Derived from the Sanskrit word which means a ‘seal’, Mudra is basically a finger/hand position, performed by different joining or placing postures. This was performed to please the divine beings and deities who, in turn, helped us demolish our inner desires or accumulated sanskaras. Mudra also helps us redeem ourselves from lower world consciousness to achieve higher divine consciousness.
There are three types of Mudras:
- Yoga and Meditation Mudra
- Mudra in the configuration of one’s body.
- Hand and finger movement Mudra to trigger energy flow – The five fingers of the human hand have distinct significance such as thumb indicates fire, the forefinger – vaya (air), middle finger – akash (space or ether), ring finger – prithvi (earth), and little finger – jal (water). Via combinations of fingers proper balance of the five elements can be attained in human life.
- Jnana (Gyan) Mudra – It is formed by different combinations of touching the tips of the fingers and thumb together. It helps in attaining a union between fire and air. This Mudra is also known as ‘Finger lock Mudra’ or ‘The Mudra of Knowledge’. It helps in gaining sharp memory and enhanced mental concentration.
Different Usages of Mudra
Mudras in essence have both spiritual and physiological dimensions. Religious Mudras such as Anjali Mudra (Prayer Mudra) also has numerous therapeutic usages. Mudras ensure uninhibited flow of energy through the Nadis and help in gaining self-consciousness. Simultaneously, Mudras are considered as ‘seals’ i.e. stamp, gestures, currency or a body position with some expressions on face. Mudras find references even in the traditional spiritual practices and philosophies. Such mythical gestures engage the whole human body to attain divine postures and optimum balance.
Types of Mudra
In Gyan Mudra, the index finger and the thumb are gently brought in contact with each other while the other fingers are kept upright. Even great thinkers such as Guru Nanak, Mahavira, Christ, Buddha are found in similar pose. It ensures mental balance and spiritual harmony.
Apan Vayu Mudra
In this Mudra, the forefinger is folded down to touch the mound of the thumb while the little finger is held erect. It is also regarded as an immediate first aid measure for heart attacks.
In this type of Mudra, both the little finger and ring finger points touch the tip of the thumb lightly. It enhances vitality and vibrancy of the body.
In this type of Mudra, the little finger of one hand gently touches the ring finger of the other. It heals rheumatic inflammation and boosts intellect.
This Mudra requires joining the middle and ring finger to the tip of the thumb while the forefinger and little finger are kept upright. This provides remedy to urinary and excretary problems.
In this Mudra, palms are locked with each other keeping one thumb upright. The erect thumb is encircled by the other thumb and index finger. This aids resisting cold, cough, chest infection and obesity.
In this Mudra, middle finger is brought down to touch the palm and bring the padding of the thumb onto it. It helps in treating Ear-Nose-Throat problems.
Similar to Gyan Mudra, in this Mudra the tip of the little finger and that of the thumb is touched with each other while other fingers are kept upright. It ensures proper hydration of the physiology.
Originations of Mudras
Nothing substantial is evident yet to ascertain the origins of the Mudras. Mudras have been practiced cross-culture over a long period of time. It has been an integral part of both Hinduism and Buddhism. The earliest reference of Mudras has been found in Hindu documentations such as Mantra Shastra, Nritya Shastra, and Upasana Shastra.
As mentioned in Srimad Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna was in the posture of Gyan Mudra while imparting the knowledge of Bhagavad-Gita to Arjuna.
Prapannapaarijaataaya totravetreka paanaye,
gyaan mudraaya Krishnaaya geetaamritaa duhe namah
- The Babylonian culture depicts God Damuzi in a specific Mudra.
- Both Jainism and Sikhism depict Swami Swami Mahavir Jain and Guru Nanak Dev in Gyan Mudra.
- Both Egyptian hieroglyphics and Roman art are treasure trove of Mudras.
To attain physical, mental and spiritual harmony appropriate usage of Mudra in combination with requisite Yoga is a fundamental requirement.
Supreme sciences which help in better understanding of human mind and body are below mentioned –
Mudra Vigyan – The science of finger postures
Kayakalpa – The science of rejuvenation
Vigyan- Divine knowledge
Brahma Vidya – Theosophy
Pranvinimaya Vidya – The science of curing the sick and the defective
Surya Vigyan – The science of solar energy
Punarjanma Vigyan – The science of reincarnation
Deerghayu Vidya – The science of longevity
Swar Vigyan – The science of sounds
Rasayan Vigyan – The science of Alchemy
Mantra Vigyan – The science of spiritual incantation
Samyad Preshan Vidya – The science of Telepathy etc
Mudras In Therapy
As per The World Health Organization, good health is – “A state of complete physical, mental and social well being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Therapeutic effects of Mudras are innumerable and they fundamentally influence the basic parameters of health. Mudras directly and positively influence the energy flow mechanism of the human body and thereby help in attainment of physical, spiritual and emotional harmony. Once, these vital parameters are stabilized through positive influence, a vibrant and blissful health is inevitably achieved. In combination with Mudras, the therapeutic effect is exponentially multiplied and hence vitalizes human health.