8. Shiva Dakshinamurti
13th c.; Chola Dinasty
Dakshinamurti is a form of Shiva who is the guru, the teacher. His wisdom is ultimate truth and awareness, beyond the world; flashing like lightning through the clouds, this wisdom comes from beyond. It is irrefutable, mystical insight. In Hindu temples, Dakshinamurti faces south, because south is the direction of death, of change, of transcendence. He sits under a banyan tree, with his right foot on a demon, who is ignorance. Students surround him, and sometimes also wild animals, all listening attentively.
Shiva destroys ignorance and the entire world of ignorance; transcending the world of duality and illusion in this way, he unveils the mystical light of heaven, the true world beyond the clouds.
Provenance: Private Collection, US.
Detail: alternate view