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Jnana mudra


Jnana Mudra: the Mudra of Wisdom


Many of us are familiar with Jnana mudra – thumb and index finger forming a circle with the other three fingers extended, the hands usually resting on the thighs or in the lap.  It is sometimes called the Mudra of Wisdom.  Recently when I was talking to a group and explaining the aim of yoga – to unite body, mind and soul, I spontaneously held up my hand in that position with the palm facing towards me.  The index finger was held down by the thumb, and the other three fingers extending upwards. 


In Jnana mudra the index finger – which in Hindu thought can be seen as representing the ego, is held down and subjugated by the power of the thumb representing the Universal spirit. Another way of looking at it is to see the ego being burned in the power of the fire of Agni, the deity associated with the thumb.


On this occasion however it was the three remaining fingers that were significant.  As I looked at my hand I realised that my `body` finger was my little finger, the smallest of the three – and the least important perhaps.  My `mind` was my ring finger – next in size and the one we think is so important we even girdle it with rings and jewels, we value it so highly.  However the biggest finger of all was my middle finger representing my soul and reaching the highest of all towards the sky and heaven. 


Symbols are only of value when they are meaningful.  Jnana Mudra seen from a different angle taught me the realisation of the relative values of body, mind and soul.


Derek Osborn                                              2006 05 05

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