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Hand and fingers are used in Bharatnatyam to make a Mudra or a gesture to communicate multitude of things, situations and emotions. There are two kinds of hand gestures, Sanyukta and Asanyukta hasta mudras. The sanyukta hastas are the gestures made by both the hands combined together. These gestures make use of both the palms together to convey the message or meaning. Its shloka is as follows:


Anjalishcha kapotashcha karkataka swastikastathaa ll
Dolaahastaha pushpaputa utsangaha shivalingakaha l
Katakaavardhanashchaiva kartariswastikastathaa ll
Shakatam shanka chakre cha samputaha paashakilakou l
Matsyaha koormo varaahashcha garudo naagabandhakaha ll
Khatvaa bherenda ityete sankhaata sanyuttaaha karaaha l
Trayaavishatirityuktaha poorvagairbharataadibhiha ll

There are a total of twenty three double hands or Sanyukta hast gestures and each one has its own prescribed uses termed as Viniyoga. These are as follows-:

  1. Anjali: This is used to denote salutation- above the head, front of the face and the chest for deity, preceptor and Bramhana. (For Deva- above head, for Guru_ front of the face, For Bramhana- front of the chest.)
  2. Kapota: This is used to denote a lotus bud at its opening.
  3. Karkata: This is used to denote the coming together of a multitude, belly, twisting or stretching of limbs, pulling down a branch.
  4. Swatika: This is used to denote Dasa or slave , bhakta or devotee.
  5. Dola: This is used to denote dejection, to get rid of.
  6. Pushpaputam: This is used to denote aarti, drinking water, offering to god, inhaling the fragrance of flowers, Shiva’s begging bowl. Pushpaputa in reverse shows dusk.
  7. Utsanga: This is used to denote an embrace, armlets, duty, the strength of muscles.
  8. Shivalinga: This is used to denote Shiva in the form of Linga.
  9. Katakaavardhana: This is used to denote Pattabhishekam (the crowning of Lord Rama). This is used mostly in nritta.
  10. Kartariswatikam: This is used to denote creepers, hill top.
  11. Shakatam: This is used to denote a rakshasa.
  12. Shanka: This is used to denote a conch shell (Paanchjanyam- the conch of Vishnu).
  13. Chakra: This is used to denote the wheel of Lord Vishnu.
  14. Samputa: This is used to denote a boon or a promise, covering things, box, hiding small things.
  15. Paasa: This is used to denote a war between friends, enmity, chains.
  16. Kilakam: This is used to denote friendship, wooing, teasing.
  17. Matsya: This is used to denote a fish.
  18. Koorma: This is used to denote a tortoise.
  19. Varaaha: This is used to denote a boar.
  20. Garuda: This is used to denote the vehicle of Lord Vishnu, Birds.
  21. Nagabandha: This is used to denote serpents or a serpent-tie.
  22. Khatvaa: This is used to denote a bed.
  23. Bherunda: This is used to denote a pair of birds, a mythological bird with two heads.

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