Dakshinamurty Stotram: The Profoundest Work by Adi Shankara on the concept of Guru

An incarnation of Shiva, Lord Dakshinamurti is the supreme god of knowledge. Dakshinamurti is an aspect of Shiva as a guru of all types of knowledge, and also the bestower of jnana. This aspect of Shiva is his personification as the supreme or the ultimate awareness, understanding and knowledge.

Unlike most of the stotras of Hindu gods, which are in the form of description of anthropomorphic forms, or mythological deeds of those gods, Dakshinamurti Stotra takes form of conceptual and philosophical statements.

In a compilation of ten stanzas there is a concise and vivid description of the philosophical significance of the form of Siva, giving the very essence of the Indian idea of epistemology. Perhaps for this reason, Dakshinamurti Stotra is considered as the most important small verse to be attributed to Adi Shankara.

Dakshinamurty Stotram

मौनव्याख्या प्रकटित परब्रह्मतत्त्वं युवानं
वर्षिष्ठांते वसद् ऋषिगणौः आवृतं ब्रह्मनिष्ठैः ।
आचार्येन्द्रं करकलित चिन्मुद्रमानंदमूर्तिं
स्वात्मारामं मुदितवदनं दक्षिणामूर्तिमीडे ॥

विश्वं दर्पणदृश्यमाननगरीतुल्यं निजान्तर्गतं
पश्यन्नात्मनि मायया बहिरिवोद्भूतं यथा निद्रया ।
यः साक्षात्कुरुते प्रबोधसमये स्वात्मानमेवाद्वयं
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥१॥

बीजस्याऽन्तरिवाङ्कुरो जगदिदं प्राङ्गनिर्विकल्पं पुनः
मायाकल्पितदेशकालकलना वैचित्र्यचित्रीकृतम् ।
मायावीव विजृम्भयत्यपि महायोगीव यः स्वेच्छया
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥२॥

यस्यैव स्फुरणं सदात्मकमसत्कल्पार्थकं भासते
साक्षात्तत्त्वमसीति वेदवचसा यो बोधयत्याश्रितान् ।
यत्साक्षात्करणाद्भवेन्न पुनरावृत्तिर्भवाम्भोनिधौ
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥३॥

नानाच्छिद्रघटोदरस्थितमहादीपप्रभा भास्वरं
ज्ञानं यस्य तु चक्षुरादिकरणद्वारा वहिः स्पन्दते ।
जानामीति तमेव भान्तमनुभात्येतत्समस्तं जगत्
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥४॥

देहं प्राणमपीन्द्रियाण्यपि चलां बुद्धिं च शून्यं विदुः
स्त्रीबालान्धजडोपमास्त्वहमिति भ्रान्ता भृशं वादिनः ।
मायाशक्तिविलासकल्पितमहाव्यामोहसंहारिणो
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥५॥

राहुग्रस्तदिवाकरेन्दुसदृशो मायासमाच्छादनात्
सन्मात्रः करणोपसंहरणतो योऽभूत्सुषुप्तः पुमान् ।
प्रागस्वाप्समिति प्रबोधसमये यः प्रत्यभिज्ञायते
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥६॥

बाल्यादिष्वपि जाग्रदादिषु तथा सर्वास्ववस्थास्वपि
व्यावृत्तास्वनुवर्तमानमहमित्यन्तः स्फुरन्तं सदा ।
स्वात्मानं प्रकटीकरोति भजतां यो मुद्रयाभद्रया
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥७॥

विश्वं पश्यति कार्यकारणतया स्वस्वामिसम्बन्धतः
शिष्याचार्यतया तथैव पितृपुत्राद्यात्मना भेदतः ।
स्वप्ने जाग्रति वा य एष पुरुषो मायापरिभ्रामितः
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥८॥

भूरम्भांस्यनलोऽनिलोऽम्बरमहर्नाथो हिमांशु पुमान्
इत्याभाति चराचरात्मकमिदं यस्यैव मूर्त्यष्टकम्
नान्यत् किञ्चन विद्यते विमृशतां यस्मात्परस्माद्विभोः
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥९॥

सर्वात्मत्वमिति स्फुटीकृतमिदं यस्मादमुष्मिन् स्तवे
तेनास्य श्रवणात्तदर्थमननाद्ध्यानाच्च संकीर्तनात् ।
सर्वात्मत्वमहाविभूतिसहितं स्यादीश्वरत्वं स्वतः
सिद्ध्येत्तत्पुनरष्टधा परिणतं चैश्वर्यमव्याहतम् ॥१०॥

The universe is like a city reflected in a mirror. It is all inside but because of the influence of Maya it appears to be outside as in a dream. The Truth is the supreme Brahman, the one without a second.. (The mind, senses and intellect are all able to only discern the reflection of the Atman). The identity of the brahman and the Atman is apparent after self-illumination.I offer my profound salutations to the auspicious Guru, who is an embodiment of DakShinamurti, and whose grace is responsible for the illumination.

He in whom this universe, prior to its projection was present like a tree in a seed (unmanifested), and by whose magic this was transformed(manifested) in various forms, by His own will similar to a yogi’s- to that DakShinamurti, who is embodied in the auspicious Guru, I offer my profound salutations.

He, by whose light the (unreal) universe appears real, teaches the truth of brahman to those who want to know the Atman through the vedic statement tattvamasi (thou art That) and He Who puts an end to the samsaric cycle – to that DakShinamurti, who is embodied in the auspicious Guru, I offer my profound salutations.

He whose light gleams through the senses like the light emanating from a pot with holes (in which a lamp is kept), He whose knowledge alone brings the state of knowing (I am That), He whose brightness makes everything shine – to that DakShinamurti, who is embodied in the auspicious Guru, I offer my profound salutations.

Some philosophers contend the body, senses, life-breath, intellect and non-existence (shunya) as the real ‘I’ (Atman). Their comprehension is worse than that of women, children, blind and the dull. He who destroys this delusion caused by maya (and makes us aware of the Truth)- to that DakShinamurti, who is embodied in the auspicious Guru,I offer my profound salutations.

The brilliance of sun exists even when intercepted by Rahu during eclipse. Similarly, the power of cognition only remains suspended during deep sleep. The Self exists as pure being even though unrecognised due to the veil of Maya. A person on awakening becomes aware that he was asleep earlier (and the dream was unreal). Similarly, a person who awakens to the consciousness of the Self recognises his previous state of ignorance as unreal. He by whose grace alone does one awaken to the consciousness of the Self – to that DakShinamurti, who is embodied in the auspicious Guru, I offer my profound salutations.

He, whose existence is changeless throughout the various states of the body (like old, young etc) and the mind (waking, dreaming etc), and who reveals the greatest knowledge of Atman by jnAna-mudra (the joining of the thumb and the forefinger of a raised right hand) – to that DakShinamurti, who is embodied in the auspicious Guru, I offer my profound salutations.

Deluded by Maya one sees the world in dualities as cause and effect, master and servant, Teacher and student, father and son etc. during both the waking and dream states – to that DakShinamurti, who removes this veil of Maya, I offer my profound salutations.

He, whose subtle and unmanifest eightfold form of earth, water, fire, air, space, sun, moon and purusha, causes the moving and unmoving universe, and by whose grace alone does all these manifestations disappear to reveal that ‘All that exists is Brahman’ – to that DakShinamurti, who is embodied in the auspicious Guru, I offer my profound salutations.

In this hymn has been made clear the Unity of the Atman shining uniformly in all beings. Therefore hearing this hymn, cogitating on its meaning, meditating on it and singing it aloud, one will achieve sarvatmabhava which is the greatest treasure and one will become Ishwara and he will acquire the eight siddhies (Anima, Mahima, laghima, garima, prapti, prakamyam, ishitwam and vashitwam )

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