Dakshinamurti

Definition - What does Dakshinamurti mean?

Dakshinamurti is the name of the Hindu god, Shiva, as the supreme guru who imparts higher knowledge. The name comes from the Sanskrit, dakshina, meaning “southern” or “right”; and murti, meaning “incarnation,” “personification” or “image.” It is usually translated as “the one who faces south.”

In Hinduism, south represents death. It is not just physical death, but the death of ignorance and, therefore, represents change and transformation. Considered the ultimate guru, Dakshinamurti has dominion over death, offering immortality through self-knowledge, or atma-jnana.

Yogapedia explains Dakshinamurti

In the Shaivism branch of Hinduism, every temple has a statue or carving of Dakshinamurti that is facing south. According to Hindu mythology, Shiva used the path of yoga as a way out of the world of illusion. As Dakshinamurti, he is able to remove the veil of illusion and reveal the true nature of the universe, leading to moksha, or liberation from the recurring cycle of death and rebirth.

Finally, Dakshinamurti shares his knowledge silently through para vak, which is divine speech or transcendental sound “heard” through the inner ear.

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