Dakshinamurthy is one of
the well known iconic representaions of Shiva,
some of the others being Nataraja,
The south facing niche
(goshtam) of all Saivite sancta is adorned with an image of Dakshinamurthy,
to whom worship is offered. Many of the Saivite temple towers also depict images of
Dakshinamurthy facing the southern direction.
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
The iconic representation of
Dakshinamurthy represents Shiva, seated under a banyan tree (in silence) inspiring the
Dakshinamurthy is portrayed as being in
the yogic state of abstract meditation - and as a powerful form brimming with ever flowing
bliss and supreme joy.
Variations of this iconic representation
include Veenadhara Dakshinamurthy, Rishabharooda
The sanskrit slokas of Aadi Sankaracharya
extol the attributes of Dakshinamurthy.
The fifth day of the week, Thursday is
associated with the planet Jupiter and is referred to as Guru-Vaaram. It is on thursdays
that special worship services are offered to Dakshinamurthy in many Saivite temples. Some
temple traditions hold full moon nights, particularly the night of the Guru
Poornima as the appropriate time for worship services to Dakshinamurthy.
There are just a handful of temples where
there is a processional deity of Dakshinamurthy. It is only the stone carved images of
Dakshinamurthy that are seen in all Saivite temples. The
Vaikom Mahadevar temple in Kerala regards the deity enshrined in the form of
a Shivalingam as Dakshinamurthy.