dakSiNAmUrti stotra, and Tamil and Kashmir zaivisms

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun May 30 21:47:59 UTC 1999

In continuation of this topic,

>Was the authorship of the only genuine(?) stotra of zankara due to the need
>to counter the ziva dakSiNAmUrti devotional cult of the Tamil country?

Could you tell us about the significant features of the Tamil dakshiNAmUrti
devotional cult? Was Siva-dakshiNAmUrti primarily viewed as a guru, rather
than as the creator? Was there a great emphasis on Siva's teaching through
silence (mauna-vyAkhyA), and on Siva as a youth teaching old disciples
(vRddhAH zishyAH, gurur yuva)? What do the Tamil sources say? Finally, had
the dakshiNAmUrti conception entered Chera land in early times, or did it
remain confined to Madurai and the pANDyan kingdom?

It is a central feature of Sankara's advaita vedAnta that silence is the
supreme teaching of the Atman (re: the story of bashkala quoted in his
bhAshya). This is also a central feature of Sanskrit texts like the
dakshiNAmUrti upanishad etc. Siva teaching through silence is a powerful
symbol for advaita vedAnta, and there is no reason why this should not have
been so from the earliest times. Secondly, viewing these religious
relationships as countering one another results from an over-emphasis of the
notion that Sankara's thought had no use for a God. This is not really the
case. It is also not well appreciated that Sankara and sureSvara gave great
importance to yoga. Siva as a yogin is again a powerful symbol. It might
well be that Sankara composed a hymn to dakshiNAmUrti because of the
possibilities offered by the religious symbolism of Siva as the teacher.


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