Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Dakshina Mean?

Dakshina is a Sanskrit term that refers to an offering or gift, typically to a guru or priest. The word comes from the Sanskrit, da, meaning “offering” or “giving”; kshi, meaning “to abide” or “to dwell in”; and na, meaning “knowledge.” The dakshina is considered a duty, or dharma, and is part of the universe's cycle of giving and receiving.

Dakshina is also a Hindu goddess who personifies the concept of giving. In some Hindu traditions, she is an avatar of Lakshmi, blessing those who are charitable.


Yogapedia Explains Dakshina

Dakshina can also be translated as “south” or “southern path.” As such, it relates to Dakshinayana, or the time of year when the sun takes a southern route, beginning with the summer solstice. For that reason, June 21 is celebrated as International Yoga Day.

Despite the changes in lifestyles in India, the practice of dakshina, which dates back thousands of years, is still revered. Traditionally in Vedic culture, dakshina referred to payment to a priest for services. Payment usually was in the form of a cow. Today, dakshina consist of services, cash or food. When the dakshina is made to a guru from a student, it is known as guru dakshina. It is a way of acknowledging the guru and showing respect, particularly after completing formal education.

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