Baring the right shoulder

Girish Beeharry gkb at
Wed Oct 2 19:26:55 UTC 1996


On Wed, 2 Oct 1996, Mani Varadarajan wrote:

> > In circumambulating a stupa or shrine, isn't it the right shoulder that is
> > pointed towards the sacred object?
> Yes, but the shoulder is not the reason one circumambulates 
> clockwise.  Rather, it is just to keep the holy shrine or deity
> to the right of one's self at all times, as a sign of respect.
> As is well known, the poor left hand is kept out of the way due
> to its use for certain cleansing tasks.
I would have thought the same too. However, in the case of the deity being
too close to the back wall, one has to rotate clockwise (once or thrice
etc but never twice; I wonder why)  in front of the deity; this is a bit
contradictory to the previous statement. Can anyone solve this 'problem'
please? Thanks.

In the North, sometimes the following shloka is uttered while
circumnabulating the deity:

yaani kaani cha paapaani janmaantara kR^itaaNi cha |
taani taani vinashyanti pradakshiNa pade pade ||

I am curious as to what the South people/Buddhists say. Thanks in advance.


Girish Beeharry

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