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Speciality Of Mudras

Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2008 18:28:44 -0000 To: From: NJK Majumdar Subject: Speciality Of Mudras Baba "Bandhu a'ma'r, nikat' a'ma'r, a'mi kii ga'ibo toma'r ga'n..." (P.S. 525) Purport: O' my Bandhu, O' my dearmost, You are my very close and intimate One. What song should I sing to please You. You are aware about my longing. Baba, You are my Love, You are the personification of hope, saturated in sweetness.You are my heart of hearts-- and my everything. Baba, since that very first day when You blessed me by bringing me in Your closeness under Your care, since then by Your grace I have understood that You are my shelter; You are doing everything for me. Also since that very day, with Your divine touch You have blessed me with a new life, O my Bandhu and most intimate one. By Your causeless grace my way of living got transformed from a worldly existence into life divine. Since then everything has become blissful. O' my Lord, on that most blessed day You graciously caressed me with Your soft lotus hand. In that atmosphere of the blissful early morning dawn, the lotus flowers were blossoming in the pond and spreading their aroma all around. Then by Your infinite grace You pulled me very close to You and graciously placed me on Your Lap and loved me; and by placing Your hand on top of my head, You bathed me with divine effulgence. And You granted me ever thing. What You have done is unparalleled. Baba, You are love personified; You are my most dear; You are my everything... Note 1: Usually people think that the term 'Bandhu' means 'friend' but in AM devotional life it is not like that. Bandhu means something much more. Baba says, "'Bandhu' means 'those within the bondage of love'. That is when one can not tolerate the idea of separation it is called 'Bandhu'. Now you see in this world have you got any Bandhu? No. Even your friend, your best friend-- he also did not come at the same time as you and after leaving the cremation ground, there is permanent separation. He will be with you up to the cremation ground. After your cremation he won't be with you. So he is not Bandhu-- he is not friend for he can tolerate the idea of separation." "So who is the real friend? Parama Purusa. When you are in this physical framework-- in this quinquelemental framework, He is with you, with your body, with your mind and with your spirit. After death, He will be with your mind, with your soul. When the body will be lost, the body will become one with the earth but mind and spirit will remain, He will be with you. So He is the real friend, He is the real Bandhu. And there cannot be any mundane friend, mundane Bandhu." (AV-12)
Namaskar, In our Marga, there are numerous practices we have which guide us through our various activities of life. One of which is the use of mudras-because the touch so many aspects of our existence from our dances & salutations (greetings) to sadhana, and more. Indeed as Ananda Margiis not a day goes by where we do not practice a wide selection of mudras.
Of course everyone in AM knows that mudras refer to very specific & deliberate body positions. Often these mudras convey a particular idea and in some cases mudras refer to a more strenuous type of exercise than an asana. Here below is a brief look at the use of mudras in AM life.
Certainly we are all aware about our namaskar mudra. This greeting or salutation pose comes under the category of namah mudras. And by this physical movement we are conveying an particular idea. Baba says, "Mudra is the 'externalisation of an internal feeling' and means 'to express the desires of the mind'." (PNS-18, p.34) Thus in our namaskar mudra we are greeting someone with a particular ideation. Plus we use mudras when we kneel and extend our palms in Guru Puja. Or to pay our respects, reverence and surrender to Guru we lie straight in sastaunga pranam. This also is a type of namah mudra. Then when we offer something to anyone we touch our right elbow with our left hand; this comes within the category of sampradam mudra. Baba says, "One should receive or offer something with the following mudra': Extend the right hand, touching the right elbow with the left hand." (CC-2, 'Social Norms, pt#3) And then of course in our dances whether that be kiirtan or a classical dance of Prabhat Samgiita then mudras are used extensively. In our Baba Nam Kevalam kiirtan we use lalita marmika with its special mudras and in classical dance a wide variety mudras are used. Baba says, "The science of dance recognizes about 850 mudra's [meaningful gestures], such as namo mudra', lalita mudra', barada' mudra', abhaya mudra, am'kusha mudra', maha' mudra', ka'kacaincu mudra', tejasii mudra', a'mbha'sii mudra', pa'rthivii mudra', va'yavii mudra', a'ka'shii mudra'..." (APH-8) And in total, there are thousands and thousands of mudras in human existence. Even to convey our simple answers of 'yes' and 'no' we nod or shake our head in a particular way to convey our answer. This also comes within the category of mudra'. Here Baba describes more about the common use of mudras in daily life. Baba says, "A mudra' expresses Bha'va without creating any sound. For example, if you call someone to come near you, you make a particular movement of your palm [gives Mudra']. When you tell somebody to go away you make another kind of movement with your palm [gives Mudra']. Similarly, when you feel thirsty and need a glass of water to drink you make a particular corresponding Mudra'." (AV-12, "Dances and the Path of Vidya') Thus mudras are a distinct element in the life of any sadhaka. Mudras are used in all spheres of existence: Dance, physico-psychic exercises, ideation, social occasions, offerings etc.
Each mudra play an important role and they give greater meaning to a given activity or practice. So they have deep value. For instance one can do sastaunga pranam mentally, but if one does sastaunga pranam using the proper mudra then that give a greater sense of surrender. And anyone will feel that beneficial effect in their mind. Likewise we can sing kiirtan by sitting down but by dancing kiirtan with the appropriate mudra then naturally more devotional feelings comes in the mind. This is the common experience of all sadhakas. Baba says, "In Lalita Ma'rmika, the position of the arms is above 90 degrees. This denotes that it is a Mudra' - in Sam'skrta it is called a 'Mudra''. This Mudra' means, 'O Supreme Creator, Thou art mine and I am Yours. I am Thine'." (AV-12) Baba says, "Lalita ma'rmika is purely a devotional dance. The elbows must be placed above the 90° position in relation to the shoulders. The upraised hands indicate the spirit of surrender." (May 22, '79, Hannover, Germany) And in our kaoshikii & tandava dances the mudras employed provide tremendous force and make the body, mind, and spirit healthy and strong. So the benefits of mudra are well known.
When used as a form of physico-psychic exercise, mudras have a distinct use that is different from that of an asana. Asana is a position of ease where there is not need to put forth any sustained such as in padmasana or viirasnana. One can easily & comfortably remain in those positions for long periods. But with mudras such as uddayan mudra one has to bend forward and draw the naval point in and hold the breath-- it takes great effort and cannot be held for a long time. Here Baba talks more about the differences between mudras and asanas. Baba says, "Mudra's are postures which exercise the nerves and muscles...The practitioner of mudra' may or may not enjoy physical comfort and mental composure. During the practice of mudra's one has to continue one's conscious endeavour to remain in that posture, but in the case of a'sanas one need not." (YP, 'Q & A on Meditation') Baba says, "A'sanas are calm, quiet and easy postures which are held with proper inhalation and exhalation. They exercise the nerves, tissues, glands and organs of the human body. While practising a'sanas one enjoys physical comfort and mental composure." (YP, 'Q & A on Meditation')
Mudras and asanas in a similar type of way as they both provide either a pressurizing or depressurizing effect on particular gland or sub-gland and that affects the glandular secretions which in turn affects the related propensity. In general, by applying pressure that increases the glandular secretion and that increases the particular propensity. Whereas taking pressure off a particular gland works in the opposite manner. It decreases the secretion and activity of the corresponding propensity. For example we can apply pressure to our manipur cakra by doing mayurasana (peacock pose) or by doing agnisara mudra. Both increase the glandular secretions of that area. And when we do our sarvaungasana (shoulder stand) and matsyamudra (fish) then we are alternately applying pressure and taking pressure off of our thyroid gland. If the thyroid gland is underactive then we should do sarvaungasana and if it is overactive then we must do matsymudra. And for those who are healthy persons then practicing both is ideal.
Here Baba describes in greater detail how our asanas and mudras work. Baba says, "Each and every mudra' affects certain human glands in a particular way and thus influences people's minds accordingly." (NSS, Discourse 2) Baba says, "All a'sanas [and mudras] have either a pressurizing or depressurizing effect on the glands and sub-glands. For example, mayu'ra'sana [peacock posture] has a pressurizing effect on the man'ipuracakra. The secretions of the glands and sub-glands of the man'ipura cakra and the propensities associated with them will become more balanced if this a'sana is practised regularly." "If someone has a great fear of public speaking, it means his man'ipura cakra is weak. Through the regular practice of mayu'ra'sana, this propensity will be controlled and fear will be eliminated." "Other a'sanas [and mudras] may have a depressurizing effect on the man'ipura cakra, and if these a'sanas are performed regularly the glands and sub-glands associated with the cakra will become less active. Increased glandular secretions generally make the propensities more active and vice versa." "By practising a'sanas [and mudras] regularly, one can control the propensities and either increase or decrease their activity. So spiritual aspirants should select the a'sanas they perform very carefully. This effect of a'sanas on glands and sub-glands has never been revealed before." (YP, 1998 Edn.) Thus in day to day life we should be intimately aware how to use mudras in each and every sphere of our existence. Namaskar, Nagendra
When deeply engrossed in this materialistic era, people rush around so much that they do not have time to follow the proper mudra system in their practical life. Indeed they often do not know what mudras are. And instead of eating in a proper manner they eat while driving their car and do the "drive-thru" etc. They feel they have no time to do all things in a proper and systematic way. Instead of properly offering water to someone they just leave it on the table for anyone to grab and they do not politely give it directly in their hand using the correct mudra etc. In that way, in modern materialistic life-- especially in the cities-- everything gets done in a shortcut way. Because of this people are losing their mental balance and composure. What bliss one gets from sastaunga pranam cannot be gotten by just mentally doing sastaunga pranam etc. Now common people are step by step losing the link between their heart and mind-- they are just mechanical in their dealings. This is the sad state or affairs nowadays. Of course for Ananda Margiis it is not like that as by Baba's grace we are moving along the path of dharma in our each and every thought, word, action, & gesture. Even then we should be careful not to fall into that shortcut syndrome of materialistic bent of mind.

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