A fine illustration of Lord Shiva as Dakshinamurti –
Now, as one can tell immediately by looking, this is a form of Shiva that is particularly prominent for knowledge-giving, insight and instruction. Hence we have one of the hands bearing a sheaf of sacred texts; and hence we also have the mala of beads with which various of the Mantras that He has bestowed are able to be practiced ; along with the hand in Vyakhyana Mudra – the posture of explication. The Fire, likewise, instructs and illuminates – and enables the pious engagement with the Gods in ritual flame.
Beneath His Right Foot, we find the figure of Apasmara – ‘Ignorance’. This is held at bay by Him, an element with obvious purport for the purveyance of insight. Yet, and I have always liked this detail – the figure is not destroyed, only ‘held at bay’ and subjugated. Why so? Because if there were no ‘ignorance’ in the world – there could be no ‘Wonder’. There would be too much information, and too difficult for us to make sense of, let alone accord its proper majesty.
Now up behind Him we find the Tree – and, just as we find inferentially in the Germanic sphere, it is just such a location for a Sage to be seated to bestow teaching. The great Hair of Mahadev being shaped akin to a ShivLing further emanates this ‘Axis Mundi’ point of connexion. As does His sitting station upon the Stone.
Seated in front of Him, we find four Sages (canonically these are often Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata). Even the greatest of Sages are blessed to be bestowed by His Teaching.
As applies the name – Dakshinamurti – there are several potential interpretations. The one that one often comes into contact with is the Lord of the South … more accurately, ‘The One Who Is Facing South’. And we are most definitely ‘Southern’ indeed.
We would also comment upon ‘Right’ and ‘Righteous’ conduct.
He Who Guides Us Upon The Righteous Path !
ॐ नमः शिवाय