WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TEN DIRECTIONS ?
1-Hindus worship all the ten directions including the four cardinal and four ordinal directions on a compass.Space and time are connected by the motion of sun which observation is also found in many scriptures.
2-“Purushasuktam” is one of the most popular Vedic hymns. It is in the Tenth Mandala of the oldest scripture in the world- Rig Veda. It is recited in almost all the temple and domestic rituals. The first few verses describe the omnipresence and omnipotence of the God:
3-“ The Purusha (Supreme Being) who has thousands of heads, thousands of eyes and thousands of feet enveloped the earth on all sides and stood beyond it in ten directions of space. All this is Purusha only. All that has been and all that will be. And he is the Lord of Immortality which grows by food”.
God is projected in his cosmic form in this hymn.
4-We know that Muslims worship facing only one direction, that is the direction in which their holy shrine Kaba is. But Hindus worship all the ten directions i.e eight directions and up and down. All religions believe in the omnipresence of God. He does not live or stay in one place, but he is everywhere.
5-We know the famous story of one saint stretching his feet in one direction where there was a god’s statue. When people objected to it, he asked them to show the direction where God was not present.
6-This enlightened the people and they realised their mistake of being rude to the saint. This type of story is in many parts of the world to illustrate the omnipresence of God. But yet when it comes to rituals, Hindus give special significance to the four cardinal and four ordinal directions on a compass.
7-Hindus perform a ritual called Sandhya Vandhana thrice a day in which they worship all directions. In addition to the four cardinal directions of East, South, West and North they worship up above and down below and the middle.
8-Hindus believe that eight elephants hold the earth in eight directions and the names of the 8 elephants are Airavata, Pundarika, Vamana, Kumuda, Anjana, Pushpadanta, Sarvabhauma and Supratika. Madurai Meenakshi temple show the eight elephants in the sanctum sanctorum (holy of holies).
9-When the Hindu priests do a Havan or Homa or Yaga at home or in a temple, they first install the Yaga Kunda, the Fire Altar. They invoke all the eight deities in charge of all the eight points in a compass. Each Vedic deity is allocated a particular direction. The priest will ask the performer to invoke the deity by placing Samit (peepal stick), yellow rice and flowers in each direction. The ten deities are as follows:---
1-East – Indra
2-South East – Agni
3-South – Yama
4-South West – Niruthi
5-West – Varuna
6-North West – Vayu
7-North – Kubera
8-North East – Isana.
9-Zenith---Brahmā (Zenith, meaning "the farthest up from the gravitational force")
10-Nadir----Viṣṇu (Nadir, meaning "the direction in which gravity pulls")
10-They are called Ashta Dik Palaks, meaning Eight Guardian Deities.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 & known as the Daśa-Dikpāla.
11-Each of them lives in a particular city and they are: Amaravati, Tejovati, Samyamani, Krshnanjana, Sraddhavati,Gandhavati, Mhaodaya and Yasovati.
12-Hindus do most of the auspicious things facing East or North.
13-South is considered the direction of departed souls.
14-North is the direction of Holy souls and Holy places..
15-Head towards north is wrong . we should never lie in the bed with head towards North. It is scientifically proved now.
16-Hindus have these beliefs for thousands of years. The Manu Smriti, which is at least 2300 years old, says the following about directions:--
17-“The lord dwelt in the golden egg, as bright as sun with thousand rays, and then just by thinking, he himself divided the egg into two. Out of the two fragments, he made the sky and the earth, and the atmosphere in the middle, and the eight cardinal directions, and the eternal place of the waters”This is a code language for the Big Bang theory and the formation of life on earth.
18-And in another sloka ,it is informed---
A-“For facing east ,who eats food gets a long life.South for fame;West for good fortune and North for truth”
B-“And when he has offered the oblations (a thing presented or offered to
God )properly in this manner, he should distribute the propitiatory offering in all the cardinal directions, in clockwise order – one each to Indra, Yama, Lord of the Waters (Varuna) and the Moon together with their attendants” .Clockwise means moving in a circle in the same direction as – east, south, west and north.
THE KEY POINT--
1-FOR A BRAHAMANJNANI;THERE IS NO MEANING OF PARTICULAR DIRECTION IN HINDUISM BECAUSE HIS/HER GOAL IS SPIRITUALISM.
2-ON THE OTHER HAND,FOR MATERIAL GAINS,WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL. OTHERWISE IT MAY CAUSE HARM ALSO.