Towards Understanding Hindu Culture, Rituals and Traditions….Part Fifteen (MUDRA VIGYAN)


(The ancient Christian pictures of Lord Jesus Christ often depict the right hand of Christ in a kind of mudra – which is, in essence, PRAN MUDRA – or a variation of Pran Mudra. The Buddha is often depicted with his right hand having the beads/rosary in a similar Mudra in many temples and sculptures. Many Hindu Gods and Goddesses have their hands in many mudras……The act of praying, which joins both the hands with the fingers of each hand touching each other, is actually an equalling/annulling of all the elemental energies in the human body to allow the cosmic power to enter the human body……)

pran mudraMudra Vigyan tells us that the five fingers represent the five elements. The thumb represents fire energy, the forefinger represents air energy, the middle finger represents Aakaash (or vacuum) the ring finger represents earth energy, and the little finger, represents water energy.

Yogis and Saints use the fingers to adjust or manipulate the different energies of the elements in the human body. Indian systems of alternate medicine often uses the science behind Mudra Vigyan to cure diseases or disorders. The collective human consciousness often adopts natural laws and natural truths to inculcate them in ordinary expressions in day to day existence. For example, the most common symbol for hitching a hike or asking a lift, is to raise the thumb keeping all other fingers closed. The five fingers represent the five elements – and among all the elements, FIRE is the most visible. Then is it any wonder that the collective human consciousness has adopted the thumbs up sign to signal a lift?

thumbs up

Again, when the student in the class wants to go for urinals, what finger does the student raise? The little finger! The little finger, represents the water element. Is it any wonder that the collective human consciousness has chosen the little finger to express the need to go to the urinals? And also, the most abnoxious use of the middle finger – used in many movies and which is a common expression of expressing distaste, tells the other, that the other person is “shunya” – zero – as the middle finger represents aakaash – vacuum – The person showing this mudra, is unconsciously telling the other, “I will consign you to nothingness” – I wonder how many of the people using this sign language know what the middle finger actually stands for.

index fingerWhen a person in “authority” speaks, he/she often uses the index finger, speaking with an “air” of authority! The “I” or the ego of the person is stimulated by the air element, while the person uses the index finger. The “air” of authority is derived from the index finger’s “air” element.
Mudra Vigyan teaches how to connect, short circuit, or enhance the five elements in the body using the fingers. The deities of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses express various mudras in their sculpted form, to denote various elements or forces – and praying to that God or Goddess, one gets attuned to that particular energy. Dance forms effectively enhances the various elements by various mudras performed during the dance.clapsSimple acts like clapping of hands release an enormous amount of elemental energy in the atmosphere – Is it any wonder that applauses always generate the much needed enthusiasm to appreciate? When a person applauds, he/she appreciates the person (on the stage/on the dais/on the screen- etc) from the bottom of his/her being – the elemental way! Clapping of hands is now incorporated in many yoga classes and laughter therapy classes. It is true that the sound of clapping of hands is one of the best antidotes for depression.

A person who does not give, closes his fists often – such a person will not receive much from the universe as well – because unless one opens his palms to GIVE, will he be able to RECEIVE! – Both giving and receiving requires the palms to be opened – to the forces, powers, and elements of the universe…….

Towards understanding Hindu Culture, rituals and traditions….PART TWO


( Disclaimer : I am no authority on Hinduism, nor is this blog an authority on Rituals and Customs and Traditions – This blog merely tries to bring certain rituals, customs and traditions into perspective. One of the reasons for writing this blog stemmed from a recent incident I had seen where an educated youth was opposing the idea of removing sandals near the puja area. The arguments were on equal footing, and the elderly person was telling the younger one to respect the customs and the younger one was asking for “scientific reasons” for a number of things – So, this is only an ATTEMPT at looking at some of the perspectives…… Also, the blog can only generally address the issue and it is NOT possible to go deep into the topic because customs and traditions stem from various factors all of which cannot be discussed in detail without going into the basis of each belief/custom/tradition/practice.  )

In the great Biblical story of Moses, when Moses, the hero of Exodus, approaches the “burning bush” he is asked to “take off” his sandals. The reason he is told by the “voice of God” from the burning bush is that it was “holy ground” that he was standing upon….

In most of the religions, including Hinduism (even Islam?) one is required to take off his/her shoes/sandals before entering the holy place, be it a temple, sanctum sanctorum or the altar. Even though the reasons appear to be that of general cleanliness, it seems that there is a greater purpose in the simple tradition and custom of not wearing sandals inside the temple. .

In almost all the holy places of worship, it is believed that the cosmic energy from the cosmos is swirling around, by virtue of the place being a meeting point of energies, or by virtue of continued practice of prayer/meditation/ rituals/etc at that point in the temple or place of worship. This is the reason why we feel a sort of peace and quiet when we enter some temple, since that place is saturated with the vibrations of so many prayers/mantras/divine thoughts, which draw the cosmic energy into that place. The person who enters the holy place, becomes a conductor of that cosmic energy. It is believed that when that cosmic energy enters the person, it can cause drastic changes in the person’s physical and astral body if the person does not pass out the energy to the ground. Even though the cosmic energy is positive and beneficial, it is believed that not all human bodies are equipped to handle that kind of energy. (Some pranic healers even avoid healing babies because of this reason).

If, Moses had not obeyed God’s instructions to remove his sandals, the energy coming direct from God (as in the case of Moses and the burning bush) could have burnt or damaged the physical body of Moses – And by removing the sandals, the cosmic energy is earthed to the ground. In the case of Moses, the change in his appearance was visible, as is evidenced by his wife’s reaction when she sees Moses return from the mountain (not all versions of the Bible say this). Just as electricity and Magnetism, Cosmic energy too, is invisible. But we have instruments to measure electricity and Magnetism. And Mankind is yet to develop simple measuring kits/instruments for measuring cosmic energy. Experiments have been conducted by various organizations to study the holy water used in the Kalasam kept during Homams and Yagams  – and changes in the water molecules have been noticed, some of which have even been published.

However, simply because the Cosmic energy cannot be measured as yet, skeptics have been dismissing the theory that energy may be there in the ether. However, those interested in utilizing or using this energy need not necessarily start studying these invisible currents as it may take hundreds of years before instruments to measure or detect such rays are invented. Humanity did not know about X-Rays before they were discovered. Humanity did not know about electrical energy before it was discovered. But our ancient rishis and saints and siddhars have studied and mastered this energy. Sri Ramakrishna tells an interesting story of the mango grove where a person who is interested in eating mangoes, simply plucks the mangoes and eats, instead of the studious person who starts counting the leaves, the mangoes and branches of the trees and studying them. Similarly, the person who wishes to make use of these currents should go ahead and utilize them instead of trying to reason out the existence of such currents scientifically as it will take many years to physically prove their existence.

Is this not the reason why electric installations have “earthing”, where the wire that is earthed is taken straight to the ground? Just as a building is fitted with a lightning rod, which is connected to the ground to “earth” the electricity flowing out of lightning, the human body needs to earth the cosmic currents, which is why, many schools of thought suggest walking barefoot on dewed grass or ground early in the morning to “reconnect” with the earth energy. This is said to not only activate the earth chakra in the human body, but also to release the negative energy from our body to the ground. There is also the added benefit of activating the acupressure points on the soles…..

And this is the main reason why in places of worship, one is required to take off their sandals or shoes. When the cosmic energy passes through the person, the person is cleansed of any diseased or negative energy by the positive cosmic energy. But I must add here that the same anology of positive energy also applies in the case of negative energy. Which is why, one should always WEAR FOOTWEAR in a place of possible negative energy, like a crematorium, graveyard, etc.

One can safely assume that it is because of this very reason that the ancient sages and rishis and saints used wooden sandals – so that they retained some specific energy and also to ensure that the positive energy that they received was NOT transmitted to the ground! Apart from ancient Indian tradition, Chinese and Japanese traditions also have widespread use of wooden sandals. Wood (Largely cellulose fibers) consists of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms – and why wood is an excellent footwear has to do more with the molecular structure of wood –  The advantages of wooden sandals over leather sandals may take another full blog, so I will stop here.

From dust to dust….The human body, has to go back to the five elements…..but  the earth energy, plays an important part in us, when we are alive….and the one part of our body that is in constant touch with the earth, are our soles……

(To be continued……)