Dakshinamurti Stotra, translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri, , at sacred-texts.com
Om! In the Brahmâvarta, at the foot of a mighty bhândira fig tree, there assembled Sanaka and
other mighty sages for a great sacrifice. Then, desirous to know of Truth, they approached the long-lived Mârkandeya with sacrificial fuel * in hand, and asked: Whereby dost thou live so long? and whereby dost thou enjoy such bliss?
He said: It is by knowledge of the highest secret, of S’iva, the Reality.
What is it which constitutes knowledge of the highest secret,—of Siva, the Reality? Who is the Deity there? What the mantras? What the devotion? What the means to that knowledge? What the necessary aids? What the offering? What the time? What the seat thereof?
He said: That constitutes knowledge of the Highest Secret,—of S’iva, the Reality—by which Siva, the Dakshinâmukha, * becomes intuited. He is the Deity who, at the time of universal dissolution, absorbs all into Himself, and who shines and delights in the happiness of His own inherent bliss.
p. 214 p. 215
[Here the Upanishad mentions five mantras, † containing respectively 24, 9, 18, 12, and 32 syllables, and recommends a contemplation of the Deity in one or another of His forms ‡ described as follows:]
1. I adore the three-eyed, moon-crested Dakshinâmûrti who is of pebble and silver colour, holding in the hands a rosary of pearls, a vessel of nectar, a book and the symbol of wisdom; having a serpent for his girdle, and putting on various ornaments.
2. May the milk-white three-eyed Primal Being (Bhava) grant us purity of thought, He who, seated at the foot of a fig tree, surrounded by S’uka and other sages, holding in the hands the symbol of the blessed wisdom, with axe and deer,—one of the hands resting on the knees, the
loins girdled round by a mighty serpent, a digit of the moon enclosed in His clotted hair!
3. May Dakshinâmûrti, the Gracious Lord, ever protect us, His body white with ashes, wearing a digit of the moon, with the lotus-like hands shining with the symbol of wisdom, a rosary, a lute, and a book; handsome with the yogic bell, seated in the posture of an expositor, surrounded by hosts of mighty sages, with serpents on, and clad in hide!
4. I adore Him who in His hands holds a via, a book and a rosary, with a cloudlike throat, who is rich in gifts, girdled by a mighty serpent, resorted to by S'uka and other sages; who has made the foot of a fig tree His abode.
5. I contemplate, for the attainment of the highest end, the Supreme Guru, the spouse of Bhavânî, the serene-faced Primal Being, He who is spoken of in all the Vedas (the first utterances), whose
hands shine with the symbol (of wisdom), with a book and fire and a serpent, who, bedecked with garlands of pearls and a crown blazing forth brilliant with the digit of the moon, resides at the foot of a fig tree and removes the ignorance of all.
Devotion * consists in firmly dwelling in the constant thought that "I am He †." Repetition of the mantra as inseparate from Him constitutes the means to that knowledge. To he concentrated in thought upon Him exclusively proves an effective aid to it. The dedicating of all bodily activity (to Him) forms the offering. The three states of consciousness (dhâmans or avasthas, such as jàgrat, svapna, and sushupti) are the proper time for it. The proper place is the twelve-pointed seat (i.e., the. sahasrâra or thousand-spoked wheel in the cavity of the head).
Then again they asked Him as follows, full of faith: How comes His manifestation? What is His form? And who is His worshipper?
He said: In the mighty lamp of wisdom, overflowing with the oil of vairagya (indifference to worldly objects) and furnished with the wick of Bhakti (Faith) one should kindle the light of knowledge and see. Then the darkness of delusion being dispelled, (S’iva) Himself becomes manifested. With a view to dispel the utter darkness, the devotee should produce fire, making vairagya the lower arani (stick) and knowledge the upper one *; and then S’iva will exhibit to his view the hidden Reality. Dwelling in the devotee as his own very Self with His inherent bliss, He revives viveka or discriminative wisdom hitherto overpowered with delusion and oppressed by duality for want of proper enquiry into truth. Thus (in the language of the Purina) S’iva, showing Himself in all His bliss, restores to life the son of Mrikandu, hitherto
oppressed with the fear of Yama, the latter dragging him with the bands of rope tied around his body. †
The word 'Dakshinâ' means Buddhi. Because Buddhi is the eye by which S’iva can be directly seen, He is called Dakshinabhimtikha by the Brahma-vâdins.
At the beginning of creation, Brahmâ the Lord, having worshipped S’iva, attained power to create and was delighted at heart. The devotee in this path, steady in his effort; attains all objects of desire and becomes quite happy.
Whoever studies this highly Secret Doctrine of Siva, the Reality, He is delivered from all sins. He who knows thus attains liberation.
SUCH IS THE UPANISHAD.
OM TAT SAT.
211:* This Upanishad is said to belong to the Black Yajur-Veda.
211:† i.e., master and pupil.
212:* An offering with which a disciple approaches a teacher of spiritual wisdom.
213:* The word 'Dakshinamukha' is interpreted in two ways: first as referring to that Incarnation of Siva in which He is represented as a Guru teaching spiritual wisdom at the foot of a fig tree with His face turned to the South; secondly as referring to the Unconditioned Formless Divine Being who can be intuited only by the dakshina or buddhi becoming perfectly pure and serene. Those who are not equal to the contemplation of the Divine Being in the latter aspect are recommended to contemplate Him in the former.
217:† These mantras are not given in the translation, because, to be effective at all, they should be learned from a duly initiated Guru. In the longer mantras, the Deity is invoked to grant spiritual wisdom to the devotee.
217:‡ For the contemplation to prove effective, the devotee should contemplate the Deity in the form described in the scriptures.
219:* This and what follows form answers to so me of the questions put by the sages to the Teacher.
219:† i.e.. "I am identical with S’iva."
221:* The figure refers to the process of producing fire by attrition for sacrificial purposes.
222:† This is one of the many instances where a minor Upanishad affords an esoteric interpretation of a Puranic allegory, The Purana says that the sage Markandeya was first destined to live a very short life; but that, by devotion to God—to Siva according to some puranas, to Vishnu according to others—he overcame Yama, god of death, who came on the appointed day to take away his life and began to drag him by means of his bands of rope. Here, according to the Upanishad, Markandeya takes the place of Viveka or wisdom; Yama, of moha or delusion; ropes, of the absence of enquiry; and fear, of the duality.