Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 2 – Prologue – The Creation Process & Science

The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) is a general-purpose detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It has a broad physics program ranging from studying the Standard Model (including the Higgs boson) to searching for extra dimensions and particles that could make up dark matter. The CMS detector is built around a huge solenoid magnet. This takes the form of a cylindrical coil of superconducting cable that generates a field of 4 tesla, about 100,000 times the magnetic field of the Earth. The field is confined by a steel “yoke” that forms the bulk of the detector’s 14,000-tonne weight. Credit: CERN

Wondering what has Higgs Boson to do with Dakshinamurthy Stothram !

Let us have a quick overview of the current scientific scenario related to Theory of Creation (Information collated from the public domain)

Big Bang Theory

When the universe began, it was just hot, tiny particles mixed with light and energy. It was nothing like what we see now. As everything expanded and took up more space, it cooled down. The tiny particles grouped together. They formed atoms. Then those atoms grouped together. Over lots of time, atoms came together to form stars and galaxies. The first stars created bigger atoms and groups of atoms. That led to more stars being born. At the same time, galaxies were crashing and grouping together. As new stars were being born and dying, then things like asteroids, comets, planets, and black holes formed! How long did all of this take? Well, we now know that the universe is 13,800,000,000 years old—that’s 13.8 billion. That is a very long time. That’s pretty much how the universe began. Because it got so big and led to such great things, some people call it the “Big Bang.” But maybe a better name would be the “Everywhere Stretch.”

The Multiverse Theory:

What happened before the Big Bang? No one is sure, and some physicists contend that the word “before” has no clear meaning in this context. The universe could have been eternal, or it could have had a beginning — we just don’t know. In recent years, scientists have developed several theoretical models that attempt to describe epochs that preceded the Big Bang. Advances in physics over the past 30 years have led some physicists and cosmologists to the mind-boggling conclusion that the universe we inhabit is just one of many in existence — perhaps an infinite number. If these scientists are right, then all the stars and galaxies we see in the night sky are but a tiny fraction of an incomprehensibly vast assemblage that scientists call the multiverse.

String Theory in support of Multiverse:

One of the arguments put forth for the existence of a multiverse arises is the string theory, which holds that matter is ultimately composed not of particles but of unimaginably small, vibrating strings or loops of energy. String theory’s equations seem to have a staggering number of possible solutions (perhaps as many as 10^500 — that’s a one followed by 500 zeros). Some string theorists argue that each of these solutions describes a different universe, each with its own physical properties.

Higgs Boson – God Particle:

God Particle or the Higgs boson is the fundamental particle associated with the Higgs field, a field that gives mass to other fundamental particles such as electrons and quarks. A particle’s mass determines how much it resists changing its speed or position when it encounters a force. Not all fundamental particles have mass. The photon, which is the particle of light and carries the electromagnetic force, has no mass at all.

Scientists are now studying the characteristic properties of the Higgs boson to determine if it precisely matches the predictions of the Standard Model of particle physics. If the Higgs boson deviates from the model, it may provide clues to new particles that only interact with other Standard Model particles through the Higgs boson and thereby lead to new scientific discoveries.

Back to Basics:

After these overviews on the theory of creation, here is an observation by Alessandro Fedrizzi (Professor of Quantum Physics at Heriot Watt UNiversity) & Massimiliano Proietti, PhD Candidate)

“The scientific method is after all founded on the reliable notions of observation, measurement and repeatability. A fact, as established by a measurement, should be objective, such that all observers can agree with it. But in a paper recently published in Science Advances, we show that, in the micro-world of atoms and particles that is governed by the strange rules of quantum mechanics, two different observers are entitled to their own facts. In other words, according to our best theory of the building blocks of nature itself, facts can actually be subjective. Observers are powerful players in the quantum world. According to the theory, particles can be in several places or states at once – this is called a superposition. But oddly, this is only the case when they aren’t observed. The second you observe a quantum system, it picks a specific location or state – breaking the superposition. The fact that nature behaves this way has been proven multiple times in the lab. (https://theconversation.com/quantum-physics-our-study-suggests-objective-reality-doesnt-exist-126805)”.

Here is an interesting observation, which I read in one of the news reports recently :

Whether or not there is a “God particle,” we know this about Christ: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible . . . all things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1:16).

Sounds familiar – We are trying to find out the cause of Infinity (“Purnam”) and trying our best to define it within the gamut of time and space; well, these scientific work backed up by extremely complex mathematical equations and powerfully equipped astronomy can continue without end. Let us recollect the Shanthi Sloka of Isavasya Upanishad:

पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते

पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते

शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः

Isavasyam idham sarvam” ! Isn’t it? This is exactly what Vedas, Upanishads, Saints and Philosophers from Hinduism had told centuries ago through their “darshanas” (perspectives), “vaadaas” (deliberations), commentaries and Slokas.

Sloka No 2 focusses on “Creator and the process”. Let us see “HIM/HER”, the Creator and HIS/HER process for creation in the subsequent blogs.

Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 1 – Conclusion

Adi Sankarar, Manicka Vasagar, Thirumoolar

Essentially the first Sloka of the Dakṣiṇāmūrti Sthothram deals with “atma svaroopam” which Adi Sankaracharya reveals with two day to day examples of “darpana nagari” and “svapna nagari”. The Atma is revealed as the base “adishtaanam” of the Universe, as the independent existence – truth “sathya”, as the one unaffected by the events and whatever happens “asamgaha” and finally as non dual “advayam”, the Brahman Himself.

In this first verse, from the experiential standpoint we discover that the world exists in our mind. The world exists because we experience it. Usually we think the other way around. The conventional perspective is world exists therefore we experience it. This is called srishti drishti vada . (Srushti means creation. Drishti means seeing. Vada means doctrine or teaching). It means, you see the world because it has been created. In the ongoing “Global Festival of Oneness 2021” conducted by Advaita Academy, there was an interesting presentation on this. This is how this debate on the two perspective was summed up pictorially by the speaker.

But the presentation by Sankara in this first verse is opposite to the conventional view. The creation exists because you see it. The world in the mind exists because you are there to experience it. If you are not there to witness the world, the world in your mind would not exist. What you directly experience is only the contents of your mind. So the vision conveyed by the first verse is drishti srishti vada. It is opposite to the conventional perspective.

ஆதி சங்கரரின் தக்ஷிணா மூர்தி ஸ்தோத்திரத்தின் முதல் பண்ணின் கருத்துக்கள் சைவ சித்தாந்தத்தில் வெளிப்படுகிறது. திருமூலர் திருமந்திரத்தில் சொல்கிறார்:

மனத்தில் எழுந்ததுஓர் மாயக் கண்ணாடி;

நினைப்பின் அதனின் நிழலையும் காணார்;

வினைப்பயன் போக விளக்கியும் கொள்ளார்;

புறக்கடை இச்சித்துப் போகின்ற வாறே (திருமந்திரம், 1681)

தன்னை அறியக் கிளம்பியவர்கள் தன்னுடைய மூலை முடுக்குகளிலெல்லாம் தன்னைத் தேடினார்கள்; மனம் எதிர்ப்பட்டது; அங்கும் தேடினார்கள்; அது ஒரு மாயப் பிம்பத்தை எழுப்பிக் காட்டியது. அடிமுடி தேடிய படலத்தில், முடி தேடிப் போன பிரம்மன், முடியைக் காணாமல் அன்னப் பறவையைக் கண்டு திரும்பிவிட்டதைப்போல, தன்னையே தேடிப் போனவர்கள், தன்னைக் காணாமல் ஏதோ ஒரு மாயப் பிம்பத்தைக் கண்டு அதுவே தான் என்று எண்ணித் திரும்பி விட்டார்கள். விளங்காதவர்கள்; விளக்கிச் சொன்னாலும் விளங்கிக் கொள்ளத் தெரியாதவர்கள். தலைவாயில் அடைத்திருப்பதாக எண்ணி ஏமாந்து பின்னால் சென்று புறக்கடை வாசலைத் தட்டிக்கொண்டு நிற்கிறார்கள். தன்னை அல்ல, தன்னுடைய நிழலைக்கூட இவர்களால் கண்டுகொள்ள முடியாது.

Brahman is in essence the indwelling Controller for all activity seen in any being whatsoever. That is why Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi says that stop unwanted discussions/arguments about the real or unreal world and objects. Start looking inwards in his “Ulladhu Naarpadhu” – உள்ளது நாற்பது.

உலகுமெய்பொய்த் தோற்ற முலகறிவா மன்றென்

றுலகுசுக மன்றென் றுரைத்தெ — னுலகுவிட்டுத்

தன்னையோர்ந் தொன்றிரண்டு தானற்று நானற்ற

வந்நிலையெல் லார்க்குமொப் பாம்.

What is the use of disputing: ‘The world is real’, ‘[No, it is] an unreal appearance’; ‘The world is sentient’, ‘It is not’; ‘The world is happiness’, ‘It is not’? Leaving [all thought about] the world and investigating [or knowing] oneself, [thereby] putting an end to [all disputes about] one and two [non-duality and duality], that state in which ‘I’ [ego] has [thereby] perished is agreeable to all. So instead of looking outward, start looking inward.

இதனையே திருமூலர் திருமந்திரம், 2956 பதியில்;

மனமாயை மாயை;இம் மாயை மயக்க;

மனமாயை தான்மாயமற்றொன்றும் இல்லை;

பினைமாய்வது இல்லைபிதற்றவும் வேண்டா;

தனைஆய்ந்து இருப்பது தத்துவம் தானே.

என தெளிவாக உரைக்கிறார். உங்களைப் பேதைமைப்படுத்துவதும் மயக்குவதும் நீங்களே உருவாக்கிச் செல்லங் கொஞ்சிப் பேணி வளர்த்து வைத்திருக்கிற மனம்தான். மனம் உங்களை மயக்குவதை நிறுத்துங்கள்; மனத்தை நீங்கள் மயக்குங்கள். மனம் என்கிற மாயை ஒழிந்துவிட்டால், பிறகு உங்களை மயக்கத்தக்கது வேறு ஒன்றும் இல்லை. ஒழித்துக்கட்ட வேண்டியதும் வேறு ஒன்றும் இல்லை. மனத்தின் தூண்டுதலுக்கு ஆட்பட்டுத் தாறுமாறாக நடந்துகொள்ளவும் தேவையில்லை. தன்னையே தான் ஆராய்ந்து, தானே தானாக இருப்பதுதான் யோகம்.

தன்னையே தான் ஆராய்தல் எப்படி? மாணிக்கவாசகர் சொல்கிறார்:

நான்ஆர்?என் உள்ளம்ஆர்ஞானங்கள்

ஆர்? என்னை யார்அறிவார்?

வானோர் பிரான்என்னை

ஆண்டுஇலனேல் மதிமயங்கி

ஊனார் உடைதலையில்

உண்பலிதேர் அம்பலவன்

தேன்ஆர் கமலமே

சென்றுஊதாய் கோத்தும்பீ

(திருவாசகம், திருக்கோத்தும்பி, 2). நான் யார், என் உள்ளம் எது, ஞானங்கள் எவை என்று அறிய வேண்டும்; என்னை அறிகிறவர் யார் என்றும் பார்க்க வேண்டும். எல்லாமே வானோர் பிரானாகிய சிவன்தான் என்று தன்னை அறிவிக்கும் பொறுப்பையும் அறியும் பொறுப்பையும் இறைவனிடம் ஒப்படைக்கிறார் பக்தியின் வழிவந்த மாணிக்கவாசகர். யோகத்தின் வழிவந்த திருமூலரோ அந்தப் பொறுப்பைத் தன் வசமே வைத்துக்கொள்கிறார்.

So, how do we elevate ourselves to that enquiry Who am I? How can I look inward? In answer to this question, Sages have identified four areas

  1. Study of Shastras and Shruti 2. The Kripa of the Guru 3. Yoga practice (Abhyasa) through meditation 4. God’s grace/Isvara Anugraha

When, by Shruti,, by the master’s favour, by practice of Yoga, and by the Grace of God, there arises a knowledge of one’s own Self, then, as a man regards the food he has eaten as one with himself, the Adept Yogin sees the universe as one with his Self, absorbed as the universe is in the Universal Ego which he has become.

References:

மேற்கோள் நூல்கள்

1. Dakṣiṇāmurty. Sthothram – Talks By Swami Paramarthananda; Transcribed by Sri P.S. Ramachandrn; Published by :Arsha Avinash

2. Dakshinamurti Stotra with Mānasollāsa of Sureśvarācārya translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri – from archives.org

3.சங்கரரின் தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி தோத்திரம்: சைவசித்தாந்த விளக்கம் – முனைவர்கோ.ந. முத்துக்குமாரசுவாமி – https://www.tamilhindu.com/

4. Prof. Mahadevan, IIM, Bangalore – https://www.sanskritfromhome.in/course/daksinamurtiSthothram /

5. https://Vedāntaḥstudents.com/class-notes/#1539832350612-778c6bda-cf96

6. தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி ஸ்தோத்திரம் – பகவான் ரமண மகரிஷி

Dakshinamurthy Stothram- Sloka 1 – ஆன்மாவும் அண்டமும் – SELF & THE UNIVERSE – “JIVA & JAGAT”

We saw in the last two blogs the Vedantic Concepts behind the Mirror and Dream. Let us now see how Bhagwadpaada Adi Sankara uses these two examples and teaches us further.

DAKSHINAMURTHY STHOTHRAM SLOKA 1

विश्वं दर्पणदृश्यमाननगरीतुल्यं निजान्तर्गतं

पश्यन्नात्मनि मायया बहिरिवोद्भूतं यथा निद्रया

यः साक्षात्कुरुते प्रबोधसमये स्वात्मानमेवाद्वयं

तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥१॥

தமிழ் மொழிபெயர்பு

நிலைக்கண்ணாடியில் பிரதிபலிக்கும் நகரமன்றோ

நிலையிலா இவ்வுலகமதின் நிழற்படம் நம்முள்ளே !

நம்முள்ளுறை தரணிதனை, நாம் உறவாடும் வெளியுலகமென

மனத்திரையில் காண்போம், விழித்தவுடன் மடியும் கனவென !

அவ்வாறே மாயையினால் மருவுடனே நமை அறியா நமக்கு,

ஆன்மீக விழிப்புணர்வூட்டி நம்முள்ளுறை தூய ஒருமையான

பரம்பொருளே நானெனும் ஆன்மா” எனும் அறிவு புகட்டும்

ஆதிஅந்தமிலா மோனநிலை ஆசானாம் அருள்மிகு

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி  பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

The Meaning:

“To Him who by illusion of Ātman, as by sleep, sees the Universe existing within Himself – like a city seen to exist within a mirror – as though it were manifested without; to Him who beholds, when awake, His own very Self, the second less; to Him who is incarnate in the Teacher; to Him in the Effulgent form facing the South, to Him (Siva) be this bow!”

First Line of the Sloka

विश्वं दर्पणदृश्यमाननगरीतुल्यं निजान्तर्गतं पश्यन्नात्मनि मायया बहिरिवोद्भूतं यथा निद्रया

Vishvam Darpana-Drshyamaana-Nagarii-Tulyam – viśvam means this visible universe; the universe which we see in our waking state is comparable to darpaṇa dṛśyamāna nagari tulyam, comparable to the reflected city being seen in a huge mirror.

Nija-Antargatam – This visvam is within oneself only

Pashyann-Aātmani – This visvam (the world we are experiencing within ourselves only) is actually existing in me, ātmani pasyathi.

Mayayaa –  because of the “aadhiṣṭāna ajnānam” i.e., avidya or maya (Ref the previous blogs)

bahiri udbhūtam – appears as though outside,

yathaa – like

nidrayaa – when we are asleep,

(the dream world which is really existing within ourselves appears as though outside, when we are asleep – implied meaning).

Iva – By using the word iva: as though outside, Sankaracharya conveyed that it is really not outside, everything is inside me only.

Second Line of the Sloka

यः साक्षात्कुरुते प्रबोधसमये स्वात्मानमेवाद्वयं Yah Saakssaat-Kurute Prabodha-Samaye Sva-[A]ātmaanam-Eva-Advayam

Yah:  – In this context refers to the sleeping person “supta puruṣaḥ”; and this sleeping person was seeing the svapna viśvam outside; the sleeping person was seeing the dream world outside;

prabhodha samaya –  but when the sleeping person wakes up, what is his experience; his outside dream world is resolved into himself. All elements of svapna viz. svpna deśa disappears into himself; svapna kālaḥ, svapna padārthaḥ, svapna jīvaḥ, they all dissolve effortlessly; since the entire dream world is resolved into himself, what remains? he the waker alone remains. Therefore, “supta puruṣaḥ, prabodha samaye,

advaiyam svatmānam sākṣātkurute” –  meaning that on waking up, the sleeping person recognises himself as the secondless one; without any dream object. After waking up, I do not see the waker; I claim myself to be the waker. This claiming is called sākṣātkāraha. I should not use any other verb. If I say I see the waker, waker appears to be another person. If I say I experience the waker; it appears as though waker is different. Suppose I say I become the waker; even that word is not correct strictly because; there is no becoming involved; I was the waker before, I am the waker now, therefore, I do not even become the waker. I claim myself to be the waker; this claiming is called sākṣātkāraha.

Similarly, in self-knowledge, I do not experience the ātma/ In self-knowledge I do not see the ātma. In self-knowledge I do not become the ātma; In self-knowledge I claim I am the ātma. And this peculiar process of claiming is called sākṣātkāraha. So, it is not coming face to face. sākṣātkāraha, if it is translated as direct experience, we will have all kinds of misconception that when I wake up Brahman will be standing in front, smiling, giving darshanam. It is not like that, I am the waker. Therefore, prabhoda samaye, on waking up supta puruṣaḥ svātmaanam advyayam eva sākṣātkārute.

Last Line of the Sloka

तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये Tasmai Shrii-Guru-Muurtaye Nama Idam Shrii-Dakssinnaamuurtaye

tasmai  – means prabuddha puruṣāya; to that woken-up person, who is a jnāni; who is liberated; who knows I am jagatadhishtaanam, to that jnani my namaskaaram. So tasmai prabuddha puruṣāya, jnānine namaha. And who is that jnāni?

Shree gurumurthaye – who alone is a guru, who alone can serve as a guru and who is my guru, gurumoorthaye.

Namaha – my salutations.

Thus we can see that a complex concept in Philosophy is explained by Adi Sankara in just two lines using two simple day to day events in human life – the examples of viewing in a mirror and dreaming captures the essence of Vedanta. We will conclude the Sloka 1 in the next blog with a summary.

References:

மேற்கோள் நூல்கள்

1. Dakṣiṇāmurty. Sthothram – Talks By Swami Paramarthananda; Transcribed by Sri P.S. Ramachandrn; Published by :Arsha Avinash

2. Dakshinamurti Stotra with Mānasollāsa of Sureśvarācārya translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri

3.சங்கரரின் தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி தோத்திரம்: சைவசித்தாந்த விளக்கம் – முனைவர்கோ.ந. முத்துக்குமாரசுவாமிwww.tamilhindu.com/

4. Prof. Mahadevan, IIM, Bangalore – https://www.sanskritfromhome.in/course/daksinamurtiSthothram /

5. https://Vedāntaḥstudents.com/class-notes/#1539832350612-778c6bda-cf96

6. தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி ஸ்தோத்திரம் – பகவான் ரமண மகரிஷி

Arunodaya

Looking at the Sunrise with awe and reciting Aditya Hrudayam during my early morning walks has been my most enjoyable moment for the day for several years.

Nothing can be more invigorating than this particularly in this era of pandemic and lock down. The one hour that I spend in the early morning is worth the gold. That is what Aditya (Sun) seems to be telling me today morning.

Watch Him talk to me today, Sunday the 16th Morning between 0545 and 0645 Hrs in Bangalore

https://www.dropbox.com/s/782xv6yj94n67mq/Arunodaya%20.MOV?dl=0

Music Courtesy – Music Today Album Arunodayam – Bowli Raga

Dakshinamurthy Stothram – Sloka 1 – Introduction – Part 2 – Dream

We saw in the first part, the four features of the Mirror and the reflected image. These are adhiṣṭānatvam, sathyatvam, asaṃgattvam, advaiyatvam (the supporter, independent existence, unaffectedness and unitary nature of the Mirror and the opposites for the reflected images. Now let us see what happens in a dream.

The features of a dream:

Now have a look at the image below; someone (let us say it is myself) is having a dream about London.

Here I am, an young executive, after presenting my credentials to the HMS Authorities, I am being taken around for a tour of SW1 areas of London ( the dream city – स्वप्न नगरि svapna nagari) where I will be working. Wow. What a dream (स्वप्न svapna). Wow.

This Dream is a projection from myself; it is exclusive and unique to me and cannot be a collective event. For the purpose of the dream, I create a world within myself, a SW1 area in London, create the Queen, create the PM at 10 Downing St, create people and objects (in the lighter sense I have become a the God- the Brahman). My Dream is real but the events in the dream are imaginary. I create a dream and I enter into it either as an actor or as a witness. Dream is related to what I know; the world as experienced by me is required for all dream transactions. Within the dream I am not a creator; I am either an actor or a witness. In the dream, who am I is a function of where I want to associate myself with. The creator, the witness and the dreamer are one and the same and all are happy to perform the roles associated.

Summing up the two attributes of my dream are:

a) Entire dream and events, everything happens within me/inside me – “nija anthargatham” and

b) The whole thing is Externally Projected.“Bahir-Iva-Udbhuutam”

So, my Svapna nagaram, the dream world is one thing and the entire dream world is resting/residing in Me the waker; to be precise in my mind, in my mind it is resting, but since the mind is an integral part of the waker, I will use the expression, waker. So the mirror of the first example is comparable to the waker and the images/reflections of the first example is comparable to the स्वप्न प्रपछः svapna prapachaḥ the dream world.

1. Here I-the-waker, am the adhiṣṭānam, support, the basis for the entire dream world. The dream time; the dream space; As long as I support through sleep, the dream world continues, the moment the I the waker withdraws the support, the dream word collapses.

2. I-the waker, lend existence to svapna nagari, which means without me, dream world cannot exist, whereas without the dream world, I can, Thank God, I happily exist.

3. Whatever events happen in the dream world, has nothing to do with waker. In this particular dream case, the waker that is me, did not have a work permit, a visa and even a passport. I reached the airport in no time, flew to London in no time, everything was done with no time and space constraints at all.. In short, I the waker is asaṃgah, the dream event does not touch me at all.

4. The dream object and people; how many? OR whatever be their number, none of them can be counted, the only countable one is waker, and therefore, the people in dream are as good as non-existent. The Queen, the HMS Authorities, the Staff everyone are all non existent and therefore I am advayaha, I-the waker.

Here is a pictorial representation of the dream’s features

Waking up from a dream:

Let us take an example to understand the process of waking up from a dream. In a dark room, a rope is (wrongly) perceived as snake. Reacting to this snake, either one is afraid of it and tries to run away from it or one tries to catch it to earn something out of it. The game (reaction) of ‘run-and-chase’ continues as long as snake is perceived. The reason for this behaviour is our ignorance i.e. absence of the knowledge of truth. When we switch on the light, snake simply disappears and rope manifests itself without any effort on our part. Snake simply vanishes leaving no trace of itself. Snake was superimposed on Rope. Wrong perception made it look real. Snake ‘veiled’ the rope. Snake was real only until darkness prevailed. Now let us get back to the dream!

  • The dream world is inside me and it is unreal (mithya) but the dream world appears to be outside me, and real, when I am asleep (nidrāḥ). In other words, sleep (nidrāḥ) makes the inside-dream-world, outside and not only that,it makes the unreal-dream-world look as though real. To put it in a technical manner, my sleep state is not aware of my Waker nature which essentially means that Waker-ignorance is sleep (nidrāḥ). More technically, waker is adhiṣṭānam and therefore adhiṣṭāna-ignorance is nidrāḥ. Or still more technically, Waker-aadhiṣṭāna ajnānam eva nidra iti ucyate. When I am asleep, when I have adhiṣṭāna-ajnanam, the inside-dream appears outside and false-dream appears real.
  • When sleep (nidrāḥ) goes away i.e., at prabodha samaya (prabhoda is waking, samaya means at that time) I am aware of my waker status. So waking up is nothing but waker-knowledge. Prabhodha is nothing but adhiṣṭāna jnānam. And when I am aware of myself as the waker, when I have adhiṣṭāna jnānam, the outside dream is no more outside, and, the real dream is no more real; it is falsified.

In the same way, this world is experienced as separate object due to veiling power of māyā. Once this veil, the root cause of ignorance is removed, Self, the Brahman, shines by itself. This world is true only until the truth is veiled. The world talked here is better understood if we take it as ‘mental world’ or ‘Jīva shṛṣṭi’.

With the two examples of Mirror & Dream in these two introductory blogs,let us digest these learnings and proceed to the Sloka in the next blog.

…………

To be continued in next week.

Dakshinamurthy Stothram- Sloka 1 Introduction – Part 1 – Mirror

It has been a month since I commenced my journey in search of myself by trying to understand Dakshinamurthy Stothram. Someone told me en route, “If you are searching yourselves, then why don’t you look at the mirror ? simple; why do you undertake arduous journeys?” Very valid question. Infact, this is what all of us do daily either in our dressing room or in the bathroom.

Well, that is exactly what I have been doing so long and so foolishly. Every time I see myself in the mirror, I think that I am the smartest guy around, trying to be one of the specially initiated in the field of Vedanta. Hardly did I realise that all I do is nothing but dreaming and I am the one who wanders in the region of the many and variable.

Mirror and its features: Talking about Mirrors, look at this building, the Museum of Contemporary Arts at Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

MOCA, Cleveland, Ohio

What an impressive architecture! I can see the whole street, the traffic, the buildings etc in the mirror – in other words, the “दर्पण नगरि Darpana Nagari” (Darpana – Mirror; Nagari – City/Street) as we call in Sanskrit. Let us keep looking at it a bit more and contemplate as to what we see. We could see four distinct features. They are

1. The Mirror is the base and supports (अधिष्टानं adhiṣṭānam) the reflected street. The relationship between the mirror and the reflected street is one of supporter-supported relationship (अधिष्टान आदेय स्म्बन्धः adhiṣṭāna-ādeya-sambandhaḥ).

2. Then the second feature is that the reflected street does not have an existence of its own, even though it is experienced by me. I experience the street, the cars that move, the buildings and everything . But all of them are surreal. They all are borrowed from the mirror. And therefore the reflected street has borrowed existence; whereas the mirror has got its own existence (i.e., whether the reflection is there or not, mirror exists), the reflection cannot exist without the mirror. Therefore, the mirror is having independent existence (सत्यम् sathyam) , whereas reflection is having dependent existence (मित्यम् mithyam).

3. Whatever events that happen in the reflected street, will not affect the mirror. If there is a car accident that is reflected, it does not crack the mirror. If it is a water spill on the road that is reflected, it does not wet the mirror. Therefore mirror is असंगत्त्वम् asaṃgattvam. This “unaffectedness” of the mirror is the third feature of the mirror.

4. Since the reflected objects are having dependent existence (mithya) i.e., having no existence of their own, they are as good as non-existent. This means they cannot be counted along with the mirror; they are uncountable and therefore what is countable is only one; even though there are hundreds of reflected objects, thousand reflected objects; none of them can add up to the mirror. And therefore this non-duality अद्वैयत्वं (advaiyatvam) is the fourth feature.of the mirror.

Here are the pictorial representations of the features of the Mirror.

Never ever in my life so far (until I started studying the Dakshinamurthy Sthothram), did I bother to focus on the philosophical features of a mirror and it is a new learning.

Talking about this new learning, never did I realize too, that these four features are very much applicable to my dreams too. Let us see the “Dreaming” process in this perspective in my next blog which will be a week later.

To be continued……

Absolute Surrender to Sankara – TOTAKAASHTAKAM – ॥ तोटकाष्टकं ॥

In the process of my spiritual journey, I have been trying to understand the works of Adi Sankaracharya. The child in me ventured and tried to understand the following works of Adi Sankara so far.

Sivananda Lahari, Siva Panchaksharam, Subramanya Bhujangam, Nirvana Shatakam, Bhaja Govindam and Ganesha Pancharathnam. The current venture is into Dakshinamurthy Sthothram.

Last week during one of my Whatsapp messaging with my eldest brother (whose name is incidentally Gurumoorthy), I got the link of the MS Subbulakshmi’s song on Totakaashtakam. That was the trigger.

How childish I am and how immature I have been! True to the nature of a child (as would be described by Adi Sankara himself in one of the Slokas of Dakshinamurthy Stothram), it didn’t even occur to me that I should offer my prayers to Adi Sankara himself first, before venturing. How can anyone commence a journey without offering prayers to the காவல் தெய்வம் ? (The Protector) Sankara.

To me it became clear that The Guru, appeared as an innocuous message from my brother Gurumoorthy and triggered me to dive into Totakaashtakam and ensure that I don’t carry on the journey without offering my prayers to Adi Sankara – the Akhila Guru’s (Lord Sankara’s) avatar.

So, here is my humble understanding of the Ashtakam and my prayers to Adi Sankaracharya.

I dedicate this translation to the lotus feet of Maha Periavaa Sri Paramacharya of Kanchi. Here is a rare video clip of Maha Periavaa explaining Totakaashtakam.

I will resume Dakshinamurthy Stothram now in the next blog on 07th May 2021.

Prologue for the Sloka 1 – Master Piece

The Master Piece

It is an oft-quoted saying that philosophy begins in wonder. The mystery of the Universe with all its changes strikes the reflective temper of human beings. Through this reflective temper, human beings constantly question their experiences. The Vedic philosophy grew out of a demand for the explanation of actual experiences of an individual.

One of the fundamental laws of Vedanta is “ I am different from whatever I experience”. In general, this whole world that I experience therefore, comes under the Category – “The experienced” or in other words “The object” and I come under the category “The experiencer” or “The subject”.

Now, start the reflective temper by dismissing the object and the subject only remains. In this world I interact with persons and I clearly say that “I am not like this person; I am not like these group of persons; I am not this animal; I am not this; I am not that, I won’t be like that, I am different etc.”….and the list goes on. This way you go on dismissing everything that you experience as an object different from you and finally dismissing the world itself as an object. This is the first level of reflection. The next level is to look at yourselves, since you ruled out the world.

I am not the world that I experience ; but then who am I ? To my limited knowledge, there cannot be any other question other than this simple question which evoked such a vast, deep and wide analysis of the individual experiences by the Saints & Philosophers of Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma. One lifetime to understand the material available may not be adequate. Yet from this ocean of information and knowledge I will venture out and reproduce what is quoted in the basic source book on Vedanta “Tattva Bodha”.

स्थूलसूक्ष्मकारणशरीराद्व्यतिरिक्तः पञ्चकोशातीतः सन् अवस्थात्रयसाक्षी सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः सन् यस्तिष्ठति स आत्मा ।

‘I’ (addressed as Atma) am the one who is distinctly different from the gross, subtle and causal bodies; who is beyond the five layers (kośas); who abides as the self-evident witness to the three states of experience (of the nature of existence/awake-awareness/dream-fullness/deep sleep).

Vedanta identifies the features of a human body-mind-intellect complex with three types of bodies, 5 types of sheaths/layers, 5 sense organs 5 action organs , the mind the intellect and the three states of the consciousness (viz, wake, dream and deep sleep). This means that the “Atma (“I”) ” is beyond all these 21 seamlessly integrated features of body-mind-intellect complex.

“I” am not the world; “I” am not the body, “I” am not the mind/intellect. If “I” am different from all these three; then “I” must be a conscious principle, because I am experiencing them.

Thus the entire object or anātmā consists of three factors, the world, the body and the mind; and “I”, the ātmā, the observer consists of the consciousness principle called chaitanyam. This is the fundamental concept that we are trying to grapple with in Vedanta

At this stage I am again reminded of this excellent poem “Master Piece” by “Author Anonymous” which I posted in my blog on June 12, 2020 (Masterpiece – Prabhu’s Ponder (prabhusponder.com)).  It simply moved me – what deep understanding of the subject and what an expression! The author wanted to remain Anonymous and clearly stated that “spirituality decreases when it is attributed to a person. I was but a scribe.”

This master piece is what “I” am and can only be experienced rather than be defined.

Now in the first Sloka, the subject matter is: What is the relationship between I, the consciousness principle, and the entire universe; the inert matter. What is the relationship between I the ātmā, the consciousness principle, and the world, the inert principle called anātmā.

So अत्मअनात्म सम्भन्दः atma-anātma sambhandaḥ “ஆன்மாவும் அண்டமும்” “Jivatma and the Jagat” is the subject matter of the first verse; and Sankaracharya beautifully explains this with the help of two examples of mirror and dream, about which we will see in the coming blogs.

CAUTION 1:

Throughout the blogs, you will see fair mix of words in Sanskrit and Tamil. Wherever possible, I will try to use the transliterated/ words with verbatim letters in English for easy understanding based on my elementary knowledge.

CAUTION 2

As each Sloka brings out the essence of Vedanta, it is necessary that some basic concepts of the Vedanta is discussed first before dwelling into the Sloka. As such there will be introductory blogs which will cover the concepts before taking up the Sloka and its meaning. With my limited understanding I will try and make these conceptual blogs simple through day to day examples. If you find them too elementary, please bear with my ignorance. It will turn out that we may need a minimum of 4-5 blogs to cover each Sloka. Get ready for a long haul.

Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Dhyana Slokas

Sri. Dakshinamurthy

Sloka 1

मौनव्याख्या प्रकटित परब्रह्मतत्त्वं युवानं
वर्षिष्ठांते वसद् ऋषिगणैः आवृतं ब्रह्मनिष्ठैः ।
आचार्येन्द्रं करकलित चिन्मुद्रमानंदमूर्तिं
स्वात्मारामं मुदितवदनं दक्षिणामूर्तिमीडे ॥१॥

Mauna-Vyaakhyaa Prakattita Para-Brahma-Tattvam Yuvaanam
Varssisstthaam-Te Vasad Rssigannaih Aavrtam Brahma-Nisstthaih |
Aacaarye[a-I]ndram Kara-Kalita Cin-Mudram-Aananda-Muurtim
Sva-[A]ātmaaraamam Mudita-Vadanam Dakssinnaamuurti-Miidde||1||

பரம்பொருளின் தத்துவ உரை விதிதம் ஆழ்மௌனம்

வித்தக முதிர்ஞானியர் இடையமர் இளமை வடிவம்

ஆசானுக்கு ஆசானாம்  ஆதியும் முதலும்

ஞான முத்திரை காட்டும் கரமுடை பேரின்ப வடிவம்

அகமகிழும் புன்னகை நிறை அழகு வதனம்

பணிவோம் தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி  பொற்பாதம்

Salutations to Dakṣiṇāmurty whose exposition through profound silence is awakening the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman in the hearts of His disciples; who is Himself youthful but is sitting surrounded by old and great sages who are devoted to Brahman. The hands of the Supreme Spiritual Teacher form the Cin-Mudra. His appearance is still and blissful and who rejoices in His own Self which is reflected on his blissful face

Sloka 2

वटविटपिसमीपेभूमिभागे निषण्णं
सकलमुनिजनानां ज्ञानदातारमारात् ।
त्रिभुवनगुरुमीशं दक्षिणामूर्तिदेवं
जननमरणदुःखच्छेद दक्षं नमामि ॥२॥

Vatta-Vittapi-Samiipe-Bhuumi-Bhaage Nissannnnam

Sakala-Muni-Janaanaam Jnyaana-Daataaram-Aaraat |

Tri-Bhuvana-Gurum-Iisham Dakssinnaamuurti-Devam

Janana-Maranna-Duhkhac-Cheda Dakssam Namaami ||2||

கிளைமிகு ஆலத்தரு அருகில் நிலத்தலம் அமர்

வித்தக முனியோரின் ஞானமருள் போதகன்

மூவுலக ஆசான் ஜனன மரண துக்கம் அறு வல்லுநன்

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

Sitting on the ground near the banyan tree (Vata) were all Munis (Sages), who were (sitting) near to the bestower of knowledge. They were (sitting) near to the Guru of the three worlds, the Lord Himself, personified as Dakshinamurthy Deva; near to the one, expert in severing the sorrows resulting from the cycles of births and deaths; I bow to that Dakshinamurthy.

Sloka 3

चित्रं वटतरोर्मूले वृद्धाः शिष्या गुरुर्युवा ।

गुरोस्तु मौनं व्याख्यानं शिष्यास्तुच्छिन्नसंशयाः ॥३॥

Citram Vatta-Taror-Muule Vrddhaah Shissyaa Gurur-Yuvaa |

Guros-Tu Maunam Vyaakhyaanam Shissyaas-Tuc-Chinna-Samshayaah ||3||

வேரூன்றிய ஆலத்தரு அடியில்

வயதுமுதிர் ஞானிய சீடர்தம் நடுவே

இளமை நிறை ஆசான் மோன வழியே

சீடர்தம் ஐயம் தீர்க்கும் சித்தாந்த விதிதம்

விந்தைமிகு காட்சி அன்றோ இது

It is indeed a strange picture to behold; At the root (i.e. base) of a banyan tree (Vata) are seated old disciples (i.e. aged disciples) in front of an young Guru, The Guru is silent, and silence is His exposition (of the highest knowledge); and that (silence) is severing the doubts (automatically) from the minds of the disciples.

Sloka 4

निधये सर्वविद्यानां भिषजे भवरोगिणाम् ।

गुरवे सर्वलोकानां दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः ॥४॥

Nidhaye Sarva-Vidyaanaam Bhissaje Bhava-Roginnaam |

Gurave Sarva-Lokaanaam Dakssinnaamuurtaye Namah ||4||

சகல கல்விக் களஞ்சியமாய்

பிறவிப் பிணி தீர் மருந்தாய்

சகல உலக ஆசானாய் நிறை

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

(Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy) who is a receptacle to all Knowledge, who is a Medicine to all the diseases of Worldly bondage, who is a Guru to all the Worlds; Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy

Sloka 5

ॐ नमः प्रणवार्थाय शुद्धज्ञानैकमूर्तये ।

निर्मलाय प्रशान्ताय दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः ॥५॥

Om Namah Prannava-Arthaaya Shuddha-Jnyaanai[a-E]ka-Muurtaye |

Nirmalaaya Prashaantaaya Dakssinnaamuurtaye Namah ||5||

ஓங்காரப் பிரணவ மந்திரத்தின் உட்பொருளாய்

மாசிலா தூய ஒருமை நல்லறிவின் உள்வடிவாய்

கரையிலா சுத்த அமைதிநிறை ஆண்டவனாம்

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

Salutations to the embodiment of Pranava (Om), Salutations to the personification of the pure, non-dual knowledge, Salutations to the pure and stainless, and Salutations to the tranquil; Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy.

Sloka 6

चिद्घनाय महेशाय वटमूलनिवासिने ।

सच्चिदानन्दरूपाय दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः ॥६॥

Cid-Ghanaaya Mahe[aa-Ii]shaaya Vatta-Muula-Nivaasine |

Sac-Cid-Aananda-Ruupaaya Dakssinnaamuurtaye Namah ||6||

ஆத்மாவின் திடவடிவான இறைக்கு இறையோனை

ஆலத்தருவேரடி அமர்ந்த ஆதிபோதகனை

பேரின்பப் பரம்பொருளின் வடிவ

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்.

(Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy) Salutations to the one who is (as if) Consciousness solidified, Salutations to the Mahesha (the Great God), Salutations to the one who dwell at the root (i.e. base) of the banyan tree (Vata), Salutations to the embodiment of Sacchidananda (Existence, Consciousness, Bliss); Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy.

Sloka 7

ईश्वरो गुरुरात्मेति मूर्तिभेदविभागिने ।

व्योमवद् व्याप्तदेहाय दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः ॥७॥

Iishvaro Gurur-Aatme[a-I]ti Muurti-Bheda-Vibhaagine |

Vyoma-Vad Vyaapta-Dehaaya Dakssinnaamuurtaye Namah ||7||

ஆத்மா ஆசான் ஆண்டவன் எனும் மூவடிவாய்

ஆகாயமென நீக்கமற பரவி நிறைந்திடும்

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

“Ishwara – Guru – Atman”; (underlying) these different forms of (apparent) separation like a sky (i.e. spiritual sky or Chidakasha) who pervades, Salutations to that Dakshinamurthy.

Plan for the month of May 2021

Starting from April 30, 2021 we will try and understand the first Sloka of Dakshinamurthy Stothram through 5 blogs, each spaced at one week from the other.

DAKSHINAMURTHY

The Universal Guru:

Dakṣiṇāmurty is regarded as an aspect of Siva, as the universal teacher. He is the young and radiant Adi-Guru, Para-Guru, the Supreme 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.

The Banyan Tree:

The banyan tree (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 the Sanskrit root “vat” means: to expand, to surround and to encompass). It is meant to suggest that Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty 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).

The Iconography:

The iconographic descriptions of Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty are not uniform. In addition, there are several versions of his aspects and attributes. The following, in brief, is a summary position of Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty- iconography.

Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty is depicted as a young person with serene, tranquil and pleasing countenance; seated in a secluded spot in the Himalayas, under a banyan tree, upon a throne or a rock or an elevated platform covered with tiger-skin or deer-skin. Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty who is is always depicted singly.

He is usually depicted with four arms. In his upper right hand, he holds a rosary (aksha-maala) in kapittha-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. The damaru, 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. The snake coiling around the damaru, symbolizes Kaala (time); it could either be the beginning or the end of time. 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 is depicted in a number of ways; and, the position of its palm, its fingers/gesture often defines the nature of a particular form of Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty.  The lower-right-hand:

  • either gestures grace (his anugraha aspect) or assurance (abhaya-mudra); or
  • gestures jnana-mudra (thumb and middle/index finger meet each other and touch the  heart  (jnana  mudram hrdi sthane); or
  • it faces inwards (abhyantara mukham karma) as in the temple at Ilambyankottur (conveying that knowledge comes from within); or
  • is held 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
  • is held in Vykhyana-mudra (similar to chin-mudra)- but, facing the viewer as if imparting a teaching, while seated in a relaxed position; and so on

The Posture:

Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty is most usually depicted in a seated posture; and at times in standing, 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–puruṣaḥ : representing ignorance and delusion). 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.

The Hair and Decorations:

His luxuriant hair of matted locks (jatabhara, jatabhandha, jatamandala or jatamakuta), said to represent his sthithi (preservation) aspect, is adorned and enriched with jewelry, the crescent moon, a snake and bunches of wild flowers such as durdhura (dhatura). The mass of the jatas is either disheveled or held together by a snake or a band (patta-bandha); and, is 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 – belonging to Solanaceae family) 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 Dakṣiṇāmurty 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 Complexion and the dress code

The nature of Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty is sattva, pure, blissful, bright and serene (shantha). His complexion is radiant like a clear crystal (shuddha spatikopama); or the pure silvery white pearl (spatika-rajatha-varna mauktikeem); 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 self (bhava shuddha). His countenance is free from even the slightest 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 of his toes (padagre drhsti patam). His eyes must be slightly open (kimchid unmiltair netraih), as in contemplation (yoga dhyana-anusarinam). He is dressed in white upper garments (sittottariya) and yajnopavita (sita-upavita). His lower garment is of tiger skin (vyagra charmambara) or silk (divyambara) , held in place by a serpent.

The Surroundings:

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 Angoras. The Kamikagama mentions seven Rishis : Kaushika, Kashyapa, Bharadwaja, Atri, Gautama and two others. And, the Amsumad-bhedagama mentions seven Rishis as Narada, Vashista, Jamadagni, Bhrighu, Bharadwaja, Sanaka, and Agasthya. The texts also mention that the number of sages depicted could either be one , two or even three (esham ekam dvayam vapi trayam vaparsvayor nyaseth). 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.

Significance of the name:

Let us now dwell on the name. Why is he called Dakṣiṇāmurty? It is mentioned repeatedly that he is called Dakṣiṇāmurty because he is facing south and also because the deity is placed in the southern quarter of the temple. Some say that the name of the deity may have been derived because of this practice. However, there are few other explanations too.

  • Yama, the Lord of Death, is in the southern direction. Usually this is considered inauspicious, for example, we are not advised to do Achamanam, japam or any mangala kaaryam facing south. Some people do not even sit facing south while eating. Since Yama, being the Lord of death is a dreaded one, Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty who liberates one from eternal death, saṃsāraḥ., is actually face-to-face with Death, challenging him. In other words, Jnana is the panacea for saṃsāraḥ., death. He who gains Jnana is never afraid of death. Death is kAla, and Shiva, Jnana, is kAla-kAla, or Shiva deals Death to that very Death. To signify this we have Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty facing south.
  • The south-orientation of Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty appears to be based on the notion that he is seated in the Himalayas looking towards the land-mass where the aspirants reside; that is towards south.
  • Another way of understanding it is; Suta –samhita describes the five faces or five aspects of Shiva which are turned towards four cardinal directions and the space above, as: on the West: Sadyojata (representing earth, and pervading ego); on the North: Vamadeva (water and manas); on the South: Aghora (fire and Buddhi); on the East: Tatpuruṣaḥ  (air and maya); and above all: Isana (akasha and soul). The South face of Shiva is Aghora. Aghora the benevolent is predominantly of sattva nature with minimal of rajas and tamas. It is a state of pure being and energy. It is pure knowledge (para-vidya); and, Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty represents that knowledge. Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty who corresponds to Aghora the south aspect of Shiva is therefore represented facing south.
  • The great seer Sri Ramana Maharishi who perhaps is closest to Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty in his ideals and in his teaching methods, explained the term as Dakshina + Amurthy, meaning a formless entity, one which is capable but is without form. Dakshina refers to He, who is competent to create, sustain, and dissolve this Universe; and, who, however, in reality, in his Absolute state, is A-murthy i.e. formless.
  • He is called Dakṣiṇāmurty because of his boundless compassion (Dakshinya) towards all creation. Dakshina , it is said , also means favourable (anukula ) to the devotee. Dakshina is also interpreted as grace. Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty is regarded the very embodiment of grace. It is explained that ‘grace’ (anugraha) is an act of unbound compassion releasing the individual from the coils of saṃsāraḥ.. As Guru, he is the sublime ideal of spiritual wisdom adorned with grace towards all aspirants. And, only through his grace can one attain liberation.
  • The term ‘daksha’ denotes one who is capable, skilful or an expert. Daksha also signifies the intelligent or competent. Dakṣiṇāmurty is the Daksha, the Master in music, arts and in all that is accomplished artistically; an exponent, an authority on scriptural learning; an adept in Tantra-vidya; a supreme Yogi; and, a teacher beyond compare who teaches the true knowledge that liberates.

Reference: Mr. Sreenivasa Rao’s Blogs – https://sreenivasaraos.com/