October 24, 2005

Mantras and Mudras

Prof. O. M. Mathew
School of Indian Legal Thought, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala, India
A tidal wave of ritualistic revival is surging both in Hinduism and Christianity. Mantras and Mudras are both employed in Christian Liturgy, in the rites of consecration, epiclesis, benediction, imposition of hands etc. An antiquarian treatise on Tantrikism describes Mudras as ceremonial poses of hands employing symbolic position of fingers. Through these processes, the body expresses and emphasises the intentions of the mind as an orator gives expression to his thoughts and emphasizes them through gestures. So, a Mudra is an idea condensed in symbols. For that reason, the gestures used in the Eucharist are also Mudras. The word `Mudra' comes from the sanskrit roots `Mud' meaning `to please' and `Dravayanti' meaning `to drive away'. Therefore, Mudra means, that which pleases God and drives away demons. Nonetheless, the Tantriks warn that even while the hands are employed, the mind must not wander helter-skelter. Heart and hands are to be employed in tandem.
That is why, Sri Aurobindo, the modern interpreter of Tantrikism remarks `` If worship is purely external, it is of the lowest form. But if done with true consciousness it can bring the greatest possible completion to the adoration''[6]. Written by: Matt Stone at 2005/09/13 - 04:59

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