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Mudra-s and their significance: Part I

Lets understand the basics of Mudra or hand gestures, through conversations


between Neel and his seeker group of friends.
It was a Monday and Monday- blues were already on the team. Neel, Som, Meeta &
Shilpa walked out of the class room after the Math class. This class was the 5 th of
the day. Som, Meeta and Shilpa always felt that there shouldnt be more than 4
classes a day, but the powers-that-be in the college always had different thoughts
on this matter. They had one more class, Physics, to finish that day! The trio didnt
seem to be in the mood for another class. Neel sensed the mood and said, Hey
guys, you know what? I think the Physics teacher might give a miss to the class
today!
What exclaimed all the other three pray, are you kidding us?
No, I have a strong sense which says so. Why not go to the class and check? True
to his words, there was a notice on the notice board just saying that the Physics
class for the day has been cancelled.
Wow Neel, how did you know about the cancelled class? That was amazing!
shouted the delighted trio barely able to hold their excitement!
That was based on my asking a question to myself and checking my breath. On
close observance of my breath during the end of last class, I felt that the teacher
wouldnt turn up. That is based on my Svara Yoga practice winked Neel.
All the three had experienced similar feats by Neel before. They also had sought to
learn Svara yoga, but Neel had said that it would have to be taught by his Guru as
he was not yet supposed to impart this secret yoga! So they all had decided that
they would learn it from Neels Guru during their summer vacation.
They then went to the spot at the college restaurant, which they frequented,
whenever they discussed some interesting topics. They had decided to discuss
today, the siddhi-s achieved by our ancestors
We, in India, are lucky to have had such illustrious ancestors, who showed us, what
this human body is capable of, in terms of achieving amazing feats of excellence or
'siddhi-s'. They demonstrated using the latent powers of the human body for various
siddhi-s, which would border on miracles, when viewed from perspectives of
humans today, when the body is utilized in ways, much different than the way we
use them today. They repeatedly stressed on the pitfalls associated with indulging in
bodily pleasures as the purpose of our existence started Neel, as they settled with
a cup of tea each at the restaurant.
We need to understand that the human body is but an incomparable technical
marvel and nothing of human creation would even remotely come close to this
greatest gadget that we all are lucky to be in! But then, this wonder called our body
is also the highly ignored and abused gadget by the beings who rather prefer to
marvel at the gadgets way too inferior, designed by humans, which have flooded
their lives continued Neel.

Yes, wherever we look around, we see people enamored by their gadgets and
devices, totally losing their lives to always interacting with their gadgets said
Shilpa
Yes Shilpa, precisely. The supreme gadget, our body, however, can bestow us
siddhi-s when we tread on the path demonstrated by our ancestors. The human
birth is for a special cause and the cause is to move ourselves up the higher plane
of consciousness and experience permanent bliss. However, not everyone would be
inclined towards attempting to achieve that
Could we talk of any such Siddhi today? sought Som.
Sure, one such Siddhi bestowing practice is the usage of mudra-s
Mudras? Yes, lets discuss more on that. We usually observe Hindu deities using
various hand gestures in the different poses they are depicted. Why are they
portrayed as holding their hands in typical gestures? Is there any significance for
such a practice or are they matter of artistic expressions? asked Meeta.
But then, we also see similar hand gestures with yoga, dhyaana or praanaayaama
practitioners. Would it then mean that they are conscious & deliberate practices
inculcated into these various health or spiritual pursuits? queried Shilpa.
Yes, if so, what is the significance of such gestures and how would they benefit the
practitioners of such gestures? What are the rules related to such practice and when
can they be practiced? Som joined in the flurry of questions thrown at Neel.
Wow guysso many questions at a time? Sure, lets understand more on Mudra-s.
The holding of hands in a particular gesture is known as hasta mudra or hand
gestures or hand poses.
If that is hasta mudra then are there mudras related to other parts of bodies as
well? asked Som.
Yes, the word mudraa could be applied when for example, eyes are positioned in a
particular way or for that matter our legs or the way the whole body is molded in
various poses. Said Neel and continued.
The word 'mudra' is usually split into the words mud (u is pronounced akin to u in
the word super) plus the 'ra'. The word 'mud' means the sanskrit muda meaning joy
and the word 'ra' means 'ramana' or sporting in joy or the 'ra' also means
'reeshyate' or to remove. So, mudra would mean being in joy thereby sporting in it
for long or it would also mean, obtaining joy by removing negativity or illness from
the body
But how would a simple hand gesture or a mudra accomplish obtaining of joy and
removing of pain? Interjected Meeta.
Remember the marvel called our body? In the human body, there is a further
depiction of our being in miniature forms in various parts of our body. For example,
the entire body is represented by our ears which appears akin to a human being
lying down with legs folded. The human hand also depicts the various parts of our

body and hence finds usage in acupressure, acupuncture and reflexology modes of
healing various body parts by applying pressure on various points on our palms
Excellent. I had also heard about different fingers representing a distinct pancha
bhootas ( 5 nature elements like Earth, water, fire, air and space) asked the wellread Som.
Yes, various mudra-s impact the various elements of pancha bhoota-s. The middle
finger, being the biggest, represents the biggest of the five, the space or aakaasha.
Did you know that the structure of our fingers follows the creation of these elements
as we see in our scriptures? Asked Neel.
No, we are not aware said all three. please lets know?
Well Bhagavata says during creation, when the time for creation of five bhootas
come, the first one to get created is the aakasha. Aakaashaat vayuH vaahuragniH
agniraapaH aapo prithiviH. When there was a shake in aakasha, air got created.
Rapid movement of air created fire and when fire cooled, water got created and
water when crystalized, it became earth. So that sequence can be seen in our
fingers when we hold them together in a circle. The biggest finger, the middle finger
represents space, then comes the forefinger representing air, then comes the
thumb representing fire, then comes the middle finger representing water and then
the ring finger representing earth
Why, thats awesome Neel! said Meeta very excited.
Nice, which is interesting. So, how do Mudra-s work? said Som keen to get the
science behind the Mudra-s.
The next blog: The science behind working of Mudra-s.

How Mudra-s work?


If you entwine fingers of both palms and hold the hands together, the gesture
would depict a brain like formation and therefore, manipulations in hands provide a
message to the brain to function in an intended way to enhance our capabilities.
This concept is known as a Psycho kinetic lock of fingers.
oh wowthats nice ..didnt know that! said Meeta.
The next step would be to know various hand poses, which can provide a strong
positive message to the brain to act as a benefactor, either to enhance a positive
quality or reduce a negative quality. The hand-poses would then induce certain
states of mind or conscious that trigger well-being in humans said Neel and
continued further.
Now coming to the subtle aspect of Mudra-s. The mudra-s also trigger and facilitate
the movement of Praana or energy flows in our body. They trigger structured
movement of Praana in the body to regulate the flow to enhance our capabilities or
eliminate negativities. The various Praanic chakra-s and naadi-s continuously

radiate Praana. However the Praana, as it begins accumulating, gets dissipated out
of our body. Our day to day activities like speaking, watching, moving, sitting,
thinking and intimate activiites etc utilize Praana thereby reducing the Praanic flow
But how do the mudra-s help in stemming that flow of Praana outside? quizzed
Som.
The mudra-s help by preventing the dissipating of the Praana through the fingers,
as fingers are also considered a point of outward flow of Praana. The tips dissipate
Praanic energy outwards and hence locking them through certain gestures ensures
the redirection circulation of Praana in the body, thereby ensuring its abundance.
Once the dissipation of Praana is arrested through constant practice of mudra-s, the
mind gets to become withdrawn resulting in sense withdrawal (pratyaahaara),
concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyaana).
Wow, such a deep impact by usage of Mudra-s said an impressed Shilpa.
Yes and every mudra has a distinctive facilitation in our mind and consciousness,
that helps snap instinctive habit patterns and works towards refining our
consciousness and thoughts towards greater excellence and siddhi-s
Yes, with this background, when we discuss Mudra next, I will demonstrate various
mudra-s and their usage. Now its time for the day today, lets meet tomorrow again
Sure thanks Neel, that was enlightening on Mudra-s. This knowledge would now
help us work on the mudra-s with intent so saying the friends slowly started
walking out of the cafeteria preparing to leave for their homes.
Next blog on Mudra would have various mudra-s and their usage.

The next blog on Mudra-s would talk about the various mudra-s, their practice and
the usage in our well being.