Sri Dakshinamurthy iconography and some other questions: Part One

sreenivasarao s
sreenivasarao s / 5 yrs ago /
  31

  

Sri Dakshinamurthy iconography and some other questions: Part One
 
 
[Note Dated 16 Nov 2009 received from SD:
 
Hello Sir..! I am doing a doctorate on Sri Dakshinamurthy.I am asking some questions concerning my thesis. It will be helpful if you can answer the following questions:
Why Dakshinamurthi facing South direction?
Are there any specialties in south direction suggested in Agamas and in Shilpa Sastras?
Can you tell me the types of ' CHADAMUDI '(Hair Types?)
Why there are such different types of Dakshinamurthi in South Indian temples?
 In North India, we can’t see the Dakshinamurthi idol... Why it is so?
 In your sixth chapter, I saw a Dakshinamurthi photo. It is very different. Can you tell me from where it is?
Please also say abbot iconography.
 Thanks]
 
 
 
 

Dear SD, Thank you for asking specific questions. I notice, all your questions pertain to the depiction of the Sri Dakshinamurthy image. Let’s therefore, for the present, confine our discussion to the various iconographic forms and representations of Sri Dakshinamurthy. I am not sure I know the right answers to all your questions. Let me try.

Before attempting to answer your questions let’s briefly talk about the general features and characteristics of the various forms of Sri Dakshinamurthy image. This might help the discussion to follow.

1. The Principle

1.1. Sri Dakshinamurthy is regarded an aspect of Shiva as the universal teacher. He is the young and radiant Adi-Guru imparting knowledge that liberates. He is the very personification of spiritual wisdom and eminence; and one who is immersed in Self. His teaching is through the subtlest form of speech- para vak – beyond the range of the physical ear, abiding in silence; the sort of silence that envelops within itself all other forms of expressions. It is the silence that underlines the limitations of rational knowledge, futilities of the blind alleys of metaphysical queries and the frailty hollowness of words. His teaching transcends speech and thought; it is experience. His listeners are learned and wise, ripe in intuitional understanding. The Guru’s language of silence dispels the doubts, the confusion and uncertainties in the minds of those around sitting in silence.

1.2. The vata vruksha under which the Guru sits symbolizes   creation as also the expanding universe which regenerates itself. The tree known as akshya vruksha with its unique growth pattern also represents the eternal principle, the Dharma. (Vata derived from vat means: to expand, to surround and to encompass). It is meant to suggest that Sri Dakshinamurthy who sits under the vata tree presides over the cyclic processes of srishti (creation), sthiti (preservation), samhara (absorption or gathering up), tirobhava (suppression) and anugraha (revealing true knowledge).

2. Iconography

2.1. The iconographic descriptions of Sri Dakshinamurthy are not uniform. Each of the major texts –AmsumadbhedaKaranagamaKamikagamaShilparatna and others – carries varying descriptions of the features, postures and ayudhas of Sri Dakshinamurthy. In addition, there are several versions of his aspects and attributes. The following, in brief, is a summary position of Sri Dakshinamurthy- iconography.

2.2. Sri Dakshinamurthy is depicted as a young person with serene, tranquil and pleasing countenance seated in a secluded spot in the Himalayas, under a banyan tree (vata vrksha), upon a throne or a rock or an elevated platform ( adhastad vata-vrkshasya sailad urdhvam ) covered with tiger-skin (vyagara charmoparish that tu ) or deer-skin (kurangasana). Sri Dakshinamurthy who is kevala murti (single or not accompanied by another deity or a consort) is always depicted singly.

He is usually depicted with four arms. In his upper right hand he holds a rosary (aksha-maala) inkapittha-mudra, as if counting beads of japa-mala, or a snake (sarpa: symbol of tantric knowledge) or both. Sometimes he is also shown holding a drum (damaru) with a snake coiling around it. Thedamaru the srishti (creation) aspect of Shiva represents the primeval sound and rhythm from which the universe emerges and into which it dissolves before re-emerging. In his upper-left-hand he holds a flaming torch (Agni) symbolizing enlightenment or illumination, removing the darkness of ignorance. It also stands for his samhara (absorption or gathering back the created existence) aspect. His lower-left-hand resting on his left knee (the back of the hand touching the knee) gestures varada-mudra bestowing a boon (varadam vamahastam ); and, it also holds a bunch of kusha grass or a palm-leaf manuscript symbolizing scriptural knowledge. The lower-right-hand gestures grace (his anugraha aspect) or assurance (abhaya-mudra) or jnana –mudra (thumb and middle/index finger meet each other and touch the heart ( jnana  mudram hrdi sthane); the hand faces inwards ( abhyantara mukham karma)   as in the temple at Ilambyankottur (conveying that knowledge comes from within) or in chin-mudra (The index finger of his right hand is bent and touching the tip of his thumb. The other three fingers are stretched up) indicating identity of the Absolute and the individual or Vykhyana-mudra(similar to chin-mudra) : But, facing the viewer as if imparting a teaching ;  seated in a relaxed position.

 
 
  Chin mudra 
 A rare depiction of Jnana-mudra at Ilambyankottur;
And the other to the right is chin mudra[ and its next is vyakhyana mudra (Pallava sculpture)
 
 

2.3. Sri Dakshinamurthy is most usually depicted in a seated posture (aasana); and at times in standing (sthanaka) as in his Veena-dhara variation (holding a veena). But, he is not depicted in reclining (shayana) postures. While seated in Virasana, his right leg is stretched down (lambaka padam) and is stamping upon (samharaka) the dwarf (apasmara –purusha: representing ignorance and delusion) -- (apasmaroparishthat tu lamba-pada-talam nyaset). This suppression (nirodha) of ignorance is described as the tirobhava aspect of Sri Dakshinamurti. And, his left foot bent at the knee is resting on his right knee or thigh (sayanam padakam or kunchita-paada). His sitting posture is relaxed; his body position and carriage is free from bends and rigidity. His general aspect is calm and meditative.

2.4. His luxuriant hair of matted locks  (jatabharajatabhandhajatamandala or jatamakuta) , said to represent his sthithi (preservation) aspect, is adorned and enriched with jewellery, the crescent moon, a snake and bunches of wild flowers such as durdhura (dhatura). The mass of the jatas is either dishevelled or held together by a snake or a band (patta-bandha) and arranged in conical shapes to resemble a crown. In the middle of jatabhara resides a small smiling face of the Ganga. Curly hair locks fall onto his shoulders and upper arms. On his forehead he bears a vertical urna (third eye).

It is said ; dhurdhura (dhatura) and other forest-flowers as well as the cobra must be positioned over the right of his head ; the skull and moon over the left ; and , Ganga in the middle.

Sri Dakshinamurthy is modestly adorned with rudraksha-mala; garlands of wild flowers; flowers above his ears (karna avathamsam). The yagnopavita (sacred cord) runs across his chest which is adorned with sandal-paste, garlands and necklaces. He is ornamented with kati-bandha jewelled waist band;naga-bandha armlets; anklets with little bells;  bracelets; kirti-mukha earring in his right ear and conch- shell earrings (shankha-patra) or an open circular earring (karnavali or vrutta-abharana) in his left earlobe.

The Shipa text Shilpa-ratna suggests that Sri Dakshinamurthy must be adorned with five emblems (pancha mudra ) : the gem on the forehead ( mani ) ;  the ear rings (kundala ) ; the necklaces (kanthika) ; the bracelets on arms and legs (ruchaka) ; and  , the girdle (mekhala ) . These ornaments are said to symbolize : spiritual power ( virya ) ; forbearance (kshanti ) ; generosity (daana ) ; moral virtue (shila) ; and wisdom  (jnana ) .

2.5. The nature of Sri Dakshinamurthy is sattva, pure, bright and serene (shantha ). His complexion is radiant like a clear crystal (shuddha spatikopama) or soothingly bright as the jasmine flower or the moon (kundendu dhavala prabha ) . He is also described as glowing like gold ( hema prabha ) or dark (shyamabha) . Some Tantric texts describe his complexion as white as milk (kshira-gaura) or snow-white (Kailasadri -nibha ) absorbed in in self (bhava shuddha ).His countenance is free from even the traces of disturbance (klesha vargitam ). A soothing and gentle smile lights up his expression. His steady gaze  is fixed upon the tip of his nose (nasagra drshti yuk )  or on the tip his toes (padagre drhsti patam ).  His eyes must be slightly open ( kimchid unmiltair netraih) as in contemplation ( yoga dhyananusarinam ). He is dressed in white upper  garments (sittottariya) and yajnopavita (sita-upavita).His lower garment is of tiger skin (vyagra charmambara ) or silk (divyambara ) .

2.6. The great teacher-god is surrounded by many animals particularly the deer and the Nandi bull. The rishis eager to absorb the Guru’s teaching are at his feet. Their numbers and names are mentioned differently in different texts. For instance, Karanagama mentions four rishis: Agasthya, Pulasthya, Vishwamitra and Angirasa. Kamikagama mentions seven rishis: Kaushika, Kashyapa, Bharadwaja, Atri, Gautama and two others. And, Amsumad-bhedagama mentions seven rishis as Narada, Vashista, Jamadagni, Bhrighu, Bharadwaja, Sanaka, and Agasthya. The  aged sages must all be shown with matted hair coiled up ( jata bhara) dressed in white and wearing rudraksha maala .Their height is prescribed not to reach above the chest of Sri Dakshinamurthi.

The texts also mention the number of sages depicted could even be one , two or three (esham ekam dvayam vapi trayam vaparsvayor nyaseth).

3.1. The aforesaid are the general features in depiction of Sri Dakshinamurthy. In specific illustrations, he could be depicted as either sitting or as standing; sitting either in virasana or otherwise on a rock or on an elevated seat covered by deer-skin or tiger-skin; either with the legs resting or not resting on the apasmara; he could sit either under the banyan tree or not; his complexion could be fair or golden or red or dark; he could either be surrounded or not surrounded by the rishis. There are also variations in the details of his gestures (mudra), the ayudhas he holds and their positions (some  versions depict holding a kamandalu water pot or mriga deer or snake noose or a baton like danda or an axe in one of his hands). There are no strict scriptural prescriptions in these regard.

 
    
 

These details also vary with the disposition or the particular aspect of Sri Dakshinamurthy that is depicted. Some details are revised as a function of the period (Pallava, Chola or later times) and the region (South or North).

4. Variations

4.1. Sri Dakshinamurthy forms are immensely diversified; there are number of versions of his form. Apart from his spiritual eminence, Sri Dakshinamurthy is regarded a Master in Music, in Tantra and in Yoga. The various styles and forms of his depiction are basically related to one or more of these attributes. Sri Dakshinamurthy representations are grouped under four broad categories that delineate his aspects and attributes: as a teacher of music and arts (veenadhara Dakshinamurthy); as the supreme yogi who teaches practice of the control of body and mind for realization of the self (Yoga Dakshinamurthy); as the Guru who bestows jnana (jnana or medha Dakshinamurthy) revealing the knowledge that liberates; and as the master of rhetoric expounding the scriptures (vyakyana-Dakshinamurthi). Of the four forms, the latter two are more frequently represented. The combinations of two or more aspects are also not rare.

5. Veena-dhara

 
 
 
 Vinadhara,Chidambaram
 

 5.1. The vinadhara or veena-dhara or Gaana Dakdhinamurthi in extremely handsome   form  is depicted in two variations; in sitting (aasana) posture and in standing (sthanaka) posture. There are many bronze images of Vinadhara in the Chola period but sculptural representations and stone images were not many during the early Pallava period. But, in the later periods it seems to have captured the imagination of poets and saint-singers.

The images in the standing posture generally belong to the early Pallava period. The saint poet Appar a contemporary of the Pallava king Mahendravarman I (600 - 630 CE) sang “He (Shiva) stands wearing the sweet smelling vibhuthi; holding a veena”. Similarly, Sundarar (8th century) the last of the Shaiva Nayanmars describes Shiva “with matted hair hanging down, wearing yajnopavitha he holds a veena in which he is proficient”.

 
 
 

The images in sitting posture appear to be later variations.  In the sitting (aasana) posture, the youthful, charming figure of Sri Dakshinamurthy with broad shoulders and tapering torso, is sitting with the left leg drawn up and resting on the seat in utkutika posture. His upper body is slightly slanting towards the left, balancing the veena held gracefully across his chest. The lower-left hand supports the instrument and is facing upward (vama hastam katakam urdhva vaktram )   while the lower-right hand is tenderly placed on the frets as if plucking the strings (katakam dakshina hastam adhomukham ). The hand gestures (mudra) are half-open, slanting and tending to extend gracefully (kataka mudra). At times, he is shown holding in his upper hands a deer and an axe. (Amsumadbheda and Karanagama). The gaze of the god is settled on the instrument ; and he appears absorbed in music .The rest of the features are similar to that of vyakhyana-murthy. The illustrations of this variation can be seen in the7th century Pallava architecture Dharmaraja Ratha at Mamallapuram; Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram and in Shiva temple at Tiruvaikavur near Kumbhakonam.

5.2. In the standing posture the gestures of the image suggest as if it is holding the veena. The instrument as such may not always be depicted or in some cases it could even be missing. The Chola bronzes are the best illustrations of the sthanaka   Vinadhara –murthy (Tiruppurambiyan temple).

 
 
             
 
 

5.3. Shri Sivaramamurti, former Director, National Museum, New Delhi, in his work Kalugumalai and Early Pandyan Rock-cut Shrines describes two forms of Sri Dakshinamurthy, one playing the veena and the other the mridanga, sculpted on the vimana of the Murugan temple of Pandya period at Kazhugumalai near Tiirunelveli. Sri Dakshinamurthy playing on a drum (mridanga) is called Pushkara Dakshinamurthy, the Master of instruments.

6. Yoga-murthy

 
 
            
 
 

6.1. Sri Dakshinamurthy the supreme yogi is often depicted as Yoga-murthy (Yoga Dakshinamurthy). He is shown sitting in utkutikaasana with both the legs drawn up ( uddhrtam janvagram ) crossing each other from the root of the thigh , heels touching each other (anyonya-baddha - pashnikam )  and held in position by a band, yoga-patta, passing round the waist and the fore-legs, a little below the knee. In the classic versions of Yoga-murti, his front arms are stretched out resting freely on the knees (as in yoga Nrusimha); while the back arms hold a rosary (aksha mala) and a water pot (kamandalu).His hair is arranged as jatamandala woven into circular form and held together by a band or a snake and adorned with crescent moon and flowers. The complexion of Yoga Sri Dakshinamurthy is variously described either as fair or red or golden; but his throat is dark in colour (nila griva ). The image is modestly ornamented; and with snakes and snake-like ornaments [E.g. Temples of Ilambayam Kottur Dakshinamoorthy; Elimiankottur near Kadabathur; and Shiva temple at Nanjangud near Mysore].

In another form  ,as described in Amsumad-bheda-agama , the right leg hangs down from the seat while the left leg is folded vertically with the foot placed on the seat and knee facing upward (lambayed dakshinam padam , vamam utkutikasanam ) . The folded leg is held in position by a band which goes round the body ( sambaddhya yoga pattena deham , yoga pattikaya-baddhya). In this form , the left hand is stretched out resting on the left knee (parasarya vama hastam tu vama-janupari sthitham ).

There are some other variations of the Yoga Dakshinamurthy. For instance in the following from the Avur and the Tiruvengavasal (Pudukkotai) temples show Sri Dakshinamurthy in relaxed posture holding an antelope, rosary and  kamandalu (water-pot).

The text Uttara-kamika prescribes that the Yoga-murthi must be  facing south and seated on a tiger skin spread upon an auspicious  bejewelled throne ( ratha simhasane shubhe ) under a banyan tree (tan mula  dakshine chhayanishannah ratnopashobhite pithe vygra-charmottara -chhade ) .The tree must be shown resplendent with fruits , flowers and crowded by many kinds of birds.

  
 
 
7. Jnana (jnana or medha Dakshinamurthy)
 
 
 

7.1. Medha denotes intellectual brilliance, vigour and vitality. It is the faculty that refers to the brightness of the mind (Buddhi prakasham); the radiance (prabha) of understanding (medha) and wisdom (prajna); as also the power of learning (vidvath shakthi) and the consummate skill in use of language (vak patuhvam). Sri Medha Dakshinamurthy is worshiped as the luminous teacher who ignites intelligence (dhi), memory (smruthi), steadfastness (dhruthi) and in general the intellectual ability and acumen. These virtues are of great merit, and equip the aspirant with the skill and capability to deal with and gain insight into the world of existence perceived by the senses.

7.2. Jnana in this context refers to para-vidya the higher knowledge as compared to apara –vidya the lower knowledge of scriptures including the Vedas. It is not an activity of the senses or of the intellect (buddhi); but is total perception (drishti or darshana) of all reality. It is the sort of knowledge that leads to the understanding of the problems of being and becoming; to cross over all sorrows (shokasya param trayathi); and to realize one’s true identity (atma-vidya).It is a knowledge that liberates. It is content-less intuitional understanding and experience. It is explained; it is called jnana or knowledge merely because there is no term to describe the absence of subject-object, knower –knowing distinctions. It is the immediate and non- indirect perception (sakshat aparoksha), self-luminous consciousness (sva praksha).The expression jnana in the context of Sri Dakshinamurthy is therefore more suggestive than denotative.

7.3. The representations of Medha and Jnana aspects of Sri Dakshinamurthy have got mixed up. In either case he is characterized by the jnana –mudra and chin-mudra (described earlier), as also by the scriptures or the Kusha grass he holds. His other ayudhas such as the rosary (akshamala) with a snake  and Agni the torch of illumination; as also his firmly stamping on the apasmarapurusha symbol of ignorance and delusion, amplify his main attributes. In these depictions, his face is serene, tranquil and smiling. He is portrayed as embodiment of bliss, immersed in deep meditation with his eyes half-closed (ardha nimila-aksha). Yet, there is eloquence in his being; and there is purity around him. The Medha –Jnana Sri Dakshinamurthy is composed of bliss, intelligence and existence.

 
       
                    (Sri Dakshinamurthy at Karuvili temple; sent by Ms.Ushasuryamani)
 

7.4. There are number of shrines of Medha Sri Dakshinamurthy; too many to be listed here. Just to mention a few, the better known shrines are located in: temples of Sri Arunachaleshwara, Tiruvannamalai; Sri Kaalahasteeswara, Sri Kaalahasti; and Srikanteshwara temple, Nanjangudu.

 
8. Vyakhyana-murti
 
 
 

8.1. Sri Dakshinamurthy  as Vyakhyana murti or Dharma -vyakhyana -murti  the teacher of Brahma-vidya is  sitting in absolute comfort (Sukhaseena) fully relaxed assuming veerasana is expounding, interpreting the scriptures. He is sitting on a throne (vyakhya pithe nishannam ) or on white-lotus-seat (sitambuja stham ) or  on a circular padmasana (or kamalasana) the symbol of the sacred syllable OM. The shade of the banyan tree under which he is sitting is interpreted as Maya, illusion. And the bull standing nearby is Dharma, the eternal law.

His right leg is hanging below the seat (lambaka padam) while the left one bent at the knee is placed across over the right thigh (sayanam padakam or kunchita-paada). His right foot may or may not rest on the back of the apasmarapurusha. He is depicted with three eyes and four arms. The mass of his hair may be let loose hanging around his ears (jatabhara) or held together by an ornate band (lalata patta). The kesha-vinyasa, the hair-do, is adorned with flowers, crescent moon, a snake and small tinkling bells.

His expression is benign and compassionate. Unlike as in his Jnana version, Sri Dakshinamurthy is not immersed in meditation; here, he is in wakeful (jagrat) state with his eyes fully open. His left hand in varada-mudra also holds a text of the scriptures; and his right hand gesticulates, in vyakhyana-mudra, as if he is speaking, explaining, teaching or imparting a discourse. The thumb and the index finger of his right hand are joined while the three other fingers are pointed upward; and the palm is facing the viewer. His upper right hand holds the aksha-mala (representing tattvas) while his upper left hand holds Agni (torch of fire) or sarpa (snake) or a lotus or nilothphala flower. The great teacher is surrounded by Rishis sitting at his feet, eager to learn. The Dharma- Vyakhyana-murti is the supreme teacher, the Guru incarnatemost auspicious and readily accessible to eager aspiring learners.

 
  
 
Most of the temples in South India depict combinations of Vyakhyana-murti and Medha Dakshinamurthy.
 
9. Other variations
 

9.1. As mentioned earlier, the forms and representations of Sri Dakshinamurthy image are immensely diversified; there are various forms; many in number.  Kashyapa Shilpa (76.5) mentions a variety with eight hands (ashta-hastham-athapi va ).  But, most are, in effect, combinations of any of the four main aspects discussed above. Some of those variations are fairly well known; while many others are rather obscure or specialized forms. Let’s briefly see some of them.

Sri Vidya – Dakshinamurthy

9.2. Sri Dakshinamurthy is a revered seer of the kadi (samaya) matha school of Sri Vidya tradition.Samaya is centred on knowledge (jnana) which is the realization of the identity of Shiva and Shakthi: Shiva becomes Kameshwara and Kameshwari becomes Shiva. Their names too get intertwined. For instance,  Shiva and Shivaa; Tripura and Tripuraa; Bhava and Bhavani; Shambu and Shambhavi; Rudra and Rudrani; and Sundara and Sundari etc. Therefore, Sri Dakshinamurthy, in this tradition, is worshipped as a combination of Shiva and Shakthi. Nama number 725 of Sri Lalitha Sahasaranama describes Sri Lalitha Parameshweri as Sri Daksinamurti-rupini.

Sri Dakshinamurthy, here, is depicted as a Master of Tantra. He has a very heavy jata-bhara, dishevelled and flowing down his shoulders, almost covering the ears. A patra-kundala is worn in the left ear, while there is none on the right. Snakes symbols of Tantra are prominently displayed: coiled loosely around the thighs, with its hooded head on the right; and in the jata-bhara; as also coiled on the damaru drum.

 
Ardhanari – Dakshinamurthy
 
 
 

9.3. It is explained; the term Dakshina literally means a woman and refers to the feminine principle, which can create, unfold and manifest. When Dakshina assumes a form, it results in Dakshinamurthi, an androgynous, variety of Shiva’s form. Sri Dakshinamurthi, as ardha-nari, as Kameshwara and Kameshwari is regarded the principle deity of the Kadi School. The ardha-nari depictions can be seen in some temples; for instance, in the Sivanandeswarar temple in Thirupanthurai, (Tanjore) and in the Thirupulivanam, temple near Chennai

Rishabharudha Dakshinamurthy

9.4. The form of Sri Dakshinamurthy either riding the bull (vrishabha) or standing beside the bull leaning against it with his right elbow placed on the bull’s head or neck is quite popular. Sri Dakshinamurthy with four arms a nd three eyes, looks peaceful and pleased (prasanna).His hair is tied up in the shape of a tall crown (baddha-veni-kirita).There are number of temples depicting Sri Dakshinamurthy in this aspect; for instance: in the Vathanyewara (Vallalar) temple, Sri Dakshinamurthy is seated on Nandi; and in Tirunallavanur temple, Sri Dakshinamurthy is portrayed in a standing posture, holding scriptures in the left hand while his right elbow is resting on the Nandi.

 
             
 
 

Lagudi or Lakuti Dakshinamurthy

A form of Sri Dakshinamurthy holding a cudgel (lagudi or lakuti )  is Lakuti Dakshinamurthy . He is described as of golden complexion , seated under  a Nigrodha tree in virasana ; decorated by eight serpents (ashta bhogi vilasad bhushanam ) ; clothed in tiger skin (vyaghra tvak pata ) ; and , holding a cludgel (lagudi or latuki ). He is surrounded by sages waiting on him .

Samba Dakshinamurthy 

Samba Dakshinamurthy is an unusual form seated alongside  Parvathi who is dark in complexion (shyama) , holding a blue lotus (utpala) and lovingly embracing Dakshinamurthy (vamaropari sthitham giri-sutam anyonya-alinganam ). Samba Dakshinamurthy is described as holding a book in the hand that embraces Parvathi ; and in the other two hands he holds a pot filled with nectar ( kumbham sudha puritam) , a rosary made of pearls (makthakshamala) , while the other hand gestures wisdom (mudram jnana mayim). This form with Parvathi is most unusual because Sri Dakshinamurthy is invariably depicted as kevala murthi.]

10. Some more variations

10.1. A variety of other depictions are sporadically mentioned. But the iconographic features of these variations are unclear. These forms are perhaps worshipped for specific purposes; say for attaining health, wealth or knowledge. The following are some of such forms: Samhara Dakshinamurthy (vyakhyam samhara samjnam ) ;  Lakshmi Dakshinamurthy; Veera Dakshinamurthy; Sakti Dakshinamurthy; Kala Dakshinamurthy; Apasmara Nivartaka Dakshinamurthy; Mula Dakshinamurthy; Shuddha Dakshinamurthy; Vaagisha Dakshinamurthy; Hamsa Dakshinamurthy; Chidambara Dakshinamurthy; Vira Vijaya Dakshinamurthy; Kirthi Dakshinamurthy;Brahma Dakshinamurthy; Sakthi Dakshinamurthy, Siddha Dakshinamurthy; Srividya Dakshinamurthy etc.

Sri Dakshinamurthy as Linga

10.2. Sri Dakshinamurthy is also represented and worshipped in the Linga form. For instance, the Mahakal Jyotirlinga, cream in color and facing South, in the ancient temple of Mahakaleshwar at Ujjain (Avanthika) is revered as Sri Dakshinamurthy.In Sri Pashupatinatha Temple at Kathmandu, the South face of Shiva Linga is regarded as his anugraha (grace) orjnana aspect and worshipped as Sri Dakshinamurthy. Similarly, the Linga in the five hundred year old cave temple of Sri Gavi Gangadhareswara t in Bangalore is considered Dakshinamurthi swarupam .And, in the Vaikom Mahadeva temple in kerala and in the Alangudi (Kumbakonam) too, the deity enshrined in the form of Shiva Linga is worshipped as Sri Dakshinamurthy.

10.3. Sri Dakshinamurthy is also represented in the form of saligrama. The Dakshina-murti-salagrama has the shape of a conch, but is black in color.

10.4. Sri Dakshinamurthy Yantra

 

dakshinamurthy-yantra-accomplish-the-best-future-250x250

Sri Dakshinamurthy Yantra eight petalled lotus, on the portal of which are visualized Brahma, Sarasvathi, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanathkumara, Shuka, Vyasa and Ganapathi. Sri Dakshinamurthy, in this form, is the originator of the world (jagatam adya) and represents the absolute principle (avyaya). Dakshinamurthy upasana forms an important aspect in Sri Vidya tradition. Here; he is the Adi Guru of  its  Samaya School  .

Upasana of the Dakshinamurthy involves purva-anga and uttara-anga mantras.

Purva-anga mantra addressed to  : Guru, Ganapati, Durga, Kshetrapala, Saraswathi .:

Guruuganapatirdurga kshetrapalah saraswathi
Etah sridakshinamurtheh purvamantradhidevataah

Uttara-anga mantra  addressed to  : Bala, Devi Shadakshari, Svarna Akarshana Bhairava and  Mrita Sanjivani :

Balashadakshari devyah svarnaakarshana bhairavah
Mritasanjivani chaiva mahamrityunjah tatah
Ete panchamahamantra uttaranga mahesatum

The slokas for worship of  the yantra are

Om Namo Bhagavathe Dakshinaamoorthaye|
Mahyam Medhaam Pragnyaam Prayachas Swaha||

Gurave Sarva LokaaNaam Bishaje BavaRogiNaam|
Nidhaye Sarva Vidhyaanaam Dakshinaa Moorthaye Namaha||

Vrushabath Vajaaya VidhMahe Kruni Hastaaya DheeMahee-
Thanno Guru: Prachodayaath||

ApraMeyathva ya theedha Nirmala Nyaana Moorthaye|
Manogi raam Vidhooraaya Dakshinaa Moorthaye Namaha||

11. Temples

11.1. As it has been pointed out,the temples where Dakshinamurthy is the chief deity are small in number. The Agamas mention twenty-five lila-murtis (Lila generally is playful, active) forms of Shiva. One of the more important of these is Sri Dakshinamurti. Generally, in Chola temples- both of Shiva and Vishnu- a niche in the south wall of the central shrine holds the image of Sri Dakshinamurthy. In all those temples the idol of Sri Dakshinamurthy is either carved on the wall; or placed in a niche or in a small shrine. Many temple towers too carry various versions of Sri Dakshinamurthy image.

11.2. For some reason, the processional or festival images (utsava-murti) of Sri Dakshinamurthy in bronze or alloy do not appear to be in vogue, except perhaps in the temple at Alankudi near Kumbakonam.

12. Guru Poornima

12.1. Guru Poornima the full –moon day which occurs in the month of Ashadha, marks the celebration of the Supreme Guru who taught through eloquent silence. Each year, the aspirants celebrate the day of the Adi-Guru with gratefulness, devotion and reverence.

13. Sri Dakshinamurthy and Avalokitesvara

13.1. Many scholars point out similarities in the representations of Sri Dakshinamurthy and Avalokitesvara Padmapani. There is also a view that each tradition influenced the other.

It is said; by about the fifth century, the Dakshinamurthy tradition was strongly established in the Madurai region. The Potiyil Mountains in the same region was also the cradle of the Avalokitesvara cult. The scholars have pointed out that the images of Sri Dakshinamurthy of the early Pallava period were depicted holding lotus flowers in their hands. The images carved on the walls or placed in the niche of the Sri Kailasanatha temple of Kancipuram and in the temple at Tirusalvar as also in some other temples of that period support the view. In the later period- the Chola- the lotus was replaced by Agni (fire) that illuminates; but the fire seemed to have a ‘stem’. That change might have been caused by the growing influence of the Vedic tradition in the South. The argument is that in the early period, the Dakshinamurthy iconography was influenced by the Buddhist tradition.

13.2. There is another view too. It is pointed out that the sculptures of Avalokitesvara and Dakshinamurthy- both of Pallava period and both in the region of Potiyil Mountains – are adorned with yajnopavitha and the sandal-paste mark between the eyebrows. It is said; these images in turn influenced the Avalokitesvara bronzes of Sri Lanka (8th century). It is argued, in this case, the Buddhist sculptures which were smaller in number in South India were influenced by the Hindu iconography.

[Please check the following links for more on that:

http://indology.info/email/members/palaniappan/patanjali.shtml http://www.poetryinstone.in/tag/dhakshinamurthy]

 13.3. Both the parties to the argument seemed to have overlooked that in the Indian context the art and idioms of art expressions were at once Hindu, Buddhist and Jain, for the style was a function of the region and of the times and not of religion. The Indian art that rendered religious themes shared a common pool of expressions and symbols.

 Let’s talk of your questions in the next part.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
References and sources
 
 

 





Bhupinder / / 1 year ago
Bhupinder

Ladies souls are being made to rape under earth and even souls 's souls and are brought and some thing is given in stomach and it is happening under earth and in the the stomachs, happening for revenges . in my eyes was seen a human body was pushed into holes under ground in earth , how humans births are born same way sending back to stomachs . even great humans are doing for revenges .
please requests you to request and pray to make to stop and save every soul every molecule of the body and souls from sufferings and pains .

what ever punishment is should be given on the earth only infront of all .

taking old revenges ,vengenes ,happening with great conspirancies ,polatics for the revenges of ramayana , mahabharta and old enemities and some wrong marragies had taken place and some sins which were the main causes of all the quarrels .


Bhupinder / / 1 year ago
Bhupinder

how many childrens , ladies and bala ,kundalinie souls are killed , sufferings with pains in the gutters and the toilet pipes , How many souls are taken under earth , and bitten .how many bala souls ,kundalinie child souls are suffering with pains in the pieces and molecules and looking with mercy to get back lifes , how many bodies are suffering with pains .how many souls are missing and would be suffering with pains


Suresh Rao / / 2 yrs ago
Suresh Rao

Sreenivasarao Sir

>>>"Sri Dakshinamurthy is revered as Adi Guru who preached through silence.
Those who sat at his fett to learn were ripe in age and wisdom">>>

Thanks for that meaning; to me it means an excellent iconic image of a 'Shisya' (sanscrit) from the Gurukulam era!

Also,

Deciple=name of someone who is considered a god by many people but is no more human then the rest of us. He just has more skills then the rest!


sreenivasarao s / / 2 yrs ago
sreenivasarao s

Dear Shri Rao , Thank for commenting on an old blog
Yes ; as you said , Dakshina evokes more than one meaning.

Please read part Two of the blog for some other explanations.

Sri Dakshinamurthy is revered as Adi Guru who preached through silence.
Those who sat at his fett to learn were ripe in age and wisdom

मोनव्याख्याप्रकटितपरब्रह्मतत्त्वं युवानं
वर्षिष्ठान्तेवसदृषिगणैरावृतं ब्रह्मनिष्ठैः।
आचार्येन्द्रं करकलितचिन्मुद्रमानन्दरूपं
स्वात्मारामं मुदितवदनं दक्षिणामूर्तिमीडे॥१॥

mounavyAkhyAprakaTitaparabrahmatattvaM yuvAnaM
varShiShThAntevasadRRiShigaNairAvRRitaM brahmaniShThaiH .
AcAryendraM karakalitacinmudramAnandarUpaM
svAtmArAmaM muditavadanaM dakShiNAmUrtimIDe ..


Suresh Rao / / 2 yrs ago
Suresh Rao

Dear Sreenivasarao Sir

I came across this blog of yours dating back to 2yrs. Shows how much I have to still catch up on! You have gone into great depths of iconography to answer questions on Dakshinamurthy; very enlightening.

However, it is my understanding that 'Dakshina' in 'Dakshinamurthy' does not indicate a direction (although Dakshina = South in many Indian languages.)

The Sanskrit word 'Dakshina' simply means ---"an offering in gratitude to the Guru". In a few Indian languages 'Dakshina/Dakshine' simply means offering to gurus, gods; in modern days it has come down to offering some 'coins' (small change, money!) In olden days of Gurukulams an offering to a guru meant 'guru seva' (service to the guru) from whom the deciple has learnt something.

My understanding is that 'Dakshinamurthy' idol represents image of a 'Shisya' (deciple in english) who reveres his Guru. In Sanatana Dharma the ultimate Guru ofcourse is none other than lord Shiva.

If in some images or idols of Dakshinamurthy the idol is shown with a demon being crushed under the feet... it just represents a deciple crushing ignorance after learning from his/her Guru. Other forms of Dakshinamurthy idol may show a deciple holding books, writing tools, in dhyanam (penance) etc to remember or digest what he has learnt or is grasping.

BTW, the idol at DAKSHINAMURTHY Temple @TIRUVOTRIYUR, Chennai-600019 FACES NORTH.


sreenivasarao s / / 2 yrs ago
sreenivasarao s

Dear Thisisvi, Temples where Dakshinamurthy is the chief deity are small in number. Generally, in Chola temples- both of Shiva and Vishnu- a niche in the south wall of the central shrine holds the image of Sri Dakshinamurthy. In all those temples the idol of Sri Dakshinamurthy is either carved on the wall; or placed in a niche or in a small shrine. Many temple towers too carry various versions of Sri Dakshinamurthy image.

Sri Dakshinamurthy forms are immensely diversified; there are too many versions of his form. There are too many temples to be listed.

However, Smt Ushasuryamani had earlier made a list of Sri Dakshinamurthy idols she visited during her pilgrimages. I am reproducing extract from list. Trust this might help.This exhaustive ; but not complete.

: At Agaram 12 kilometres from Kanchi on the kanchi-Arakonam road. ( This is called Govindavadi) Sri Dakshinamoorthy is worshipped as Guru here. A separate Temple with very interesting Features.
: At SuruttappaLLi one can see Shree Dakshinamoorthy as Koshta Devatha with His Consort…something unusual. He is called Daampathya Dakshinamoorthy.
: At Puliyarai near Thenkasi, Zodiac signs are supposed be there in front of Him.
:At Punjai near Semponaar koil, Naagai district, Most beautiful Dakshinamoorthy red in colour.
: At Thirunaavalur near Panrutti…Sri Dakshinamoorthy standing with the Rishabha.
:At Lalgudi, Sri Saptharisheeswarar Koil..Veena Dakshinamoorthy.
: At Thiruppunnavasal…5 1/2 feet tall Lord Dakshinamoorthy.
: At Omaampuliyur near Kaattumannarkoil…Not only is He a Koshta Devatha..He is between Siva & Ambal Sannidhis five and a half feet high.
: At Vallalaar Koil near Mayavaram, an important Dakshinamoorthy sthalam; Seated on Rishabham.
: At Alangudi
:At Thrisoolam Squatting Dakshinamoorthy.
: At Thirukkattuppall i near Thiruvaiyaru, can see two Dakshinamoorthy roopams in two prakarams at the same time
: At Thiruvayyaru Big temple…Hari Guru Shiva yoga Dakshinamoorthy with tortoise at His feet giving Maha Vishnu Panchaakupadesamshara
: At Pattamangalam (Sivaganga)..He is seated under a 1000 year old Saal Tree.
:At Thirunedungulam near Thiruverumbur, Yoga Dakshinamoorthy in Padmasana , as in Uththarakosamangai.
: At ILambayankottur near Madras Right hand on His left chest.
:Thakkolam Uthkada asana
: At S Pudur (Sengarangudi) on the way to Konerirajapuram from Kumbakonam…all the Grahas are at HIs feet (I have not seen this place)
: At Thiruppoonthuruthi, sitting on Lotus & playing the Veena.
: At Thingalur near Thiruvayyaru, seated with Palm leaves in His Hands.
: There is a relatively new temple near the huge Anjaneya Temple, Thiruvallur.
: There is also a beautiful Temple Medha Dakshinamoorthy in Theni at the Swami Omkarananda Ashram. He is so beautiful.
: At Annadana Dakshinamoorthy at the Siva Temple at Thepperumanallur near Kumbakonam (originally called Devarajapuram).
: At Thirunageswaram, he is near Amman Sannidhi with Thrisulam & Rudraksham in the hands behind.
: At the Badami cave temple He is in the form of Ardhanareeswara, holding a Veena.
*In the Tanjore Baladandayuthapani, he is with Ambal as Sakthi Dakshinamurthy.
*In the Kazhugumalai Vettuvan Temple Vimana, He is there on the South side playing the Mridhangam.


sreenivasarao s / / 2 yrs ago
sreenivasarao s

Dear Thisisvi, Temples where Dakshinamurthy is the chief deity are small in number. Generally, in Chola temples- both of Shiva and Vishnu- a niche in the south wall of the central shrine holds the image of Sri Dakshinamurthy. In all those temples the idol of Sri Dakshinamurthy is either carved on the wall; or placed in a niche or in a small shrine. Many temple towers too carry various versions of Sri Dakshinamurthy image.

Sri Dakshinamurthy forms are immensely diversified; there are too many versions of his form. There are too many temples to be listed.

However, Smt Ushasuryamani had earlier made a list of Sri Dakshinamurthy idols she visited during her pilgrimages. I am reproducing extract from list. Trust this might help.This exhaustive ; but not complete.

: At Agaram 12 kilometres from Kanchi on the kanchi-Arakonam road. ( This is called Govindavadi) Sri Dakshinamoorthy is worshipped as Guru here. A separate Temple with very interesting Features.
: At SuruttappaLLi one can see Shree Dakshinamoorthy as Koshta Devatha with His Consort…something unusual. He is called Daampathya Dakshinamoorthy.
: At Puliyarai near Thenkasi, Zodiac signs are supposed be there in front of Him.
:At Punjai near Semponaar koil, Naagai district, Most beautiful Dakshinamoorthy red in colour.
: At Thirunaavalur near Panrutti…Sri Dakshinamoorthy standing with the Rishabha.
:At Lalgudi, Sri Saptharisheeswarar Koil..Veena Dakshinamoorthy.
: At Thiruppunnavasal…5 1/2 feet tall Lord Dakshinamoorthy.
: At Omaampuliyur near Kaattumannarkoil…Not only is He a Koshta Devatha..He is between Siva & Ambal Sannidhis five and a half feet high.
: At Vallalaar Koil near Mayavaram, an important Dakshinamoorthy sthalam; Seated on Rishabham.
: At Alangudi
:At Thrisoolam Squatting Dakshinamoorthy.
: At Thirukkattuppall i near Thiruvaiyaru, can see two Dakshinamoorthy roopams in two prakarams at the same time
: At Thiruvayyaru Big temple…Hari Guru Shiva yoga Dakshinamoorthy with tortoise at His feet giving Maha Vishnu Panchaakupadesamshara
: At Pattamangalam (Sivaganga)..He is seated under a 1000 year old Saal Tree.
:At Thirunedungulam near Thiruverumbur, Yoga Dakshinamoorthy in Padmasana , as in Uththarakosamangai.
: At ILambayankottur near Madras Right hand on His left chest.
:Thakkolam Uthkada asana
: At S Pudur (Sengarangudi) on the way to Konerirajapuram from Kumbakonam…all the Grahas are at HIs feet (I have not seen this place)
: At Thiruppoonthuruthi, sitting on Lotus & playing the Veena.
: At Thingalur near Thiruvayyaru, seated with Palm leaves in His Hands.
: There is a relatively new temple near the huge Anjaneya Temple, Thiruvallur.
: There is also a beautiful Temple Medha Dakshinamoorthy in Theni at the Swami Omkarananda Ashram. He is so beautiful.
: At Annadana Dakshinamoorthy at the Siva Temple at Thepperumanallur near Kumbakonam (originally called Devarajapuram).
: At Thirunageswaram, he is near Amman Sannidhi with Thrisulam & Rudraksham in the hands behind.
: At the Badami cave temple He is in the form of Ardhanareeswara, holding a Veena.
*In the Tanjore Baladandayuthapani, he is with Ambal as Sakthi Dakshinamurthy.
*In the Kazhugumalai Vettuvan Temple Vimana, He is there on the South side playing the Mridhangam.


sreenivasarao s / / 4 yrs ago
sreenivasarao s

Dear Shri Sridhara, It’s OK. You are welcome. I am glad you found the post interesting. Yes, there are varied depictions of Sri Dakshinamurthy forms ; and as you said, each has its significance. Please do read the rest as well. Regards


sridharaa / / 4 yrs ago
sridharaa

Dear Rao sir (sorry for the first name addressal in my earlier reply to your comment in my post), I must have checked here before I posted the comment.
A very erudite description of the various forms of Dakshinamoorthy. I have always noted Dakshinamoorthy in temples ...but never noticed so many forms and descriptions and now I see that each has a significance of its own. It's truly an enlightening and an uplifting post.
Thank you sir.
Cheers


Ramesh Vadtal / / 4 yrs ago
Ramesh Vadtal

Dear all,

Please let me know if we have any Shri Dakshinamurty Temple in Bangalore.

Thanks,
Ramesh.


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