The icon of Dakshinamurthy shows Lord Siva with a cin
mudra, where the pointing finger touches the thumb. There
is a deep philosophical significance to this mudra, said M.A.
Manickavelu in a discourse. The thumb represents the
Paramatma. The pointing finger represents the Jivatma. The other three fingers represent the three malas that Saiva Siddhanta warns against — anava, kanmam and maya.
Anava signifies ego; kanmam signifies our karma; and maya
indicates illusion. Ego, the efects of our past deeds, and illusion which blinds us to reality are the three forces that keep us from reaching the Supreme One, according to Saiva Siddhanta. In this school of philosophy, the Supreme Reality is referred to as pathi; all living things are pasu; what keeps these souls in bondage is pasam. Ego, karma and illusion constitute pasam or bondage. In the absence of these three things that bind us to the earth, we will experience mental peace.
In one of his verses, Saivite saint Thirunavukkarasar
imagines himself to be a woman devotee, yearning for Lord
Siva. The girl first hears the Lord’s name. Then she enquires
about His appearance. She asks about His abode. She then
becomes mad with her love for Him. She leaves her home;
she leaves her mother and finally she forgets her own name.
That is the state of mind of the true devotee. He is unaware
of his surroundings; there is no place in his mind for
anything but the Lord. When he reaches that state, reaching the Lord’s feet is no longer diicult, for now he has overcome all the obstacles in his spiritual path. Dakshinamurthy’s cin mudra shows that a true devotee will reach the Lord, breaking from the bonds that keep him tied to worldly life.