Dakshinamurti is a term often met with in Shaivism and Shaivite iconography. Generally, the term Dakshinamurti is translated loosely as "the One facing south," but a more apt translation would be "Favorable Form." The term originally referred to the southern benevolent face of the Panchamukha (five-faced) Shiva Lingam. At the temple of Pashupatinath in Nepal, for example, the southern face of the Shiva Lingam is still called Dakshinamurti. Alternatively, any Linga icon facing southward may also be called Dakshinamurti. An example of this is the Mahakala Jyotirlingam in Ujjain.
Apart from these above rare usages, the term Dakshinamurti, now, is generally associated with specific anthropomorphic forms of Lord Shiva. In the Shaivite tradition, Dakshinamurti is not a singular iconographic form, but a class of forms, all of which are yoga murtis, wherein Shakti is not separately represented but is implicit within the representation of Shiva. While there are several Dakshinamurti forms, three are prominent:
1. Yoga Dakshinamurti - Shiva as the idyllic Himalayan Yogi in meditation.
2. Jnana or Vyakhyana Dakshinamurti - Shiva as the divine Teacher under a banyan tree.
3. Vinadhara Dakshinamurti - Shiva as the divine Teacher of music and arts, holding a lute.
Of these three, the Yoga Dakshinamurti is perhaps the most represented and recognized form of Shiva, and the Vinadhara Dakshinamurti is rarely seen. In common usage, however, when one says Dakshinamurti, the image that comes to mind is that of Jnana or Vyakhyana Dakshinamurti, the idyllic Teacher. It is to this form that the rest of the article is dedicated.
In the beginning, it is said, the Creator, Prajapati-Brahmā, Himself was born from the supreme Unborn Divine Being, Ishvara, who is called Shiva in Shaivism. The Creator was the firstborn being, and the Golden Germ (Hiranyagarbha) of all further creation.
In the beginning of creation did Brahmā, having worshipped Shiva,
Attain the power to create and was delighted at heart.
~ Dakshinamurti Upanishad (Mantra 20)
· 8 years ago