The 9 head gestures, named by those well-versed in the rules of natyashastra are called the shirobhedas. The shirobheda shloka is as follows:
Samamudvahitam adhomukhamalolitam dhutam||
Kampitam cha paravrittamutkshiptam parivaahitam||
Navadhaa kathitam sheersham natayashastravisharadaiha||
The explanation of each shirobheda alongwith its shloka is given below:
- SAMA: Nishchalam samam akhyatam yatnatyunnati varjitam|
Nrityarambhe japadou cha garwe pranaya kopayoh||
Stambhane nishkriyatwe cha samashirsha mudarhatam|
MEANING: When the head is motionless or straight, not bent or raised.
USES: Samam is used in the beginning of the dance, in sitting for prayers, in pride, feigned anger of love, stupefication and cessation of action.
- UDVAHITAM: Udvaahita shiro jneya murdhdhwabhaga unnataananam|
Dhwaje chandre cha gagane parwate vyomagamishu||
Tungavastuni samyojya mudvahito budhaiha|
MEANING: When the face is raised, it is in udvahita position
USES: Flag, moon, sky, mountain, flying or celestial bodies moving in the sky and very high objects are shown with udvahitam.
- ADHOMUKHAM: Adhasthanamita vaktra madhomukhamiritam|
Lajja kheda pranameshu dushchinta murchhayoh tatha||
Adhasthitartha nirdeshe yujyate ambunimajjane|
MEANING: When the face is cast down, the head is in adhomukham position.
USES: Shyness, sorrow, bowing to elders, evil thoughts, fainting, looking at objects on the earth, taking a dip in the water are denoted with adhomukham.
- ALOLITAM: Mandalakara mudbhranta malolitam shiro bhavet||
Nidrodwega grahaavesha madamurchhasu tanmatam|
Bhramane vikatodaama hasye calolitam sirah||
MEANING: When the head moves in a circle, it becomes alolitam sirah.
USES: To denote sleepiness, possessed by an evil spirit, ego, fainting, intoxication, following objects traveling above the head and wild, uncontrollable laughter is denoted by alolitam.
- DHUTAM: Vamadakshina bhageshu chalitam tatdhutam siah|
Nastiti vachane bhuyah parsawadeshsaavalokane||
Jaashwaase vismaye cha vishade anipsite tathaa|
Sitarte jwarite bheete sadyah peetaasave tatha||
Yuddhe yatne nishedhe cha amarshe swaangaveekshane|
Paarsawaahane cha tasyoktaha prayogo bharataadibhih||
MEANING: When the head is moved to and fro from left to right and right to left, it is dhutam shirah.
USES: Denial, looking to the sides, discussing with /consoling people, astonishment, sadness, unwillingness, effect of cold, fever, drinking liquor, making efforts for battle, rejection/refusal, glancing at one’s own limbs, summoning from both sides.
- KAMPITAM: Urdhwaadhobhaaga chalitam tacchirah kampitam bhavet|
Roshe tishtheti vachane prashne samkhyopahutayoh ||
Aavaahane tarjane cha kampitam viniyujyte|
MEANING: When the head is shaken up and down, it is called kampitam sirah.
USES: Anger/ offence, to say halt, questioning, summoning, inviting the deities, threatening.
- PARAVRITTAM: Paranmukhikritam shirsham paraavrittameeritam|
Tatkaaryam kopalajjaadikrite vaktraapasarane||
Anaadare kache tunyam paraavritta siro bhavet|
MEANING: When the head is quickly turned to one side, it is called paraavrittam.
USES: Commanding, anger, shyness, turning the face away, slighting/aversion, catching one’s own hair and quivering.
- UTKSHIPTAM: Paarshwordhwabhaaga calitam utkshiptam kathyate sirah|
Grhaanaagacche etyaadaartha sucane pariposhane||
Angigaare prayoktavya mutkshiptam naama seershakam|
MEANING: When the head is turned to a side and raised, it becomes utkshipta sirah.
USES: To command or request, cherishing or supporting, assent or acceptance.
- PARIVAAHITAM: Paarswayoh caamaramivanatam cet parivaahitam|
Mohe ca virahe stotre samtoshe cha anumodane||
Vichaare cha prayoktavyam parivaahita seershakam|
MEANING: When the head is moved side to side very fast, it is called Parivaahitam.
USES: Infatuation, yearning for the separated lover, praising the deities, satisfaction, approval, deep thinking in sorrow or reflection.