varada mudra
   The varada (giving boons) mudra (see MUDRAS) is an important iconic gesture, with the fingers pointing downward and the palm facing straight outward from the body. The open palm indicates that the divinity or personage will bestow bless-ings upon the person who looks upon him or her with respect or devotion. Many iconic divini-ties, particularly those who have more than two hands, give this gesture with a left hand. This ancient mudra is found in the iconography of the Buddhists, Jains (see JAINISM), and Hindus. The BUDDHAS and the Jain TIRTHANKARAS are frequently seen using this hand gesture. This, as may any other mudra, may be used in any Indian dance when divinities are represented.
   Further reading: Eva Rudy Jansen, The Hindu Book of Imagery: The Gods and Their Symbols (Havelte, Holland: Binkey Kok, 1995); Margaret Stutley, An Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography (Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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