Puneet Varma

Guardians of the directions

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Guardians of the directions

The Guardians of the Directions (Sanskrit: दिक्पाल, Dikpāla) are the deities who rule the specific directions of space according to Hinduism and Vajrayāna Buddhism—especially Kālacakra. As a group of eight deities, they are called Aṣṭa-Dikpāla (अष्ट-दिक्पाल), literally meaning guardians of eight directions. They are often augmented with two extra deities for the ten directions (the two extra directions being zenith and nadir), when they are known as the Daśa-dikpāla. In Hinduism it is traditional to represent their images on the walls and ceilings of Hindu temples. Ancient Java and Bali Hinduism recognize Nava-Dikpāla, literally meaning guardians of nine directions, that consist of eight directions with one addition in the center. The nine guardian gods of directions is called Dewata Nawa Sanga (Nine guardian devata), the diagram of these guardian gods of directions is featured in Surya Majapahit, the emblem of Majapahit empire.

Contents

There are strong similarities between the concept of the guardians of the directions and the lore surrounding the Chinese four symbols, four ancestral spirits who are responsible for four of the cardinal directions (North, South, East, and West).

Names and attributes

The names of the Dikpālas vary slightly, but generally include the following:

Directions in Hindu tradition

Directions in Hindu tradition are called as Diśā, or Dik. There are four primary directions and a total of 10 directions.

Lokapālas

In Hinduism the Guardians of the eight cardinal directions are called the Lokapālas (लोकपाल) or Ashta Dikpalakas. They are:

  • Indra (east)
  • Agni (south - east)
  • Yama (south)
  • Nirṛti ( South - west)
  • Varuṇa (west)
  • Vayu (North west)
  • Kubera (north)
  • Īśāna (north east)
  • References

    Guardians of the directions Wikipedia


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