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1 (‘right’,‘southern’) Right is auspicious, left (vāma) generally inauspicious. The right hand is therefore used for interaction with all things auspicious, including making offerings to the gods; the left for contact with the inauspicious, such as in making offerings to the spirits (bhūtabali). On the same principle, circumambulation (pradakṣinā) of an image, place, or revered person takes place in a clockwise direction, with the object of attention to the walker's right. By extension, the term ‘dakṣinā’ also means ‘south’, because a person facing east has the south to his or her right. The south is the direction generally associated with the dead.

2 The‘sacrificial fee’ or ‘gift’ offered to the officiating priests at a śrauta sacrifice by the sacrificer (yajamāna), and, by extension, at other rituals. The prototypical dakṣinā is a cow (the original referent of the term in this context), but fees are various, ranging from cows, gold, and garments, to fruits and edible roots, depending on the scale of the sacrifice and the number of priests involved. According to the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (4.3.4), the minimum fee for a soma sacrifice is 100 cows per priest. A sacrifice without dakṣinā is considered neither complete nor effective, and is effectively prohibited. Those who can provide only meagre fees are advised by Dharmaśāstra not to sacrifice at all. See also dāna.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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