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

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……