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.
Names and attributes
The names of the Dikpālas vary slightly, but generally include the following:
|Kubera||North||Oṃ Shaṃ Kuberāya Namaḥ||Gadā (mace)||Kuberajāyā||Budha (Mercury)||Kumari|
|Yama||South||Oṃ Maṃ Yamāya Namaḥ||Daṇḍa(staff)||Yami||Maṅgala (Mars)||Varahi|
|Indra||East||Oṃ Laṃ Indrāya Namaḥ||Vajra (thunderbolt)||Śacī||Sūrya (Sun)||Aindri|
|Varuṇa||West||Oṃ Vaṃ Varuṇāya Namaḥ||Pāśa (noose)||Nalani||Śani (Saturn)||Varuni|
|Īśāna||Northeast||Oṃ Haṃ Īśānāya Namaḥ||Triśūla (trident)||Parvati||Brihaspati (Jupiter)||Māheśvarī|
|Agni||Southeast||Oṃ Raṃ Agnaye Namaḥ||Śakti(Spear)||Svāhā||Śukra (Venus)||Meshavahini|
|Vāyu||Northwest||Oṃ Yaṃ Vayuve Namaḥ||Aṅkuśa (goad)||Bharati||Chandra (Moon)||Mrigavahini|
|Nirṛti (sometimes Rakṣasa)||Southwest||Oṃ Kṣaṃ Rakṣasāya Namaḥ||Khaḍga (sword)||Khaḍgī||Rāhu (North Lunar Node)||Khadagadharini|
|Viṣṇu||Nadir||Oṃ Klim Vishnave Namaḥ||Cakra (discus)||Lakṣmī||Lagna||Vaishnavi|
|Brahmā||Zenith||Oṃ Hriṃ Brahmaṇe Namaḥ||Padma (lotus)||Sarasvatī||Ketu (South Lunar Node)||Brahmani|
Directions in Hindu tradition
Directions in Hindu tradition are called as Diśa, Disha or Dik. There are four primary directions and a total of 10 directions.
|East||Pūrva, Prāchi, Prāk|
|West||Paścima, Pratīchi, Apara|
Images of the Lokapālas are usually placed in pairs at the entrance to tombs. As Guardians they can call upon the spirits of the next world to help them protect the tomb if necessary.
- Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dallapiccola
- The Gods of the Directions in Ancient India. Origin and Early Development in Art and Literature (until c. 1000 A.D.), Berlin: Dietrich Reimer 2001 (ISBN 3-496-02713-4) by Corinna Wessels-Mevissen
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ja:ローカパーラ pt:Guardiões das Direções ru:Локапалы zh:方位護法