Skip to main content

Dakshinamurti form of Shiva

Shiva as Dakshinamurti is the teacher of yoga, music, all arts and sciences and holds the key to the knowledge of spiritual truths. As Dakshinamurthy, Lord Shiva is portrayed as the omniscient young master conveying supreme knowledge, with his right hand raised in the gesture of teaching in silence. Dakshinamurthi means ‘the south facing’ and is the ultimate Guru.

Ramana Maharshi has interpreted the name ‘Dakshina Murthy’ as one who is capable but without form.

Dakshinamurti is usually depicted as the four-armed deity seated in virasana on a pedestal – the Lord is seated in the 'heroic' posture, his left foot resting on the knee of the pendant right leg, his body straight as the stem of the tree. The right foot rests on a demon symbolically representing ignorance. His uppermost hand holds the flame and cobra or damaru (hour-glass drum). He is clad in a short dhoti and adorned with jewelry. His face is always with a benign expression with his hair framing his face.

A tree rising behind him and joined by worshipers, who are older than him, at his feet is a usual feature of Dakshinamurti idol.

One of the most famous Dakshinamurthi Temples in India is the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple in Kerala. There are also several temples in Tamil Nadu with Dakshinamurthy as the chief deity. Majority of the Shiva Temples also has Dakshinamurthi as a sub-deity.

Dakshinamurthy Stotra by Shankaracharya is a popular hymn dedicated to Shiva as Dakshinamurti.