Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 2 – Introduction – Part 2 – The Spider & The Creator

Mundaka Upanishad 1.1.7

We saw in the previous blog that Brahman/God, the one “which is invisible, inconceivable, without lineage, without any classifications (Varṇa), without eyes and ears, without hands and feet, and that which is eternal, all-pervasive, omnipresent, extremely subtle and undecaying” is the source of all beings. We also saw that we need an intelligent cause and a material cause for a creation. Now, we have a logical question that may arise in one’s mind to answer “How can this universe and physical beings come out from such an entity that is beyond physical attributes”?

In the two videos we saw how the spider creates a web. The Spider in-fact is a great teacher and a living example of the creation process adopted by God/Brahman/The Ultimate Reality. What does the spider teach about? It teaches about īśvaraḥ.

Spider is the intelligent cause behind the web; and most interestingly, spider never goes after any raw material; the raw material is found within itself. spider is nimittam and upādānam.

यथोर्णनाभिः सृजते गृह्णते च यथा पृथिव्यामोषधयः संभवन्ति |

यथा सतः पुरुषात् केशलोमानि तथाक्षरात्संभवतीह विश्वम् || 1.1.7 ||

yathā- as, just like; ūrṇanābhi- spider; sṛjate- emits;

gṛhṇate- take back; ca- and; pṛthivyām- on the earth;

oṣadhayaḥ- herbs; saṃbhavanti- spring up;

sataḥ puruṣāt – from living person; keśalomāni- hairs (on head and body); tathā- so, in that manner;

akṣarāt- from the imperishable; saṃbhavati- arises, happens; iha- here, this; viśvam- universe.

As a spider emits threads (and makes its web) and takes them back (at his will), as herbs spring up on earth and as hairs grow from living persons, so does the universe arise from the Imperishable (entity).

We must note that the spider is unaffected by the emission of thread and also outlives the thread; moreover, it also sustains the thread and also withdraws it at its will.

In the same way, Mundaka upanishad points out that Brahman the paramātma is the intelligent and the material cause of the universe and therefore, before creation, there was only non-dual Brahman, which served both as the intelligent cause as well as the raw material to produce the universe. And therefore, paramātma is said to be jagat abinna nimitta upādāna kāraṇam. And the world is the kāryam.

Whenever this subject of the Spider comes, my mind goes immediately to the Discourse by the legendary Sengalipuram Anantharama Dikshithar around the year 1960 at Matunga in Mumbai (I don’t know the exact year and date) while explaining the significance of Vishnu Sahasranama. Here is that rare audio clip. This is in Tamil. செங்காலிபுரம் அனந்தராம தீட்சிதர் உபன்யாசம்

Audio Link:

So, the Creator is the Ultimate Reality, “an undefinable something which is everything”. We call Him as GOD.

A doubt can arise in the mind of the seeker. “Ok. Understood that God is the Creator. How does He create the world? What materials does He use? How does He present his creation? Why is He creating?

Adi Sankaracharya answers these questions in Sloka 2 with two examples, which we will see in the next blog.

Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 2 – Introduction – Part 1- The Creator

The Creator

The Creator:

In all the Sanatana Dharma śāstrās, it is stated that God/Brahman/Ishwar/Paramatma known as the Ultimate Reality is the one and only cause of the universe. He is the Creator, the Maintainer and the Destroyer.

அகர முதல எழுத்தெல்லாம்

ஆதிபகவன் முதற்றே உலகு:

அவனின்றி ஓர் அணுவும் அசையாது.

Who is this Ultimate Reality? யார் அந்த “அவன் – ஆதி பகவன் ”?

Mundaka Upanishad defines this Ultimate Reality as

यत्तदद्रेश्यमग्राह्यमगोत्रमवर्णंमचक्षुःश्रोत्रं तदपाणिपादम् |

नित्यं विभुं सर्वगतं सुसूक्ष्मं तदव्ययं यद्भूतयोनिं परिपश्यन्ति धीराः || 1.1.6 ||

That which is invisible, inconceivable, without lineage, without any classifications (Varṇa), without eyes and ears, without hands and feet, and that which is eternal, all-pervasive, omnipresent, extremely subtle and undecaying” – that is what the wise behold as the source of all beings.

This essence is the first Sloka of Isavasya Upanishad too (isavasyam idam sarvam). You can get the details of the same at https://soundar53.substack.com/p/isavasya-upanisad-sloka-1-46e

Adi Sankaracharya says:
That omniscient and omnipotent source must be Brahman from which occur the birth, continuance and dissolution of this universe that is manifested through name and form, that is associated with diverse agents and experiences, that provides the support for actions and results, having well-regulated space, time and causation, and that deifies all thoughts about the real nature of its creation. (Brahma Sutra, I. 1 2)

Sanatana Dharma is perhaps the only one which gives such a clear perspective of this concept without calling any single individual as God.

The Basic requirements for Creation :

Let us try and understand some basic concepts in creation. The requirements for creation are as under:

1. The efficient cause (Nimitta Kaaran) whose activity makes something and whose inactivity does not make anything.

2. The material cause (Sadharan Kaaran) or the ‘raw material’ without which nothing can be made – Prakriti or Nature

3. The common cause (Upadan Kaaran) or the accessories helping in creation.

Efficient cause can be further divided into two:

a. Major efficient cause or the engineer or the master architect who creates, manages and destroys – Ishwar

b. Minor efficient cause or the user of the creation – Souls. Without it, the creation is purposeless.

Material cause or Nature is inert non-living and hence incapable of being organized or disorganized itself in a planned manner. It needs an organizer or efficient cause for that.

Common cause includes the time and space.

This is true for any creation that happens in world – by Ishwar or by us.

Now, the next logical question that may arise in one’s mind is “How can this universe and physical beings come out from such an entity that is beyond physical attributes”?

The web that answers:

For this we should watch two interesting videos (one by Mr. David Attenborough).

We will see what these amazing videos convey w.r.t our subject – the creator in our next blog

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.


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.


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