Dakshinamurthy, is one of the five aspects of Shiva, the others being Nataraja, Shiva Linga, Ardhanaadheeshwara and Tripurantaka. He is the embodiment of spiritual wisdom, the universal teacher of music, yoga and jnana and the destroyer of ignorance. Dakshinamurthy literally means one who faces the south. The great seer Ramana Maharishi has interpreted the name as “Dakshina-amurty”, meaning one who is capable but without form. In every Saivite temple, Dakshinamurthy statues are installed facing the south in the circumambulatory path of the sanctum.

Dakshinamurthy is often depicted as being in the yogic state in ethereal silence transcending the truth of the Shastras with serene countenance. He is portrayed as having four hands, seated on deer/tiger skin under a Vata Vriksha (Banyan Tree), his right foot on Apasmara (a personification of ignorance) and his left foot on his lap. The Guru is surrounded by many Rishis acquiring the knowledge imparted by him. His teaching is through the subtlest form of speech – Para Vak (silence). His language of reticence dispels all spiritual turmoil and clears all hurdles in the path of Moksha.

The Dakshinsmurthy Ashtakam is one of the powerful Slokas composed by Guru Adi Shankara consecrated to this form of Lord Shiva. This Sloka is the gist of all philosophies indited by Adi Shankara.

The Dakshinamurthy gayatri is :

Aum Rishabath-vajaaya Vidmahe

Kruni-Hasthaya Dhimahee

Thanno Guru Prachodayath

The Dakshinamoorthy Gayathri mantra gives a person the ability to overcome obstacles in education, accumulation of wealth, and marriage.

The Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, is dedicated to Dakshinmurthy. The Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple in Kerala is another famous Dakshinamurthy shrine where the Lord is worshipped in the form of a Shivalingam. The Alangudi Temple in Kumbakonam Tamilnadu is also dedicated to Dakshinamurti.


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