Dakshinamurty Jnana 05
Sri Dakshinamurty Jnana Prabodhini – 3

When Dakshinamurty himself, who is the lord who confers Brahmagyanam on the devotees and puts an end to his cycle of births and rebirths; pronounces the Pranava (OM) as the taraka in the ears of the dying people in kasha, where does the question of his birth arise?

Lord Dakshinamurty the lord of Kashi (Varanasi)

Lord Shiva in Kashi is known as ‘Vishwanatha’ or ‘Vishweswara’ and that linga is a ‘jyotirlinga’. It is not popularly known by any other name. However if we study the Linga carefully we would understand a divine secret.

A linga has its faces turned in all directions because Lord Shiva is ‘sarvatomukha’ (one whose face is turned in all directions). However, every Shiva temple has its linga installed in some particular direction. It is difficult to identify which direction a Linga looks at by looking at the linga itself. There is a simplest way to know that which is – look at the direction the bull Nandi is turned towards. Then the very opposite direction Lord Shiva is supposed to be looking at because nandi always remains facing the lord.

With this logic if we study the Vishwanatha Linga, the bull Nandi remains turned towards the Northern direction. What does it imply? It reveals us the greatest ecret that Lord Vishwanatha’s Linga in Kashi is turned towards South. This means, Kashi-Vishwanatha Linga is Dakshinamurty linga alone because, Dakshinamurty is the lord whose face is turned southwards.

This is probably the reason why Kashi is called ‘Moksha-Bhoomi’ and it is said that one who dies at Kashi never returns to this world again. When Dakshinamurty himself, who is the lord who confers Brahmagyanam on the devotees and puts an end to his cycle of births and rebirths; pronounces the Pranava (OM) as the taraka in the ears of the dying people in kasha, where does the question of his birth arise?

That’s the grandeur of my lord Dakshinamurty who is the Vishwanatha in Kashi. Therefore, Kashi can be considered as the biggest shrine / temple of Sri Dakshinamurty.

Dakshinamurty or Sharada – Whom should you worship?

Well, some scriptures say resort to Dakshinamurty for gaining knowledge; and many other scriptures portray goddess Saraswati as the goddess of learning. Why two deities for same purpose? Whom should we approach? These kinds of questions are not uncommon in the minds of the amateur spiritual seekers. Let’s see what they are.

The dhyAna shlOka from shruti which describe the appearance of lord Sri Dakshinamurty states the following about him. He holds a book, a vessel of nectar, a rosary of letters (akshamala), and chinmudra. His appearance is pure white / crystal color, and adorns a crescent moon on his head.

“sphaTikarajatavarNaM mauktikiimakshamaalaa- mamR^itakalashavidyaa.n j~naanamudraa.n karaagre |

dadhatamuragakakshya.n chandrachuuDa.n trinetraM vidhR^itavividhabhuushha.n dakshiNaamuurtimiiDe |” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 3)

“I adore the three-eyed, moon-crested Dakshinâmûrti who is of pebble and silver colour, holding in the hands a rosary of pearls, a vessel of nectar, a book and the symbol of wisdom; having a serpent for his girdle, and putting on various ornaments”.

Now, this is what is exactly depicted in the form of Sharadamba of Sringeri Sharada Peetham, where the Sharadambika holds a rosary, a book, a vessel of nectar, and displays chinmudra. She has crystal / white complexion and wears a crescent moon on her crown.

In another depiction of Saraswati also, she is shown holding a Veena in place of chinmudra and vessel of nectar; rest other things remain same. So, what, even Dakshinamurty has a form ‘Medha Dakshinamurty’ who holds exactly the same Veena and has an identical form.

This should erase all dualities from the minds of the readers. The same lord Dakshinamurty when visualized as a goddess, he is portrayed as Sharadamba. It is up to the devotion and inclination of the devotee to choose either of the forms for seeking knowledge. Means are two, but destination is same.

The best evidence is Vedas itself to understand that all forms are the forms of Bhagawan Rudra alone.

“tvamaghne aditirdeva dāśuṣe tvaṃ hotrā bhāratī vardhaseghirā | tvamiḷā ṣatahimāsi dakṣase tvaṃ vṛtrahā vasupate sarasvatī |” (Rig Veda 2:1:11)

“Thou, God [Agni], art Aditi to him who offers gifts: thou, Hotrā, Bhāratī, art strengthened by the song. Thou art the hundred-wintered Iḷā to give strength, Lord of Wealth! Vṛtra-slayer and Sarasvatī”.

The above verse proves that Saraswati is a form of Agni. Never mind! There is no need to get confused, because Agni is verily the name of Rudra in Vedas as attested by Yajurveda (V:5:7) which says, “rudro vA esHa yad agnis |”, meaning, “He who is called as Agni is verily Rudra”. This makes all duality to cease; hence Saraswati is Lord Rudra alone in the form of a mother.

The three in one God

The form of Dakshinamurty of bhagawan Rudra is a three in one form. He is the father being a male god. He is the mother also because his left side is reserved for goddess Uma who is our mother, due to which he wears a tATankaM (ear ring worn by femals) on his left ear. He is a Guru being the the god who bestows us knowledge.

Therefore he is one god who singly receives the prostrations offered while uttering the following mantras.

“mAtrudEvO bhava” (Mother is verily the god

“pitru dEvO bhava” (Father is verily the god)

“AchArya dEvO bhava” (Guru is verily the god)

Sri Dakshinamurty Varnamala Stotram

The great Adi Shankaracharya who was a master in poetry, composed numerous hymns on Lord Shiva; out of which there is a great hymn on Dakshinamurty called as “Sri Dakshinamurty Varnamala Stotram”. The specialty if this hymn is that, when we join the initials of each paragraph, it forms the Dakshinamurty mantra which is described in the below verse from Upanishad.

“AUM aadau nama uchchaarya tato bhagavate padam.h | dakshiNeti padaM pashchaanmuurtaye padamuddharet.h | asmachchhabda.n chaturthyantaM medhaaM praj~naaM pada.n vadet.h | samuchchaarya tato vaayubiija.n chchha.n cha tataH paThet.h | agnijaayaa.n tatastveshha chaturvi.nshaaksharo manuH |” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 2)

“First Mantra of 24 letters: After telling “om”, tell “Namo” and then “Bhagavathe Dakshinamurthaye”, then the fourth form of “asmad” viz “Mahyam”, then “medham Pragnam”, then the root of wind “ya”, added with “chcha”, followed by the name of wife of fire God “swaha”. This is the mantra with 24 letters. That is “Om Namo Bhagwathe Dakshinamurthaye Mahyam, Medham Pragnam Prayacha Swaha!”

One who receives the above mantra from his Guru and chants the same, and who reads the below hymn composed by Adi Shankara; both these men become the receiver of equal merit.

Sri Dakshinamurty Stotram

[Composed by: Sri Adi SHankaracharya]

[Translated into English by: Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula]

ommityetadyasya budhairnāma gṛhītaṁ

yadbhāsedaṁ bhāti samastaṁ viyadādi |

yasyājñātaḥ svasvapadasthā vidhimukhyā-

staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 1||

“It is OM” – this is how [the wise seers] have strived and understood [him]

By whose effulgence everything else shines

By whose command Brahma and other main gods stand in their respective posts

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to.

namrāṅgāṇāṁ bhaktimatāṁ yaḥ puruṣārthā-

ndatvā kṣipraṁ hanti ca tatsarvavipattīḥ |


taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 2||

Whosoever prostrates [before him] and attaches himself with devotion for the human pursuits

Having fulfilled [the desired fruitition, He] immediately destroys every misfortune or calamity [of the devotee’s life]

He the Lord, who [presses] the demon Apasmriti (forgetfulness) under his lotus like foot

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

mohadhvastyai vaiṇikavaiyāsikimukhyāḥ

saṁvinmudrāpustakavīṇākṣaguṇānyam |


staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 3||

For the destruction of delusion the Veena player (Narada), the son of Vyasa (Suka) and other primary ones worship [him]

Who displays the gesture of knowledge [with his fingers], and supports the Book (Vedas), the Veena, and the Akshamala, By his lotus like hands

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

bhadrārūḍhaṁ bhadradamārādhayitṛṇāṁ

bhaktiśraddhāpūrvakamīśaṁ praṇamanti |

ādityā yaṁ vāñchitasiddhyai karuṇābdhiṁ

taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 4||

The lord who is graciously seated who grants auspiciousness

To whom they pay obeisances  with devotion and belief

He who is an ocean of compassion and who readily fulfills the cherished desires of progeny of Aditi (Aditya)

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

garbhāntaḥsthāḥ prāṇina ete bhavapāśa-

cchede dakṣaṁ niścitavantaḥ śaraṇaṁ yam |


taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 5||

Staying within the womb [cycle of births and deaths], those creatures who,

After having fully ascertained, take refuge of that lord who is the expert in shattering the noose of the worldly existence

And worship the glittering lotus like pair of feet

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

vaktraṁ dhanyāḥ saṁsṛtivārdheratimātrā-

dbhītāḥ santaḥ pūrṇaśaśāṅkadyuti yasya |

sevente’dhyāsīnamanantaṁ vaṭamūlaṁ

taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 6||

The ascetics, afraid of excessive increase in passage through successive states of re-births, worship whose blessed face

Which shines with the radiance of a full moon

The infinite lord who is seated at the foot of the banyan tree

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to


nmāṇikyotthairbhāsitaviśvo rucirairyaḥ |

tejomūrtiṁ khānilatejaḥpramukhābdhiṁ

taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 7||

He from whose body emanates the mass of brilliance which assembles and shines

As like as the radiance arising from rubies and whose pleasant light shines the universe

That same embodiment of light which remains under the great ocean as the house breaking fire (world destroying badavAgni)

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to


tyaktvā kāṅkṣā karmaphaleṣvatra karoti |

yajjijñāsāṁ rūpaphalārthī kṣitideva-

staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 8||

Abandoning all the karmas with curd and other ingredients

And also discarding all the karma-phalas (fruits of karma) here

The wisdom seekers (sages) resort to that god who is the lord of all abodes (or that lord who dissolves all the abodes)

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

kṣipraṁ loke yaṁ bhajamānaḥ pṛthupuṇyaḥ

pradhvastādhiḥ projjhitasaṁsṛtyakhilārtiḥ |

pratyagbhūtaṁ brahma paraṁ sanramate ya-

staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 9||

By worshipping whom in the world one with abundant virtues, speedily

Finds all his [worldly] pains or the pain of transmigration getting disappeared

That lord of mountains, the Supreme Brahman who pervades every creature as the indwelling Atman and enjoys being present as their self

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

ṇānetyevaṁ yanmanumadhyasthitavarṇā-

nbhaktāḥ kāle varṇagṛhītyai prajapantaḥ |

modante saṁprāptasamastaśrutitantrā-

staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 10||

Reciting na-na etc., syllables which are established in the middle [of the Dakshinamurty mantra?] whichever type of

Devotees [chant] in time grasping the same

Attain happiness obtaining [the knowledge hidden in] all Vedas and Tantra scriptures

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to


prāleyāmbhorāśisudhābhūtisurebhā |

yasyābhrābhā hāsavidhau dakṣaśirodhi-

staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 11||

That lord whose complexion vanquishes the [beauty of ] river Ganga, jasmine flower,

snow, ocean, nectar, ashes and celestial elephant (Airavata)

Whose aura is skillful in overcoming [anything else] in a laughing manner

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to


prodyadvīcīvallivirājatsurasindhum |

nityaṁ sūkṣmaṁ nityanirastākhiladoṣaṁ

taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 12||

[That lord] whose mound of matted locks shines with the resplendence of gold

[Resembling] the shining tides of waves of the celestial river Ganga

Who is eternal, subtle and is devoid of all faults

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

yena jñātenaiva samastaṁ viditaṁ syā-

dyasmādanyadvastu jagatyāṁ śaśaśṛṅgam |

yaṁ prāptānāṁ nāsti paraṁ prāpyamanādiṁ

taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 13||

By knowing whom indeed everything becomes known

Other than whom anything [if assumed to exist in this universe] is like [believing the existence] of rabbit’s horns

For them who obtained him, who has no origin for himself, there exist nothing superior to be obtained

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

matto māro yasya lalāṭākṣibhavāgni-

sphūrjatkīlaproṣitabhasmīkṛtadehaḥ |

tadbhasmāsīdyasya sujātaḥ paṭavāsa-

staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 14||

The fire of the third eye which exists on the forehead,

burst forth into a lambent flame and destroyed him [god of love] who was excited [with passion and pride] by incinerating his body into ashes

And thus those ashes became a garment of excellent kind for the Lord

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

hyambhorāśau saṁsṛtirūpe luṭhatāṁ ta-

tpāraṁ gantuṁ yatpadabhaktirdṛḍhanaukā |

sarvārādhyaṁ sarvagamānandapayonidhiṁ

taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 15||

People [drowning] in the ocean of transmigration (samsaara) lowing with pain

In order to reach the other side of the shore (which denotes liberation) [mount] with devotion, on that rigid boat

Who is the all pervading lord, who is an ocean of bliss, who is worthy of being worshipped by all

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

medhāvī syādinduvataṁsaṁ dhṛtavīṇaṁ

karpūrābhaṁ pustakahastaṁ kamalākṣam |

citte dhyāyanyasya vapurdrāṅnimiṣārdhaṁ

taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 16||

One would become erudite man who, on that lord who wears a ring shaped moon as ornament, who holds a Veena

Who is resplendant like camphor, who holds a book, and is lotus eyed God

Meditates in the mind even for half the time which is taken in twinkling one’s eye

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

dhāmnāṁ dhāma prauḍharucīnāṁ paramaṁ ya-

tsūryādīnāṁ yasya sa heturjagadādeḥ |

etāvānyo yasya na sarveśvaramīḍyaṁ

taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 17||

The abode of abodes (or radiance of all radiances or glory of all glories), who has a full grown splendor, who is Supreme

Who is the cause of Sun and others (gods), who is the cause of the universe and others (creatures) in the beginning,

There doesn’t exist another one who is so great (as great as) as this  lord of all

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to


rbhaktairdāntaiḥ saṁyatacittairyatamānaiḥ |

svātmatvena jñāyata eva tvarayā ya-

staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 18||

For yogis who are capable of withdrawal of their senses, control of the breath

For devotees who are of restrained senses, and controlled mind with the purpose of [knowing the lord]

Who reveals himself to them swiftly, as being their very own self

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

jñāṁśībhūtānprāṇina etānphaladātā

cittāntaḥsthaḥ prerayati sve sakale’pi |

kṛtye devaḥ prāktanakarmānusaraḥ saṁ-

staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 19||

For living beings having knowledge, he is the giver of frutition of their deeds

Again it is he, the Lord, who residing in the heart of all beings, stimulates them [from within] to all actions

Following the past deeds (karmas)

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

prajñāmātraṁ prāpitasaṁbinnijabhaktaṁ

prāṇākṣādeḥ prerayitāraṁ praṇavārtham |

prāhuḥ prājñā viditānuśravatattvā-

staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 20||

He who is the supreme knowledge alone, who causes his own devotees to attain the supreme realization,

Who approaches them (or draws them near) and stimulates them by [teaching] the meaning of prANava (OM)

Those seers of divine knowledge, having known him [to be so], have declared him as the essence (or truth) of the Vedas

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

yasyāṁjñānādeva nṛṇāṁ saṁsṛtibodho

yasya jñānādeva vimokṣo bhavatīti |

spaṣṭaṁ brūte vedaśiro deśikamādyaṁ

taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 21||

By not knowing whom, indeed, there exists the experience of repeated births and deaths

By the knowledge of whom, indeed, one becomes liberated

This clearly proclaimed by the crest of the Vedas, about this foremost spiritual preceptor

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

channe’vidyārūpapaṭenaiva ca viśvaṁ

yatrādhyastaṁ jīvapareśatvamapīdam |


taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 22||

And, indeed, as if the universe is blanketed secretly by a cloth of ignorance (avidya)

Where an individual looks [apparantly] placed different from the state of the supreme lord

Like the Sun and its own reflections in waters, differences cease to exist [after knowing him]

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

svāpasvapnau jāgradavasthāpi na yatra

prāṇaśvetaḥ sarvagato yaḥ sakalātmā |

kūṭastho yaḥ kevalasaccitsukharūpa-

staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 23||

Where the states of, sleep (sushupti), dream (swapna) and wakeful (jagrut) also do not exist

Who pervades all the prAna and mind, who is the self (Atman) of all

That Supreme Soul, who alone is of the nature of being, conciousness and bliss

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

hetyevaṁ vismayamīyurmunimukhyā

jñāte yasminsvātmatayānātmavimohaḥ |

pratyagbhūte brahmaṇi yātaḥ kathamitthaṁ

taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 24||

Oh! Oh! Thus, indeed, the best of the sages spoke in wonder

On knowing whom as their own self, they got disillusioned about the non-self

How is that Brahman entered into every being? [They thought about that lord who is such]

That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

yaiṣā ramyairmattamayūrābhidhavṛttai-

rādau klṛptā yanmanuvarṇairmunibhaṅgī |

tāmevaitāṁ dakṣiṇavaktraḥ kṛpayāsā-

vūrīkuryāddeśikasamrāṭ paramātmā || 25||

Who by his enchanting meter ‘matta-mayura (intoxicated peacock)’,

Produced all these in the beginning, with the alphabets (varNa), in the form of a sage

Let indeed all these, be bestowed, by his grace, by the southward facing God

Who is the crown or sovereign God, the supreme preceptor, the supreme self!

[Here ends the hymn composed by Adi Shankara on Dakshinamurty]

The article has been republished from author’s blog with permission.

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