We, humans, are all tempted to fulfill our desires and are always curious to find out ways to accomplish them.
Would you like it if you find a hand gesture that leads you to a path of getting whatever you wished for? If it is so, then, Varada mudra is what you need to explore and practice.
Varada Mudra is one of the hand gestures used in yoga, meditation, and some religious traditions. It is performed with the left hand hung loosely by the side in a seated pose with the palm facing forward and fingers pointing to the ground.
It is a gesture of giving often portrayed in the statues of Buddha and Hindu Gods. Read further about Varada mudra to explore its benefits and to reveal your concealed benevolent nature.
Varada Mudra Meaning
Varada Mudra is a term derived from Sanskrit root. Here, “Varada” refers to “granting of wishes” or “boons” and mudra is “hand seal” or “gesture”.
The open hand with the fingers pointed to the ground represents supreme power (God) is ready to grant a wish or bestow blessings to the believer. Its resultant effect is getting a wish fulfilled, hence the name.
It signifies generous feelings like charity, compassion, and sincerity. Therefore, also known as a generosity gesture. It is also translated as Favorable mudra.
Symbolically, Varada mudra is viewed as a gesture of giving and forgiving.
Those with open hearts always have open hands.
As the open heart and open hands go together, therefore Varada mudra also forms a connection between giving and forgiving. This giving and forgiving nature make the practitioner richly blessed.
The five extended fingers while displaying Varada mudra express five perfections. These are:
- Meditative concentration
Along with being a meditative hasta mudra, there are various religious beliefs and significance associated with Varada mudra. It is seen as iconography or in statues of deities of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
In Hindu Religion
In the Hindu religion, Varada mudra is often depicted in the statues of Lord Vishnu bestowing blessings or boons to his believers. The combined practice of Varada and Abhaya mudra represents the sustenance function of Lord Vishnu and Shri Lakshmi.
To a practitioner who performs this mudra, Shridevi (a form of Lakshmi) says –
Don’t worry, I will give you the boons for your material enjoyment!
~ Shri Lakshmi
Some statues of Lord Shiva are also available displaying this mudra.
Its significance in Hindu religion traced back from the ancients texts and treatises like Pancaratra, Shilpashastra, Padmasaṃhitā, and Vaikhanasa-agamas.
In Buddhist Religion
In Buddhism, the monks and other practitioners use Varada mudra in spiritual exercises of ritual and concentration. It is majorly used in Buddha statues of Southeast Asia. Thus it is also among one of the Buddha mudras.
In India, it is also depicted in the images of Bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara from the Gupta period of the 4th or 5th centuries 1.
Another important Buddhist figure who is often depicted holding Varada mudra is Ratnasambhava. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Ratnasambhava is one of 5 Dhyani Buddhas. However, he’s depicted holding this mudra with the right hand and left hand resting on the lap holding a shining jewel is a symbol of Bodhichitta as the highest value in Buddhism 2.
Varada Mudra is a key that unlocks the door of the wisdom of sameness and prevents the delusion of pride.
Practice this mudra as a hand gesture during meditation. It leads you to a prosperous and fulfilled life to receive the shower of blessings.
How to Do Varada mudra
- Sit in a meditative posture with an erect spine.
- Place the hands on your knees.
- Open the left palm forward so that the palm lies above the fingers.
- All the fingers are kept extended or slightly bent towards the ground.
Hold Varada mudra as long as comfortably possible during the meditative sessions.
Varada mudra and Abhaya mudra
Varada mudra is generally practiced in conjunction with Abhaya mudra (gesture of fearlessness). Visually, it is the exact opposite mudra of Varada mudra practiced by opening the palm and extending the fingers upward.
Varada mudra expresses the bestowed nature of supreme power to fulfill the believer’s materialistic desires.
It is the need of every individual to experience materialistic pleasure as well as liberation afterlife. However, the liberation experience is more important than earthly possession.
The active use of the right hand is dominating among most of the individuals, hence the important experience symbolizing gesture (Abhaya) is performed with the right hand and Varada with the left.
In Japan, practicing Varada and Abhaya mudra together is known as Segan Semui-in or Yogan Semui-in.
Benefits of Varada Mudra
- Varada mudra develops the capacity to forgive others.
- It develops empathy, calmness, concentrating abilities.
- Makes the practitioner humble and improves the generous or helping nature.
- Varada mudra prevents negative forces like greed, anger, and delusion.
In this busy world full of misery, conspiracy, and brutality, it is important to stay sentient. Varada mudra gives you the potential to move on with life having a positive and kind attitude.
- Gupta period (c. 4th–6th centuries CE) https://www.britannica.com/art/South-Asian-arts/Gupta-period-c-4th-6th-centuries-ce
- Ratnasambhava https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratnasambhava