Sri Dakshinamurthi: Jnana-Mudra

[Excerpts from commentary on “Hymn to Sri Dakshinamurthi” by Swami Chinmayananda]

The Supreme Reality Itself is the Guru, conceived as Sri Dakshinamurthy sitting on the peaks of Kailash to give the final initiation to the Rishis and Seers. Even today it is an unwritten tradition in the Himalayas that all Mahatmas there during the Brahma Muhurtha time meditate facing South, and the seekers in the country are expected to meditate at the same auspicious hour, sitting down, facing North, towards the Himalayas.

Lord Shiva, in order to instruct the Rishis and the Seers, assumed the form of a Guru and sitting on the peak of Kailash, He turned southward to serve all seekers. The term “dakshina” means “that divine power of subtle perception which is generated in a fully integrated pure intellect”. This “dakshina-power”, when flowing towards the vasana-conditioned hearts of the disciples, is called “turned southward” and this is Shiva. The Teacher is none other than the Supreme, who manifests Himself in the divine form of Sri Dakshinamurthy to bless the struggling aspirant.

It is such a Teacher, who has become one with the Infinite, and has established his Oneness with the Infinite Substratum of the Universe who instructs an integrated and well-disciplined student in the Highest Truth through the SIGN of Knowledge, called Jnanamudra (Chin Mudra).

The auspicious SIGN demonstrated beautifully to the disciple the oneness of the inner Self and the Self everywhere. Jnanamudra (Chin Mudra) is generally indicated by holding the little, ring and middle fingers erect, straight and together, and the index finger bent to touch the middle of the thumb, so that a circle is formed between the index finger, palm and the lower-half of the thumb. This sign shown with the palm they called as the “Sign of Knowledge”.

This is indeed significant. The three fingers can be indicated to mean the gross, subtle and the causal bodies, and when they are completely disciplined and made single-pointed, the (individual) Self indicated by the index finger, that presides over the body of the seeker, gets itself detached and comes forward to meet the thumb, that represents the Self everywhere present. This experience that the “Self within” is the “Self everywhere” is the Infinite Experience, and the Infinitude is represented here by the circle formed between the index finger and the thumb – a circle which can have no beginning and no end.

The Teacher and the Lord are here thus by suggestion considered as ONE. Thus the Guru is the manifest-symbol of the Primordial Truth, and to Him our prostrations.

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