Guardians of the directions

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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. In ancient Java the nine guardian gods of directions is called Dewata Nawa Sanga (Nine guardian devata), the diagram of these guardian gods of directions is featured in Surya Majapahit, the emblem of Majapahit empire.

Contents

Names and attributes

The names of the Dikpālas vary slightly, but generally include the following:

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.

Lokapālas

In Hinduism the Guardians of the four cardinal directions are called the Lokapālas (लोकपाल). They are:

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.

References

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