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  • Writer's pictureGhungroo Academy

Hasthabhinayam (Mudras with meaning and Slokam)

In this article, we will be learning Hasthabhinayam. There are four types of Abhinaya (the art of expression); Angika, Vachika, Aharya and Sattwika.


Angika Abhinaya is where the expression is carried by the different parts of the body. This is divided into three i.e. Anga (major limbs), Pratyanga (minor limbs) and Upanga (subsidiary limbs). There are 6 Anga. They are Shira, Hasta, Kati, Vakshasthala, Parshwa and Pada. Among these 6 Angas, Hastas play an important role in Natya, Nritta, Nritya. They are the basic tool used for explaining the meaning of the songs and texts, etc used in theatre and dance. While dancing the performer don’t speak (except in few classical Indian dance forms) like in theatre. While dancing the dancer uses these hand gestures to communicate the meaning of the song to the audience.


The word Hasta Mudra means Hand gestures. These are divided into two main categories i.e Asamyutha hastas (the word "A-Samyutha" means "Not-Joint". These are also called single-handed gestures) and Samyutha Hastas (the word "Samyutha" means "Joint". These are also called double-handed gestures).


ASAMYUTHA HASTAS


According to Abhinayadarpanam:


Abhianyadarpana is a text on Abhinaya by Acharya Nandikeshwara written in around 11th - 12th century. This text contains 324 verses. Here, Acharya has described 28 AsamyutaHastas with a detailed description of their uses (Viniyogas). The 28 Asamyuta Hastas according to Abhinaya Darpana are:

  1. Pataka: It is made by stretching the fingers straight and together and the thumb bent at the base of the index finger.

  2. Tripataka: In Pataka Hasta when the ring finger is bent it becomes Tripataka Hasta.

  3. Ardhapataka: By bending the little finger in Tripataka Hasta we get Ardhapataka Hasta.

  4. Kartarimukha: In tripataka hasta when the index finger splits and goes back of middle finger, it is called as Kartarimukha Hasta.

  5. Mayura: When the tips of ring finger and thumb come together in Kartarimukha Hasta it becomes Mayura Hasta.

  6. Ardhachandra: In Pataka if the thumb is stretch straight it becomes Ardhachandra Hasta.

  7. Arala: In Pataka when the index finger is bent it is called Arala Hasta.

  8. Shukatunda: When the ring finger is bent in Arala Hasta it becomes Shukatunda Hasta.

  9. Mushti: When all the fingers are bent and their tips are touching the palm and thumb is set on them; it is Mushti Hasta.

  10. Shikhara: In Mushti Hasta if the thumb is stretched upwards it becomes Shikhara Hasta.

  11. Kapittha: When the index finger is put on the thumb of Shikar, it is called Kapittha Hasta.

  12. Katakamukha: When the tips of index and middle finger touches the tip of thumb and rest two fingers are stretched upwards is becomes Katakamukha Hasta.

  13. Soochi: When in Mushti the index finger is stretched upwards it becomes Soochi Hasta.

  14. Chandrakala: When the thumb of Soochi Hasta is released and stretched upwards it becomes Chandrakala Hasta.

  15. Padmakosha: If all the five fingers are spread and bent from base and their tips are not together it is called Padmakosha Hasta.

  16. Sarpasheersha: The description goes like when the tips of Pataka Hasta are slightly bent it becomes Sarpasheersha Hasta.

  17. Mrigasheersha: If the little finger and thumb are stretched in Sarpasheersha it becomes Mrigasheersha Hasta.

  18. Simhamukha: When the tips of middle and ring fingers touch that of thumb and rest two fingers are stretched upwards it is called Simhamukha Hasta.

  19. Kangula: In Padmakosha Hasta, if the ring finger is bent inside the palm it becomes Kangula Hasta.

  20. Alapadma: If the fingers are apart and bent from side towards the palm it is called Alapadma Hasta.

  21. Chatura: When the first three fingers are bent from their base and the tip of the thumb touches the base of the ring finger and the little finger is stretched upwards it is called Chatura Hasta.

  22. Bhramara: If the tip of the middle finger touches that of the thumb, the index finger is bent and touches the base of the thumb, rest two finger are stretched upwards then it is known as Bhramara Hasta.

  23. Hamsaya: If the tip of the index finger and thumb are together and rest three fingers are stretched and apart from each other it becomes Hamsasya Hasta.

  24. Hamsapaksha: When the little finger in Sarpasheersha is stretched upwards it is called Hamsapaksha.

  25. Samdamsha: When the fingers of the Padmakosha Hasta are are joined and separated repeatedly; it becomes Samdamsha Hasta.

  26. Mukula: If the fingers of Padmakosha Hasta are joined together from the tips, it is known as Mukula Hasta.

  27. Tamrachuda: If the index finger is open and slightly bent in Mukula Hasta, it is known as Tamrachuda Hasta.

  28. Trishoola: If the little finger and the thumb are bent and joined, and rest three fingers are open and spread it is called Trishoola Hasta.

The verse for the 28 Asamyuta Hasta in Abhinayadarpana –


“Pathakas Tripathako Ardhapathakas Kartharimukhaha

Mayoorakhyo Ardhachandrascha Araala Shukathundakaha

Mushtischa Shikharakhyascha Kapitha Katakhamukhaha

Suchi Chandrakhala Padmakosha Sarparhirasthathaa

Mrigashirsha Simhamukhaha Kaangoolascha Alapadmakaha

Chaturo Bhramaraschaiva Hamsasyo Hamsapakshakaha

Samdamsho Mukulaschaiva Thaamrachoodas Trisoolakaha

Ithyaasamyukta Hastanam Ashtavimshati reerita”



According to Natyashastram:


Natyashastra, dealing with different aspects of Natya was written by Acharya ShreshthaBharatmuni around 2nd century B.C. The text has 36 chapters describing the basic tools of Natya. In chapter 9th the Asamyuta Hastas have been described in detail. There are 24 Asamyuta Hasta according to Natyasahastra of Bharatmuni.

  1. Pataka: It is made by stretching the fingers straight and together and the thumb bent at the base of the index finger.

  2. Tripataka: In Pataka Hasta when the ring finger is bent it becomes Tripataka Hasta.

  3. Kartarimukha: In tripataka hasta when the index finger splits and goes back of middle finger, it is called as Kartarimukha Hasta.

  4. Ardhachandra: In Pataka if the thumb is stretch straight it becomes Ardhachandra Hasta.

  5. Arala: In Pataka when the index finger is bent it is called Arala Hasta.

  6. Shukatunda: When the ring finger is bent in Arala Hasta it becomes Shukatunda Hasta.

  7. Mushti: When all the fingers are bent and their tips are touching the palm and thumb is set on them; it is Mushti Hasta.

  8. Shikhara: In Mushti Hasta if the thumb is stretched upwards it becomes Shikhara Hasta.

  9. Kapittha: When the index finger is put on the thumb of Shikar, it is called Kapittha Hasta.

  10. Khatakamukha: When the little finger is stretched upwards, the ring finger is stretched straight in Kapittha hasta it becomes Khatakamukha Hasta

  11. Soochyasya: When the little finger is stretched upwards, the ring finger is stretched straight in Kapittha hasta it becomes Khatakamukha Hasta.

  12. Padmakosha: If all the five fingers are spread and bent from base and their tips are not together it is called Padmakosha Hasta.

  13. Sarpasheersha: The description goes like whe the tips of Pataka Hasta are slightly bent it becomes Sarpasheersha Hasta.

  14. Mrigasheersha: If the little finger and thumb are stretched in Sarpasheersha it becomes Mrigasheersha Hasta.

  15. Kangula: In Padmakosha Hasta, if the ring finger is bent inside the palm and the little finger is stretched open it becomes Kangula Hasta.

  16. Alapadma: If the fingers are apart and bent from side towards the palm it is called Alapadma Hasta.

  17. Chatura: When the first three fingers are bent from their base and the tip of the thumb touches the base of the ring finger and the little finger is stretched upwards it is called Chatura Hasta.

  18. Bhramara: If the tip of the middle finger touches that of the thumb, the index finger is bent and touches the base of the thumb, rest two finger are stretched upwards then it is known as Bhramara Hasta.

  19. Hamsaya: In Bhramara Hasta, if the bent index finger is stretched and come in contact with the thumb, it becomes Hamsasya Hasta.

  20. Hamsapaksha: When the three fingers are bent from the base and the little finger is stretched upwards and the thumb rests at the base of the index finger it becomes Hamsapaksha Hasta.

  21. Samdamsha: In Arala Hasta, the index finger is stretched and its tip touches the tip of the thumb repeatedly, it is then called Samdamsh Hasta.

  22. Mukula: When the tips of all the fingers and thumb are together and stretched, it becomes Mukula Hasta

  23. Urnanabha: If the fingers of Padmakosh Hasta are squeezed it becomes Urnanabha Hasta.

  24. Tamrachuda: In Bhramara Hasta, If the ring finger and the little fingers are bent inside the palm, it becomes Tamrachuda Hasta.

The verse for the 24 Asamyuta Hasta in Natyashastra –


"Patakas tripatakascha | tatha vai kartarimukhaha ardhachandro aralascha | shukhatundastathaiva cha mushtischa shikharakyascha | kapitha katakamukaha suchasya padmakoshascha | tatha vai sarpasirshakaha mrigasirsha paro gneyo | hastabhinaya yoktribihi langulo alapadmascha | chaturo bhramarastatha hamsasyo hamsapakshascha | samdamso mukulastatha urnanabha tamrachudaha | chaturvimsadime karaha"






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