Mudra’s – The hand gestures of the Gods

Mudra’s – The hand gestures of the Gods

by Shatika, February 26, 2016

Many facts about the metaphysical meanings of the Mudra’s in the Indian Classical Dance have been forgotten over the centuries. The dancers are often taught these Mudra’s along with the movements and rhythmic steps without learning the deeper meanings behind them. They execute the beautiful Mudra’s along with the dance movements just because it looks good. But some of the dancers may be intuitively aware, even if they are not specially taught about it, that certain Mudra’s or dance gestures generate a considerable divine, subtle power or energy, besides looking elegant and beautiful. This is what makes our Indian Classical Dance so special and differentiates it from other dances in the world.

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The Mantras and Vedic Hymns are the language of the Gods and the Mudra’s are the hand gestures of the Gods. When the finger tip of the index finger of the “Suchi”  Mudra is slightly bent a Mudra, called “Ankusha”, is derived. This Mudra is not specially mentioned in the Dance-Mudra-Alphabet, though it resembles the “Taamrachuda” Mudra. “Ankusha” Mudra has a great importance in the rhythmic, non-story telling dance part.

The combination of Mantra recitation and simultaneous performance of the corresponding Mudra’s helps the sincere dancers. With a few changes of finger positions a flying bird can be shown or a swimming fish, a dancing peacock, a honeybee hovering over a flower, the tender waves of a calm river or the ferocious waves of the ocean, clouds, the sun, the rain, lightning, the beauty of the moon, the tenderness, grace and beauty of women, playing of various music instruments, and so many things more. Our arms, with our hands at the tip, are considered to be our creative channels. Creative energy flows most abundantly from our heart center through our arms, culminating in the potential to create and heal through our palms and fingers. In Yoga and in Indian dance, mudras are considered to be seals of energy that facilitate transition of energy. Hand gestures are both, a way to trigger movement of physical energy into spiritual consciousness, as well as capturing the audience attention and telling the story of the dance. Mudra is the language of dance.

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