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When circumambulating a temple or an idol (i.e. perform pradakshinam), we do so clockwise. Now, it's obvious that we need to have everybody circumambulating in the same direction, or else people would run into each other. But why do we specifically do so in a clockwise direction? Is there a scriptural basis for this, or is it merely traditional?

(I assume clockwise circumambulation is a universal practice; if not, please correct me.)

  • all devatas are in clockwise plane and all pitharus in anti clockwise plane. if perform pithru pooja it should be done anti clockwise, apashavia, its reference frame.. in mirror everything is opposite, but yourself is correct right – Prasanna R Mar 29 at 12:23
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This reference says We cannot draw a circle without a centre point. The Lord is the centre, source and essence of our lives. Recognising Him as the focal point in our lives, we go about doing our daily chores. This is the significance of pradakshina. Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the centre. This means that wherever or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the Lord. His grace flows towards us without partiality.

Doing it in clockwise direction keeps the almighty to our right hand side so symbolically we have given prominent position to them, as a token of respect, devotion & love.

You may find wiki article here. This and this also have good information.

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    Wiki in this case is not a dependaboe reference as it does not provide any proper scriptural source. – user17294 Mar 28 at 12:16
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Q 1.But why do we specifically do so in a clockwise direction?

This is because, 'Pra-Dakshina' means 'standing to the right (DAKSHINA) side of the Deity

प्रदक्षिण a. 1 Being placed or standing on the right, moving to the right; प्रदक्षिणार्चिर्हविरग्निराददे R.3.14 (sanskritdictionary.com).

If one moves around a deity keeping Him or Her always in the right side, he or she must move around CLOCKWISE.

Q 2. I assume clockwise circumambulation is a universal practice; if not, please correct me.

Yes, there are variations in the scriptural injunctions regarding 'pradakshina' in the sense that all pradakshinas advised are NOT circular. For example, according to the YAmala-Vachana,

trikoNAkArakam devi shakeh kuryAt pradakshiNam/ardhachandram maheshasya pristhatascha samiritam// meaning : For doing pradakshina of a Shakti (Goddess) form, walk forming a triangle is advised. For doing pradakshina of Lord Shiva, half-circular movement on the back side of the deity is advised.

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Why do we perform pradakshinam (circumambulation) clockwise?

That is because we have to keep the idols towards our right (dakshina) while going around them.

See the following verse:

Manu Smriti 4.39. Let him pass by (a mound of) earth, a cow, an idol, a Brahmana, clarified butter, honey, a crossway, and well-known trees, turning his right hand towards them.

Another translation is from here:

मृदं गां दैवतं विप्रं घृतं मधु चतुष्पथम् ।
प्रदक्षिणानि कुर्वीत प्रज्ञातांश्च वनस्पतीन् ॥ ३९ ॥

mṛdaṃ gāṃ daivataṃ vipraṃ ghṛtaṃ madhu catuṣpatham |
pradakṣiṇāni kurvīta prajñātāṃśca vanaspatīn || 39 ||

By a mound of clay, a cow, a deity, a Brāhmaṇa, clarified butter, honey, a cross-way and the well-known trees—he shall pass in such a manner as to leave them on his right.—(39)

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From the vaishnava verbal tradition: turning to the right decreases material desires, turning to the left increases them. Religious practitioners want more freedom, so they always circumambulate clockwise to turn to the right.

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    Please provide source for your claims. – Mr_Green Aug 18 '14 at 11:49

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