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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

April 22, 2012

Mudras/Hastas in Mohiniyattam - III (Others)

Continued from [Mudras/Hastas in Mohiniyattam – II]


When the same Mudra is used to portray different words or meanings, that Mudra is called Samaana mudra. According to the context, one will be able to distinguish the meaning. For Example:
  1. To show 'nearby' and 'time', Mohiniyattam uses the Kartarimukha.
    • Holding an inverted Kartharimukha on the right hand and moving it from the left side of the waist to the right side.
  2. To show 'every day' and 'later',  Mohiniyattam uses the Mudrakya &  Soochikamukha
    • Mudrakya is held on the right hand and kept near the left side of the waist facing upwards and then moving the hand to the right side of the waist & changing to an inverted Soochikamukha.
  3. To show 'luck' and 'pure', Mukula is held on the left hand and kept near the forehead and is opened.
  4. To show 'doubt' & 'in thought', Mudrakya is shown moving from the right shoulder to the waist.
The following are examples where similar Mudras are used to portray two different terms:
  • Noble Man & Brave Man
  • Strength & Certainty
  • Hell & Cave
  • Father & Teacher
  • Devotee & Support
  • Affection & Romantic love
  • Delayed & Slow
  • Ethics & Truth
  • Today & Here
  • Number ‘5’ & Flower Bud
  • Time & Near
When a single word is depicted with two different hand gestures, it is called Samanartha MudraThe word Samana artham means “ same meaning”.
E.g. For showing 'singing', either Pathaka or Bhramara is shown on the right side near the mouth. To portray 'the body', either Tripathaka or Kartharimukha is shown as Samyuktha Hasta. To show 'clouds', either Mudrakya or Bhramara is shown as Samyuktha Hasta.


When certain characters or objects are depicted along with the above mentioned Hastas or hand gestures, it is important to develop a natural ‘Bhava’ or expression, only then will the character or the objects get a comprehensive meaning. For E.g.

Noble Man
Roudra interlaced with Bheebhatsa

There are almost pre-set Mudras to show certain expressions, such as:
  • To show 'fear', Bhramara is held on both hands.
  • To show 'anger', Hamsapaksha is held in one hand followed by shaking it.
  • To show 'sadness', Hamsapaksha is held on both hands & the inner palms are closed against each other.
  • To show 'competition', Kartharimukha is held with both hands & turned from palms facing each other to facing against each other.

The 24 Hastas in Mohiniyattam are used at various points for Abhinaya at different circumstances. There are certain Mudras which are used only during Nritha or withing Adavus . These Mudras are known as Nritha Hastas as only these specific Mudras as used for Nritha. Nritha as I have explained earlier is Abstract Movemnet of the Body to music or Swaras in rhythm devoid of expressions. the Nritha Hastas are :-
  • Pathaka
  • Mushti
  • Hamsasya
  • Ardhachandra
  • Tripathaka
  • Oornanabha