This wood-statue combines with his Yogamurti form his form in ‘vyakhyana-mudra’, that is, he has been represented not merely as himself engaged in ‘yoga’ but as one ‘daksha’ – master, in ‘yoga’, a perfect demonstrator not only performing ‘yoga’ but also interpreting its pith or mystique. The devotee-group is not manifest but is believed to be attending upon and listening to him. Except that in accordance to the meaning of the term, ‘Dakshina’ is sometimes interpreted as ‘south’, and Dakshinamurti, as the southward facing Master, but in wider Shaivite tradition Dakshinamurti is almost synonymous to ‘Adiguru’ – the ever first Master that Shiva is believed to be irrespective of whatever the field of knowledge : ‘yoga’, dance and music, or philosophy. Jnana-Dakshinamurti Shiva is the Adiguru of every form of Jnana.
In usual Dakshinamurti iconography, besides being represented as engaged in one aspect of jnana – knowledge, or other, as performing a dance, or ‘yoga’, playing on his ‘vina’, or whatever, the normal right hand of his four-armed figure is essentially rendered in ‘vyakhyana-mudra’, that is, as interpreting the pith of what he is engaged in. As would a great master, absorbed he performs a move, say in dance, and with as much absorption he interprets it or teaches its meaning – neither affecting the other. Other usual features of Dakshinamurti iconography, though not without variants, are a rosary, a sheaf of grass, serpent, flames of fire, double-drum, trident among others in other hands, and one held in ‘abhaya’. The Indus Mahayogi form of Shiva is as seated cross-legged, though in later iconography this vision of Yoga Dakshinamurti changed to have his right leg laid suspending over the figure of Apasmara Purusha, the symbol of ignorance, and the left, laid in semi-yoga posture.
For his form of Yoga Dakshinamurti the artist of this statue has chosen Indus Mahayogi form, at least for the seating posture of the image. Here the image of Lord Shiva has been carved seated in exact ‘Padmasana’, not as mere cross-legged. As prescribed, the image’s normal right hand manifests the essential ‘vyakhyana-mudra’. While revealing ‘vyakhyana-mudra’, this hand has been gesticulated into such posture that it also manifests ‘abhaya’. In the upper right hand Yoga Dakshinamurti has been represented as holding his double-drum, in the lower left, his usual trident, and in the upper left, a billowing basket type sheaf of grass. Enormity of snakes, crawling all over his figure, large size prayer-beads on the neck, tiger skin around his groins, jata-juta, crescent and other similar attributes define his Dakshinamurti form. The image has been installed on a high pedestal carved with motifs not usually seen in Shaivite iconography.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.