Verse 61 of shivAnandalaharI

Ravi msr at COMCO.COM
Fri Apr 16 17:39:28 CDT 1999

In private, I was trying to find out more about the ankola
tree mentioned in verse 61 of shivAnandalaharI. Giri
answered this with some additional details.

Thanks to giri for his valuable insights.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> Do you know the English name of the tree a.nkola, shrI shankara
>> refers to this tree in the verse 61 of shivAnandalaharI

namaste. The tree ankola is called Alangium hexapetalum botanically
and yerezhinjil in Tamil. The pecularity of this tree is that seeds fall
off the tree at night and move back towards the tree on sunrise.
Foresters have confirmed this phenomena though the seeds apparently
move quite slowly.

Shankara uses this reference in shivaanandalaharii to show how
jeevaatmas are separated from the paramartham in darkness
(ignorance) and move back to Him on the rising of sun (knowledge).
There are several subtle meanings also. For example, is the atman
ever different from Brahman, which pervades all ? Does the sun ever
set or rise ? It is only the observer's perspective which says the sun
sets or rises, but the sun is there all the time ! Shankara makes this
clear in one of His upanishhad commentary. There are several other
aspects of this example and this verse of shivanandalaharii.

Materially, some sort of mild poison is extracted from the bark of
the tree and I think the seeds of this tree have some herbal value.



"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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>From  Sat Apr 17 12:38:46 1999
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Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 12:38:46 -0400
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To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM>
Subject: shrI daxiNAmUrti: the symbolism and his worship - 3
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I am resuming this series after a long gap. I  shall try to be more
regular from now. For the first two parts refer to

or use the search facility with daxiNAmUrti in the subject.

The significance of the name:

The name daxiNAmUrti can be interpreted as the "south-facing Lord". The
southern direction is considered inauspicious. Hence it's a curious
direction for a deity to face. It may be interpreted in two ways: he is
devoid of any inaupiciousness, i.e., not affected by it, and
demonstrates it by facing the southern direction. The mANDukya
upanishhad also says of brahman: shAntam, shivam advaitam. It can also
be said the devotee facing him faces the opposite direction, in other
words the worship of daxiNAmUrti leads to welfare. But a better
interpretation is that he is daxiNAbhi mukha, or one who is known
through the pure intellect and not otherwise. Thus, the daxiNAmUrti Up
(4) says:

yena daxiNAmukaH shivaH ...

[that by which shiva, the one apprehended by the (purified) buddhi ... ]

The mahAnArAyaNa Up also says:

   brahma medhayA | [brahman (is attained) by the purified intellect]
   madhu medhyA | [bliss (is attained) by the purified intellect]
   brahmameva madhu medhayA | [Verily brahman (which is) bliss
                  (is attained) by the purified intellect]

While GYAna is the direct and *only* primary cause of moxa, a clear
intellect is absolutely essential to obtaining GYAna. Thus, a clear
intellect is a *secondary* cause of moxa. This is why both the
mahAnArayaNa and the daxiNAmUrti Up-s (see verses above) emphasize the
purified intellect. In fact, bhagavAn gauDapAda says that that when the
mind becomes motionless, it does not assume the form of objects and
becomes merged in brahman (Refer gauDapAda kArikA 3.46). A motionless
mind can be said to be the same as a pure intellect. Thus, the
importance of a pure intellect cannot be overstated.

One of the ways of easily obtaining this stillness of mind is by
meditating on the form of daxiNAmUrti, chanting his names and the hymns
composed on him. So, the forms of daxiNAmUrti and the explanation of the
symbolism, which will fix him in the mind are of great interest. Also,
his 108 names and the famous daxiNAmUrti ashhTakam composed by
sha.nkarabhagavatpAda, are very important for advaitins.

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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