishakha Shukla 1, 2066 V.S. (Yugabda 5111)


Sanctified Spaces said...

Wow,so beautifully written.It is a delight to read your posts and know more about the Godhead of knowledge Lord Shiva.Great Work.

Sharada said...

Thanks for all the effort in providing this wonderful website.

Here is something for you:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this is of interest:

rago said...

good post .. put more like this ..........

b.gupta said...


------from the ancient times we are the main cause for every bad happening .

-----in earlirer past births ( janams ) would have done some mistakes or sins that may be due to bad budhies (bad wisedom )(
बुदधि ) or bad fate. . which made sinner and sinner, and was not able to come out of bad thoughts and bad wisdom . due to that others are also got affected and became victims and getting punished .
so requests
REQUEST to request to give DEATH for ME ,MOTHER ,and FATHER ,and even to my TWO BROTHERS,and ONE SISTER to soul,grand soul ,kundaliy ,by giving or injecting POSION (which science & scientits can produce) and shown in the "DASAVATARAM "tamil & hindi india movie.BURN infront of ALL ON THE EARTH ONLY
whatever punishment for anyone .please given on the earth only , what ever it may be human,souls ,grand souls or any molecules infront of every one. not by taking under earth or hell-

REQUESTS you and REQUESTS to REQUEST and PRAY to EARTH --- there be no any hell under earth .no soul be suffering under earth ,hell ,or any kind of placses under earth for suffering , pain ,punishment or any kind of torturings .
due to bad wisdom and bad fate every one do mistakes , sins. every one was not born with the good grace nature and qualities not doing mistakes and sins .every soul, every molecule ,every human may be sinner or good get back each and every molecule which are taken from humans ,souls,and be the humans again .and every human ,soul,molecule get the good wisedom ,good intelegence not to commeiting any sin not doing wrong bad,not doing anything which cause insult to anyone which makes anyone angry ,there be no bad words,no bad thoughts,no hates ,no sins,no vengeances,no quarrels ,no life lose. be respect for every one ,in every soul,human, kundalini ,every molecule .there be no any soul,molecule, creatuers,with any kind of suffering,punishment,or any
torturings .there should not be any hell under earth .no soul be taken to under earth ,hell ,or any kind of placses under earth for suffering ,punishment or any kind of torturings

from the time of old vedic ,ancient time ,curses of rishes (saints) (angles) devatas quarrels stil going on for revenges . ramanya , mahabharata enemities, conspirancies (
षङयत्रॅ ) cheatings ,dirty polatics , mistakes ( THAT TIME MAY BE MISTAKES OF ONE OR TWO PERSONS ) , old revenges are taking place still going on. due to some bad budhies (wisedom) ( बुदधि ) bad thoughts , bad understanding , egos , and adamant natures ( हठ ) ,blaming each others, those enemities and revenges has brought to this level . now it has taken very destruction .

2 ) if at those ancients times some wise peoples would have taken wise decissions for the betterment for each others and others , no ramayana, no mahabhartha , no war ,no fight ,no quarrels , in puranic (ancients) times and now nothing would have not taken place

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