To the God of Knowledge - I pay my humble respects

As a child, I was taught to say Om, taught to light a lamp, taught to prostrate before the almighty and before elders, taught to worship Saraswathi and Dakshinamurthy, the Gods of knowledge and wisdom. As a child I was taught so many more things and luckily, with the science, purpose and significance behind each of these. When I sat down to pen an article for my blog, I decided that this one and next few should be towards sharing some of my experiences with interested folks. Hope it is a nice read. Here is the first one dedicated with lot of respect to Lord Dakshinamurthy, the Lord of Knowledge

“Guruve sarva lokanam,

bhishaje bhava roginam

nidhaya sarva vidyanam

sri dhakshina moorthaye namha”.

Oh Lord Dakshinamurthy, the eternal Guru, the treasury of knowledge, the destroyer of Agyana .. To you we pay our respects. Lord Shiva, the all pervading Lord has many forms. Rudra, Nataraja, Virabhadra, Bhairava and so on. One of the most important forms, as the Guru of yoga, music, shastras and Vedas is the Lord’s incarnation as Dakshinamurthy.

Lord Dakshinamurthy is commonly worshipped in the Southern part of India. Dakshinamurti literally means 'one who is facing south’. In every Siva temple the stone image of Dakshinamurthy is installed, facing south, on the southern circumambulatory path around the sanctum sanctorum. People in the Southern part of India generally see South as the direction of Death. When people die, their bodies are kept facing the southern direction. Wonder why this is a practice as I still remember my Paati asking me not to lie down facing the South. My interpretation for it is, perhaps, Knowledge is the only thing that is immortal and the only thing beyond the cycle of birth and death. The only thing that can face death and conquer it. Knowledge is all pervading and is the primordial reason for existence beyond the fulfillment of Maslow’s lower level needs. Well my interpretations apart.

Indian tradition accords a special reverence to the Guru or the teacher. Dakshinamurthy, in the Saivite system of beliefs is regarded as the ultimate Guru - the embodiment of knowledge and the destroyer of ignorance (as represented by the demon being crushed under the feet of the deity). The Jnana Mudra is interpreted in this way:- The thumb denotes the God and the index finger denotes the man. The other three fingers stand for the three congenital impurities of man viz. arrogance, illusion and bad deeds of the past births. When man detaches himself from these impurities, he reaches God. The Abhaya Mudra, a gesture with the hand lifted above thigh with palm facing out, fingers pointing, is interpreted as His grace upon His students. The rosary or the snake signifies Tantric knowledge. The fire represents illumination, removing the darkness of ignorance.

Indians have always seen knowledge to be sacred and divine. So has this form of Shiva been admired, looked up to and revered as the universal Guru. Anything to do with education and knowledge could be started on Thursday, as it is the auspicious day for the Guru. The day of the Jupiter is the day of silence, upavasa and search for knowledge. Any form of knowledge, be it Art, Science, Sports or Literature is the gift of Lord Dakshinamurthy to the mankind.

To him I pay my respects.

Guru Brahma Gurur Vishnu

Guru Devo Maheshwaraha

Guru Saakshat Para Brahma

Tasmai Sree Gurave Namaha


  1. Great Detail and Observation.I dint know Mudras in statues had such detail.Our Religion is full of profound gnanam.I thought mudras where just body language.a mere pose.
    South-Direction of heavy Magnetic aggrevation.

    An old maimi was upset when she asked what bike i rode after i dropped her at a temple (lift).it was a YAMAha :)

    1. Ha ha Rajesh.. thanks.. :-) And yeah there is more to mythology than it meets the eye :-)

  2. Very nice post :)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Compromise - A word we all hate to hear..

Moosina Muthyalu !!!

#3 - An ode to Kanmani and her Kalvan - Rahman's musical treat - Ok Kanmani