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Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattam dancer. Happily married to Dileep Kannan. Mother of a beautiful angel -Tamanna. Daughter of Mr. E.M Haridas & Mrs. Girija Haridas. Daughter-in-law of Dr. K. P Kannan & Mrs. Shobhana Kannan A Disciple of Smt. Shyamala Surendran at Dharani School of Performing Arts, Kochi MFA in Bharatanatyam from SASTRA University under the guidance of Dr. Padma Subramanyam

March 5, 2012

Mudras/Hastas in Mohiniyattam - I

Mudras or Hastas plays the most important role in Angika Abhinaya. It has the place of alphabets in a language. Mudras convey the meaning of a song, helps in expressing an emotion better through gestures according to the situation and hence making it a visual treat for the Rasikas or the audience.

Each of these fingers has a name.
1. Little finger – Kanishta
2. Ring Finger – Anamika
3. Middle Finger – Madhyama
4. Index Finger – Tharjani
5. Thumb – Angushtam
These fingers are used to portray the 24 hand gestures or the Hastas which has been codified in the Hasta Lakshana Deepika which literally means the Lamp showing the Purpose of Hand Gestures (of which the author is unknown). It should been noted that the Asamyutha Hastas (Single Hand Gestures) classified in the Natyashastra is slightly different from those in Hasta Lakshana Deepika. Mohiniyattam follows the Abhinaya concepts written in Hasta Lakshana Deepika and Abhinaya Darpana(Mirror of Gesture) authored by Nandikeswara.

The Sloka for Hasta Lakshana Deepika :-
Hastah PatakoMudrakhya KatakoMushtirithyapi
Kartharimukhasamjascha Shukathunda Kapithakah
Hamsapakshashchah Shikaro Hamsasyah Punaranjali
ArdhachandrashchaMuhuro Bhramaro Soochikamukhah
Pallavastripatakashcha Mrigasheershahoyasthathaah
Punah Sarpashirasamjanjo Vardhamanakarithyapi
Araala Oornanaabhascha Mukhulah Katakamukhah
Chaturvimshathirithyathe Karaashastranjasamathaah
Pathaka, Mudrakya, Katakam, Mushti, Kartharimukha, Shukathunda, Kapithakam, Hamsapaksham, Shikaram, Hamsasyam, Anjali, Ardhachandram, Mukuram, Bhramaram, Soochikamukham, Pallavam, Tripathakam, Mrigasheersham, Sarpashiras, Vardhamanakam, Araalam, Oornanabham, Mukhulam, Katakamukham are the 24 hand gestures.

No Hastas Picture Method
1 Pathaka
The Thumb should be close to the hand. Bend the ring finger from middle. Rest of the fingers are straight up.
2 Mudrakya
The tips of the thumb and the index finger should be touching each other and rest of the fingers are held straight up.
3 Katakam
Keeping the Mudrakya Hasta, fold the middle finger onto the palm near the thumb
4 Mushti Mushti Fold all the fingers like a fist with the thumb across the index finger
5 Kartharimukha Kartarimukha The little finger is pointed up, the index finger, middle finger and ring finger is folded down like showing number 3 and the thumb is placed on the side of the index finger
6 Shukathuda Shukathunda The index finger is held up folded like a hook. Rest of the fingers are folded into the palm with the thumb kept on top of the fingers.
7 Kapitham Kapitha Hold the index finger and middle finger up together. The ring finger & middle finger is folded with the thumb over the folded fingers.
8 Hamsapaksha Hamsapaksha All the fingers are held up
9 Shikhara Shikaram Hold the Kapitha Mudra(No:7) and bring the middle finger forward & index finger back. Like showing scissors
10 Hamsasya Hamsasya The tips of the index finger and middle finger are placed on the tip of the thumb. The other two fingers are held up.
11 Anjali Anjali Hold all the fingers together. The palm should be slightly cupped.
12 Ardhachandra Ardhachandra The palm should be facing up and then open all the fingers.
13 Mukhura 13.Mukhuro The index finger and little finger is held up. The middle finger and ring finger is folded and also slightly bed in a rounded fashion without touching the thumb.
14 Bhramara Bhramaro The index finger is folded and rest of the fingers are pointed up.
15 Soochikamukha Soochikamukha Only the index finger is pointed up like showing the number 1 and rest of the fingers are folded with the thumb across the folded fingers.
16 Pallava Pallava All the fingers are pointed up except the thumb which is kept under the ring finger.
17 Tripataka Tripataka All the fingers are held close together with the tip of the thumb slightly bend
18 Mrigashirsha Mrigashirsha The index finger and little finger is pointed up. The ring finger and the middle finger are folded straight with its tips touching the tip of the thumb.
19 Sarpasiras 19.Sarpasiras All the fingers are held close together with its tip slightly bend on top
20 Vardhamanaka Vardhamanaka Only the thumb is open. All the other fingers are bend with the index finger touching the middle of the thumb and rest on top of the other.
21 Araala Araala The index finger is held straight with the thumb and the middle finger touching either sides of the index finger. The little finger and ring finger is bent.
22 Oornanaabha Oornanabha All the fingers are equally bent forward.
23 Mukula Mukulo All the fingers tips touch each other
24 Katakamukham Katakamukha All the fingers are folded here with the thumb coming out in between the middle finger and ring finger.

These Mudras or hand gestures are portrayed by one hand or both hands at various positions depicting characters, words, describing the lyrics. The placement position of each Mudra is very important as each Mudra held at different positions has a meaning of its own. In the images below, you see the dance holding the same Mudra (Katakam) but the way of holding it is different hence depicting different meanings. In the first image, Katakam is held as a mirror & in the second image Katakams are depicting a flute.
Dancer holding Katakam as flute
Dancer holding Katakam as Mirror

These images  shows the importance of how & where the Mudras should be held.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Hatitha ji,

    This is Chandana from www.gurus247.com . Thanks for sharing your link in our facebook page. Your blog is a joy to read for a dancer like me. We wish you the very best and hope to be in touch