A mudrā is a symbolic or ritual gesture used all over the world in olden days. No one knows for sure where and how mudras originated. But they have been in use for millenniums. While some mudrās involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers.
Hinduism shows the earliest recorded knowledge and analysis of Mudras. The earliest documentations are found in Mantra Shastra (the book of incantations), Upasana Shastra (the book of worship and prayers) and the Nritya Shastra (the book of classical dances).
The Babylonian sun God Damuzi depicts Mudras while descending into the underworld. In Islam, the mystical Whirling Dervishes used Hand signs or Mudras for various rites and rituals. In the Occident, cheironomy is the science of hand gestures (mudras). In Christian art Jesus, John the Baptist and Virgin Mary are shown in various Mudras. Reference may be had from the book "The sign Language of the Mysteries" by J.S.M.Ward. Roman art is replete with mudras. Egyptian hieroglyphics are a virtual treasure house of mudras. The postures of their kings and queens even as mummies show them holding mudras.
A brain research paper published in the National Academy of Sciences in November 2009, demonstrated that hand gestures stimulate the same regions of the brain as language.
Fingers, Elements and Emotions:
Your fingers corresponds to the five elements but they also correspond to emotions and the major organs.
• The thumb represents the element earth, the stomach and worry.
• The index finger represents the element metal, the lungs, the large intestine and the emotionsdepression, sadness and grief.
• The middle finger is the element fire, the heart, small intestine, circulatory and respiratory systems, the emotions are impatience and hastiness.
• The ring finger is the element wood and is connected to the liver, gall bladder, nervous system and corresponds to anger.
• The little finger corresponds to water, the kidneys and fear.
By pressing or squeezing the sides of the fingers, according to your needs, you can affect both the emotion and the corresponding organ. It works!
POWERS OF MUDRAS:
Body organs including glands and nerves get stimulated through Mudras. These processes are of great significance in Hatha-Yoga for the sake of physical health and peace of mind. They are extremely useful for the health of various organs, glands and the nervous system. They exercise a control on the physical parts of the body and are particularly essential for concentration of mind.
Mudras can bring about miraculous change and improvement in our body. They generate Powers to provide all round development of mind & body which brings peace and happiness. Some Mudras can balance the elements of the body within 45 minutes while some are fast enough to act within a few seconds. If you practice these mudras regularly you can see the wonderful health benefits.
The thumb and the index finger are brought together in gentle contact, not pressing hard, while all other fingers are kept upright. This is the mudra most people are familiar with. The following verse from Srimad Bhagwad Gita mentions that Lord Krishna was in the posture of Gyan Mudra when he bestowed the knowledge of Gita to Arjuna.
Prapannapaarijaataaya totravetre paanaye,
gyaan mudraaya Krishnaaya geetaamritaa duhe namah
Great thinkers such as Buddha, Mahavir, Christ and Guru Nanak are generally depicted in this pose. Its practice ensures mental peace, concentration, sharpmemory and spiritual feelings.
It cures insomnia and mental disorders, and dissipates tension, depression and drowsiness. This is a must for those who aspire to develop telepathy or wish to acquire extrasensory abilities.
APAN VAYU MUDRA
This mudra is also known as Mritsanjeevini Mudra)
Fold the forefinger down and touch the mound of the thumb. The little finger should be held erect.
It regulates complications of the heart. In a severe heart attack, if administered as a first aid measure within the first two seconds, it provides instant relief.
Touch the points of the little finger and the ring finger to the tip of the thumb lightly.
This is a life-giving mudra, it energizes the body and improves its vitality.
It helps to improve eyesight. A must for those who feel nervous, tired and weak.
Bring the middle finger down to touch the palm and bring the padding of the thumb on top of it, keeping the other fingers straight up.
It reduces an earache within 4 or 5 minutes. It is useful for the hearing impairment and mentally challenged.
A bit like the Gyan Mudra.
Touch the tip of the little finger with the tip of the thumb while the other fingers are kept upright.
Regular practice ensures an optimum level of water in the body and heals all ailments connected with dehydration.
Join the middle finger and the ring finger with the tip of the thumb; the forefinger and the little finger should be held upright.
Provides relief in urinary problems and eases difficulty in labor and delivery. It facilitates the discharge of waste matter from the body and purifies the system.
Join both the palms and lock the facing fingers together, keeping one thumb upright. The upright thumb must be encircled by the other thumb and the index finger.
Makes the body resistant to colds, coughs and chest infections by generating heat in the body, and destroying accumulated phlegm in the chest.
It helps in weight reduction too, but some experts feel that it has to be practiced with restraint.
Keep the index finger on the base of the thumb and press with thumb keeping the other three fingers straight. It prevents all the diseases that occur due to the imbalance of the air.
It helps to cure Rheumatism, Arthritis, Gout, Parkinson's disease and paralysis. It is useful for Cervical Spondylitis, facial paralysis and spasm of neck muscles
Tip of the ring finger touches the tip of the thumb, with the other three fingers stretched out. It reduces all physical weaknesses.
It helps to increase the weight of weak people and improves the complexion of skin and makes the skin to glow. It improves the overall health and enhances the activeness
HOW TO DO MUDRAS:
Mudras can be done in any position. One can be seated, standing, lying down and even walking. If you are seated, sit with your back straight, either with legs crossed or on a straight-backed chair.
The body should be loose and relaxed and cantered. It is important not to be tense because that will hinder the flow of energy.
First Wash your hands with water.
Then rub your hands against each other a few times and hold hands before your Navel Chakra (this will help energy to flow in your hands).
Put your fingers together as described in each Mudra.
When fingers touch the pressure exerted should always be very light and the hands should be relaxed. Just exert that much pressure to feel the flow of energy
Go slow with the Mudras. You should not rush into them but try a few with patience.
(For further details and references you may read M U D R A S - YOGA in your HANDS written by GERTRUD HIRSCHI and detailed writings of Acharya Keshav Das)
Thursday, April 14, 2011
The message caught me by surprise. It said Arjun had called. He had left his mobile number. I returned the call.
“I don’t know if you remember me, Sudharshan sir” the young man said.
“How can I forget you, Arjun?” I said.
He didn’t talk much. He said that he would be coming tomorrow to meet me. My thoughts raced back to the past.
Arjun was studying in the same class in high school with my son Vijay. Vijay was very bright in his studies. But Arjun was considered by the teachers as below average. I was also a teacher in the school. When they reached to ninth standard I was their class teacher.
One day I asked Arjun to go to blackboard to work something out.
He said, “I can’t to do that sir”
I said, “Why not?”
He paused with embarrassment and said slowly, “I am below average student sir. Every teacher knows that”
I looked at him sternly and said, “Don’t ever say that again. Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality”
I became his mentor. I always believed what Goethe said, “Look at a man the way he is, he only becomes worse. But look at him as if he were what he could be, and then he becomes what he should be”. And also I strongly believed that ‘nobody rises to low expectations.’
I took special classes to Arjun. Sometimes he came to my house to study. My son Vijay disliked my efforts to improve Arjun’s learning. He always said that I was wasting my time on that boy. But I gave no importance to his opinion. I said to him, “Vijay, everyone has something special in him. If he can get glimpse of the special-ness and proceed to improve himself, he can make a lot of difference in this world. He can touch millions of people’s lives”. My son simply laughed.
One day I told the same thing to Vijay. He asked. “Sir, Is there some special-ness within me also”
I said, “Yes Arjun”
“But I failed in English and Mathematics. I’m slower than most kids. I’m not as smart as Vijay”
“It doesn’t matter. It just means that you have to work harder. Your grades don’t determine who you are or what you can do in your life”
Education was real struggle for him. But I made demands on him. I made him accountable. I made him to believe that he could do it.
One day I asked him, “When you encounter an obstacle in life, what do you do?”
“I’ll try to overcome it” he said.
“What if you can’t? What if it’s like an equation that can’t be solved?”
He didn’t know what to say.
“If you can’t overcome it,” I said, “You must strike out in a new direction with everything you’ve got”.
“You see,” I added, “we all have setbacks and regrets. The question is what we do with them. If you think deep and try hard, you’ll overcome your obstacles or find a new, possibly better direction.”
It seemed to be very liberating moment for him. He nodded thoughtfully.
Slowly he had begun to do well academically. I was very happy with his progress. In SSLC examination he got very good marks. As his father was transferred to Chennai he went there for higher studies.
My son Vijay was very good in his higher studies but his character changed to worse. Vijay had lost his mother in his childhood. So I wanted to bring him up with extra affection. I realized very late that I spoiled him by my over affection. He turned out somewhat rebellious. He wanted to become very rich quickly. He developed friendship with boys of questionable character. I always taught my son to be a good man. I didn’t know what went wrong. My advice to him didn’t change him.
He said to me, “You are not fit to live in this kali-yuga, father.”
He thought he was right and he tried to prove it. He cited a few examples. I said dryly, “My son, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”
His ambition led him to illegal activities. When he was turned 21, he was arrested by police for forgery of cheques. That hurt me a lot. People asked me “Why did your son do that?” I had no answers. He was released from prison after three years. Within two years of his release he was arrested once again. That time for drug-trafficking. I was pained more deeply than before. I refused to hire a lawyer for him. He called me names. He said that I was heartless person. He said that I was a bad father.
Years passed fast with aching emptiness... Now all these years later Arjun had called….
He came to my house next day. To my lonely life his visit meant a lot. I welcomed him happily. He told me that he was working in Infosys in managerial cadre. I was very happy for him. He didn’t ask about Vijay. He must have heard about him. So he didn’t want to open my wounds by asking about my son.
He took a gold medal from his pocket and gave it to me. He said that it was given to him by an international agency for a successful project submitted by him through the company. It was considered a rare privilege for an engineer.
He said in choked voice, “Sir, You restructured my own picture of who I am. You gave me a larger vision of myself, beyond my mental conditioning and my circumstances. You made me look inside and find my special-ness. You took the time and effort to make a great difference in my life. Without your guidance I would have remained a dull headed boy forever. I don’t know how to thank you. I want you to have this gold medal as a token of my gratitude to you….”
Tears welled up in my eyes. I might have failed as a father. But I have succeeded as a teacher. Suddenly I found some meaning for my past life. I was overwhelmed with emotions I’d never experienced before. My face was drenched in tears. I hugged him and whispered, “I’m so proud of you Arjun…”.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
The quotes are about life and they are favourite of mine. I wish to share them with you. Read and think over them. Some may change your life forever….
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'." – Erma Bombeck
"Life is like writing with a pen. You can cross out your past but you cannot erase it." – Unknown
"Our talents are the gift that God gives to us... What we make of our talents is our gift back to God." - Leo Buscaglia
"When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that
you have a thousand reasons to smile." - Unknown
"There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why." - William Barclay
"Be yourself. The world worships the original." - Ingrid Bergman
"There is only one success, to be able to spend your life in your own way." - Christopher Morley
"Who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet." – German Proverb
"It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute... that gives meaning to our lives." - Anthony Robbins
"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne
"He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much." - Bessie Anderson Stanley
"Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful." - Norman Vincent Peale
"You've got to win in your mind before you win in your life." - John Addison
"There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them." - Denis Waitley
"Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have." - Doris Mortman
"Success of life depends upon keeping one's mind open to opportunity and seizing it when it comes." - Alice Foote MacDougall
Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savoured. - Earl Nightingale
No man is a failure who is enjoying life. -William Feather
Work as though you would live forever, and live as though you would die today. - Og Mandino
Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours. - Dale Carnegie