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.