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Dakshinā, dakṣiṇā, or दक्षिणा), is a Sanskrit word found in Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Jain literature where it may mean any donation, fees or honorarium given to a cause, monastery, temple, spiritual guide or after a ritual. It may be expected, or a tradition or voluntary form of daana. The term is found in this context in the Vedic literature.
It may mean honorarium to a guru for education, training or guidance.
Etymology and description
According to Monier Williams, the term is found in many Vedic texts, in the context of “a fee or present to the officiating priest (consisting originally of a cow, Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra 15, Lāṭyāyana Śrautasūtra 8.1.2)”, a “donation to the priest”, a “reward”, an “offering to a guru”, a “gift, donation”.
The word also connotes “south”, a cardinal direction. Dakshina is also found in various other expressions such as ‘dakshinachara’, right-hand path of tantra. The neuter noun dakshinam means ‘the Deccan’, a transformation of dakshinam as the language evolved.
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