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The Gestures, or Mudras

(12) The Giver-of-Happiness Gesture (Shambhavi mudra): For this the mind should be firmly established in the Center of Command (ajna chakra) and the eyesight kept level, fixed on some beautiful imaginary object at a distance of at most a yard (2 cubits) and at least one span of the hand. And whether walking, moving, standing, sitting, sleeping, waking or working, the invisible (alakshya) should be made the object of sight (lakshya). No outside help is necessary for this, it suffices for the outward vision to be changed into the inward vision or introspection (antar-lakshya). This inward vision, by which the meaning of the spoken word is seen to be in accordance with its subtle substratum (madhyama), is called the shambhavi mudra, or "gesture of the Giver-of-Happiness" (Shambhu, i.e. Shiva). It is said to have been practiced by Shiva himself. The Upanishad says: "When the mind dissolves into its inherent bliss this is the gesture of the Giver-of-Happiness. This is also called the Moving-in-the-Void gesture." (Mandala Brahmana Up. 2,18.)

Of the twenty-five Gestures, the Moving-in-the-Void and the Thunderbolt, together with the secondary gestures, the Beating (tadava), the Wearing-of-Garment (paridhana), the Union (yukti) the Moving-Around (parichalana) and the Moving Energy (shakti chalana), should never be attempted without the guidance of a qualified teacher or guru.

For mental concentration in particular, the following gestures are used:

(1) The "Invisible gesture" (agochari) consists in keeping still with the mind concentrated on the tip of the nose.

(2) The "Wandering-on-the-Earth" (bhuchari) consists in fixing the mind on the empty space about four finger breadths from the tip of the nose.

(3) The Black-Bee (chachari), sometimes identified with the Moving-in-the-Void gesture, by which the mind is concentrated on the Center of Command.

In breathing exercises, besides these gestures, the Intoxicated gesture (unmadi mudra) and the Absolute chalice (Kevala Kumbhaka) are used.

In addition, there are certain ritual gestures, the Nyasas, by which some part of the body or a certain thing, is consecrated to a particular deity. There are several of these which should be practiced with breathing exercises, such as (1) the consecration of the hands, (2) the consecration of the different parts of the body, (3) the consecration of the letters of the alphabet, (4) the consecration of the seers, etc.

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