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Asamyuta Hastas

According to Natyashastra , a dancer expresses through Angikam (body), Vachikam (words),  Sattvikam(emotions) and Ahaaryam(costume). The most striking feature of Bharatanatyam is the use of hand gestures – Hasthas, (in the Angikabhinaya). It is of great importance both in the enactment of Abhinaya (Expressing emotions) and in Nritta (pure dance gestures)

As per Natyashastra , Hastas are broadly categorised as:

  • Asamyukta/Asamyuta Hastas or Single handed Gestures
  • Samyukta/Samyuta Hastas or Two Handed Gestures.

Each of the hastas can be used to denote various thoughts, ideas and objects.

Asamyukta Hasta Slokam

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 Ashtavimshatireerita!!

HastaMeaningHow to doImage.
PathakamFlagPathakam is done with all fingers held straight with thumb bent. There should be no gap between the fingers.
Tripathakam3 parts of a flagBend the ring finger after doing the Pathakam
ArdhapathakamHalf flagIt is done by bending the little finger after doing the Tripataka.
KartarimukhamScissorsMudra is done with the little finger and the ring finger is bent and pressed against the thumb. While the index finger and the middle finger is stretched to show a scissor.
MayuramPeacockThe ring finger and the tip of the thumb touch each other while the other fingers are held straight without any gap.
ArdhachandranHalf MoonAll the finger are held straight and together except the thumb finger which is held apart.
AralamPetal/ BentIt is done when the Index finger is bent while doing the Pataka Mudra.
ShukathundamParrot’s beakWhen the Ring finger of the Arala mudra is bent we get Shukatunda Hasta.
MushtiFistWhen the four fingers are pressed closely against the palm while the thumb is held tightly between the palm and the other four fingers.
ShikaramThe pinnacle/ topHere all the fingers are bent and pressed against the Palm except the thumb. The thumb is raised and held erect. (thumbs-up Sign)
KapitamWood appleWhile doing Shikhara mudra bend the index finger and press it over the thumb
KatakamukhamBraceletKatakamukha means “Opening in a Bracelet”. Its done by bringing together the index finger, middle finger and the thumb. The ring finger and the little finger are raised at angles as in the video.
SoochiNeedleThe middle finger, ring finger and little finger is pressed against the thumb while the forefinger is held straight.
ChandrakalaDigit of the moonChandrakala means digit of the Moon. Release the thumb in Suchi Mudra and hold it straight
PadmakosamLotus BudAll the fingers are stretched and slightly brought closer to each other.
SarpasirshamHood of CobraHand is held in Pataka Mudra and the fingers are bend from the tip.
MrigaseerishamDeer’s headFingers are bent from the knuckles except for the little finger and the thumb which is held straight
SimhamukhamLion’s faceThe middle finger and the ring finger press against the thumb while the other fingers are held straight
KangulamBudThe middle and the forefingers and the thumb to be separated and the ring finger to be bent
with the little finger raised.
AlapadmamFully bloomed lotusAll fingers turned towards the palm, standing on its side and separated from one another.
Chaturam4 sides of squareThe thumb in Mrigashirsa mudra is held at the base of the Index middle and ring finger
BramharamBeeIndex finger in the Katakamukha mudra is curled and placed in between the middle finger and the thumb
HamsasyamSwan’s beakThumb and the Index finger touch each other at the tips while the other fingers are straight separated and stretched.
HamsapakshakamThe swan/Swan wingsThe three fingers stretched, the little finger raised and thumb bent.
SandamshamTongs/PincersSandamsha involves closing and opening of fingers.
MukulamBudWhen all the five finger are brought together and touch each other at the tip.
TamarachoodaRoosterIndex finger of the Suchi Mudra is bent
TrishoolamTridentThumb and the little finger are bent to meet each other while the index, middle and the ring finger are held straight
Asamyukta Hastas

Each of the above Hasta Mudras have specific usage when used in a dance. Natyashastra also mentions the third kind of Hasta called Nritta Hasta which are purely decorative with no specific meaning. Dance texts also mention combinations of these hand gestures to denote various ideas.

By – Radha Subramanian 

Edited and Published by – Team HSTD (Copyright HSTD)


Published by HSTD

Himalayan School of Traditional Dance is a global initiative founded by Brahmarishi Mohanji, that takes one on a journey to experience awareness, alignment and devotion through the traditional dance forms of Bharat. Himalayan School of Traditional dance brings to you the traditional dance forms in their pure form, available and accessible to one and all.

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