Why is Mudrakhyam important in Mohinyattam?

Mudrakhyam is the second Hastha mudra specified in the Hastha Lakshana Deepika. This is possibly the most recognised mudra in the world due to its usage in yoga.

In mudrakhyam, the thumb is placed opposite to the index finger touching each other. The other fingers are softly extended. In Vedic philosophy, the index finger represents individual consciousness (Jeevatma) while the thumb represents supreme consciousness (Paramatma). When both fingers touch each other, it represents the culmination of individual consciousness into the supreme consciousness, which is the real essence of yoga and enlightenment.

Usages of mudrakhyam  

Vardhanam (To Grow / To Increase)

Begin by holding both palms in mudrakhya with palms facing the floor at knee level. Using only the wrists, lift the palm up and down making subtle fluttering like movements. Start slowly, increasing the speed progressively. Move the arm up as you progress. When it reaches chest level lift and ‘throw’ the palm upwards, again using only the wrist. This movement is done in conjunction with the eyes. When the palm moves downwards the eyes look down and when the palms lift the lift to look up as well.        

Chalanam (To Shake / Movement)

Hold mudrakhyam in both hands at chest level facing each other. Move the entire arms in a ‘see-saw’ like motion – alternating each arm as they go up and down. The eyes follow the arm that does the downward movement.

Swargam (Heaven)

Touch the palms together in prayer (namaste) slightly above your head. Slowly seperate the palms and form them into mudrakhya mudra facing each other. Eyes gaze up.

Samudram (Sea)

Hold both arms at chest level with both palms in mudrakhya mudra held upright and facing out. Begin to shiver both palms and move the right arm inwards towards the body in a circular manner followed by the left. Repeat this a few times. Eyes move up and down

Sandram (Dense)

Begin by holding the arms at chest level with the palms in mudrakhya mudra horizontally facing the body. Look at the right palm and then the left while moving both palms towards each other and end the viniyoga by interlacing the stretched out fingers.

Vismruthi (Forgetfulness)

Move the left palm facing upwards and the turn it immediately inwards and down in mudrakhya mudra in front of the chest. At the same time move the right arm out and away towards the right side of the body (The action should be similar to throwing away).

Assisted by Sreekanth Janardhanan

Photo Courtesy: Natanakairali Archives


Guru Nirmala Paniker is a danseuse, choreographer and researcher of repute. She established Natanakaisiki, the dance research and training wing of Natanakairali.

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