Mudras of Indian Dance and Yoga

There are twenty-eight asamyukta or single-hand hastas alluding to 28 nakshatras or Lunar asterisms.

asamyukta hastas or mudras

  There are twenty-four samyukta or joined-hand hastas, which function, supposedly, was to denote 24 Lunar fortnights of the Year or Prajapati.

samyukta hastas or mudras

joined-hand gestures
of Bharata Dance and Yoga



Mudras of Indian Dance and Yoga

Mudras (Hastas) of Indian Dance and Yoga

There are twenty-eight asamyukta or single-hand hastas as opposed to twenty-four samyukta or joined-hand hastas. In total, there are fifty-two dancing mudras or symbolical gestures, which are described in the "Abhinaya Darpana" ("Mirror of Drama") of Nandikeshvara and "Abhinaya Chandrika" written by Maheshvara Mahapatra and some other Sanskrit books. These books are detailed descriptions of the movements of the feet, hands and standing poses.

These twenty-eight asamyukta (single-hand) and twenty-four samyukta (joined-hands) mudras are used in South Indian tradition, in Bharatanatyam of Tamil Nadu and Odissi Dance of Orissa.

The number of various Yogic Mudras from the Buddhist, Hindu, and Tantric traditions is much more larger.

Our arms and hands conduct creative energy which flows from our heart, form, deform or transform the world around us. Our palms and fingers can destroy or heal. They participate in myriad daily activities such as writing, cooking, painting, expressing desires, thoughts, feelings and emotions, indicating objects, actions, cardinal points, planets, time etc..

The word mudra stems from the Sanskrit root mud, which means "mix", “delight”, "mark", "impress", "to cover", "close up", and "stamp". Though the origins of the word mudra are uncertain as is the precise evolution of its meaning, we can infur from such words as मुदी (mudi - moonlight) and मुदिर: (mudirah - a cloud) that it evoluated from the concepts of the everyday such as "a seal, a stamp, a seal- or stamp-ring, passport, print, mark, impression, coin, medal, immage, sign, badge" to much more complex ones of a "mistery", "the impression of things by their right names", "positions of fingers to show devotion in religious worship", "encoding" and "cyphering" Lunar phases, months and nakshatras (Lunar night passages or asterisms).

मुद् (Mud) is the name of a daughter of Tushti or Viduratha; it is also the name of a class of Apsaras.

मुद (Muda) or मुदा (Muda) is a name of a teacher and author.

मुदितपुश्पा is a female Gandharva, wife of a Gandharva, who is personification of the Moon in the form of a celectial musician.

मुद्गल is a name of a Rishi, son of Vishvamitra.

मुद्रा is reckoning by the fingers; grain as used in the Shakta or Tantric ceremonial

In Hindu iconography, the Lunar deities are often depicted with their hands making various hand gestures or mudras with a certain symbolical meaning. Our conjecture is that primarily these specific gestures in Vedic astronomical rituals helped to distinguish the personalities of the Lunar gods, to identify the same Moon in relation to 12-13 year asterisms and 28 month stars called apsaras or nakshatras.

So, mudra means insignia, emblem, distinctive sign.

A compound word मुद्राक्षरं (mudra-aksharam) means a "letter of the seal".

मुद्रिका or मुद्रितis a surgicasl instrument and a particular positions of the fingers.

मुद्रांक or मुद्रांकित means stamped with a seal, sealed, stamped.
मुदरामार्ग: (the secret path) ब्रह्मरंध्र (opening of Brahma) means an opening believed to exist in the crown of the head through which the soul is said to escape at death.

मुद्राबल is a high number.

The verb मुद्रयति means "to seal", "to mark", "to impress", "to cover", "to close up" (fig.).

In Vedic ritualistic dance these gestures express feelings, ordinary objects and actions, numbers, time periods, planets, stars, their conjunctions, oppositions, other configurations and movements.

Hand gestures in Indian dance are used not only for mere capturing the audience attention but primarily for telling the story from itihasas or astro-mytho-poems describing the most important temporal events of Eternal Calendar of Maha-Kala-Chakra.

 They are also employed in yogic postures for concentration on abstract notions, energy currents and healing.

samyukta                     asamyukta

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Shiva Maha-Kala's two different cosmic dances

Read about the chronometrical meaning of the cosmic dance of Shiva and its two variations:

1. Rudra Tandava Dance and

2. Lasya Dance

Lasya Dance  Moon the Choreographer  Tandava Dance

Lasya                          Nataraja                         Tandava

Read the books by Dr. M. I. Mikhailov "Key to the Vedas" depicting extraordinary chronoprogramming mechanisms of the Vedas; the First Book of "Valmiki-Ramayanam" entitled "Youth", tr. into Russian with astronomical commentaries; Russian translation of the Patanjali-Yoga-Sutra; some Poems by Kshemendra; Pancatantra (Russian); novel "Jwar" by Madhu Bhaduri (Tr. from Hindi into Russian) and "The River of Blood" by Parthasarathi (Tr. from Tamil into Russian).

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