What is dakshina?
Dakshina is a core Siddha Yoga practice in which Siddha Yogis make monetary offerings to the Guru. Dakshina is offered without stipulation or expectation of personal gain. The word dakshina also refers to the offering itself.
The practice of dakshina is grounded in the ancient wisdom of the Indian scriptures. According to the scriptures, it is a student’s dharma to acknowledge the priceless gift of the Guru’s teachings by giving the Guru something the student values.
As the student offers to the Guru, they expand their capacity to receive the Guru’s grace and teachings. When practiced with discipline and regularity, offering dakshina supports the student in becoming established in the knowledge imparted by the Guru.
I understand that dakshina is an offering to the Guru. In practical terms how is this managed?
The SYDA Foundation, whose core purpose is to preserve, protect, and facilitate the dissemination of the Siddha Yoga teachings, is the organization entrusted with receiving and administering dakshina offered globally by Siddha Yogis outside of India.
Gurudev Siddha Peeth is the charitable trust entrusted with receiving and administering dakshina offered by Siddha Yogis within India.
When offering dakshina, why do we specifically offer money?
When offering dakshina, a student gives something that they value highly. In ancient times the items of value offered as dakshina took different forms, such as grain, cattle, and gold coins. Today, money is the medium of exchange. It is also the form in which the SYDA Foundation and the charitable trust of Gurudev Siddha Peeth are able to receive offerings of dakshina on behalf of the Guru.
What is the Siddha Yoga Monthly Dakshina Practice, and how can I participate?
The purpose of the Siddha Yoga Monthly Dakshina Practice is to help students engage with the practice of dakshina with regularity and discipline by committing to a monthly offering. The student determines an amount to be offered each month through automatic bank transfer, credit card, or by check.
For participants outside of India:
If you reside outside of India, you can begin or update a Monthly Dakshina Practice on the Siddha Yoga path website. On the homepage, click on “Giving to the Mission” in the top navigation bar. Then click on “Begin or Update a Monthly Dakshina Practice” in the left sidebar.
You can also use a Siddha Yoga Monthly Dakshina Practice card and offer it in darshan or mail it to the SYDA Foundation. The card is available at Siddha Yoga Ashrams, meditation centers, and chanting and meditation groups.
You can also call (+1) 845-434-2000, extension 2390, or fax the SYDA Foundation at (+1) 845-436-2197.
For participants in India:
If you reside in India, you can begin or update a Monthly Dakshina Practice by offering the card in darshan or mailing it to Gurudev Siddha Peeth, or by calling +91 (0) 2522 302658 or +91 (0) 2522 302634.
How else can I offer dakshina?
As part of your regular dakshina practice, you can make offerings any time online, through the mail, by fax, or with a phone call.
Many Siddha Yogis plan offerings in honor of Siddha Yoga holidays and teaching and learning events, and during darshan in a Siddha Yoga Ashram, meditation center, or chanting and meditation group.
Many Siddha Yogis also like to offer dakshina on occasions of personal importance, such as the day they received shaktipat-diksha or a birthday. You may also choose to honor an occasion by increasing your monthly offering of dakshina.
As someone who offers dakshina regularly, how can I deepen my experience of this practice?
You can deepen your experience of offering dakshina by cultivating your understanding of the practice, preparing for the practice, invoking grace, and regularly reflecting on your experience of the practice. Below are specific suggestions for ways to do this.
You can study more about the significance of this practice by reading the Exposition on the Siddha Yoga Practice of Dakshina.
When practicing dakshina, you can hold the awareness that you are making a sacred offering to the Guru.
Before participating in satsang, prepare the offering you will make during darshan as a way to honor its sacredness.
If sending dakshina from home, you can invoke grace for your offering by singing one of the Siddha Yoga hymns such as Jyota se Jyota Jagao or the Shri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam Stotram, both of which you can find in The Nectar of Chantingbook. If you use an automatic transfer for your Monthly Dakshina Practice, you can sing a hymn or offer a prayer on the day your offering is received.
After making an offering of dakshina, sit quietly to relish the effects of this practice, just as you would after chanting or meditating. This will support you to assimilate your experience.
And, you can regularly reflect on your practice of dakshina by recalling your experiences and insights and writing about them in your journal.
I have often heard people share that they offer dakshina out of love and gratitude. If I am not experiencing these feelings, is it still okay to make the offering?
Many Siddha Yogis offer dakshina out of love and gratitude, virtues which are important to cultivate in sadhana.
At the same time, it is important to perform the spiritual practices with discipline and regularity, and to not make your practice contingent upon a particular feeling or experience. A Siddha Yoga student does not chant or sit for meditation only when they are feeling devotion; in the same way, a student does not practice dakshina only when they are experiencing love and gratitude.
How can I determine the amount of my monthly offering?
You may wish to review your finances in light of your priorities and your commitment to offer dakshina. Consider your expenses and financial obligations to determine a monthly offering that reflects your priorities and is within your means.
Many Siddha Yogis choose to offer a percentage of their income as monthly dakshina as a way to connect what they earn to what they offer as dakshina.
Periodically revisit the amount you offer monthly, so you can make adjustments to the amount over time.
I’m not sure I can afford to offer dakshina right now. What should I do?
Dakshina is a practice available to everyone. You can offer any amount that is practical, in accordance with your means.