Jnana Mudra (Gyan or Dhyana Mudra) Posture, Benefits

The word meaning of jnana is wisdom or knowledge; hence jnana mudra is the gesture of intuitive knowledge. Knowledge is known as Gyan in Hindi. So the name Gyan Mudra. 

It is also called Dhyana mudra. Dhyana means meditation. This symbol is frequently used in meditation.

Mahabhuta involved

Mahabhuta (Basic elements) involved: agni (fire) and vayu (wind) in the balanced state as the tips are joined.
Read related: Mudra – The Science Of Gesture: Benefits, Types, How To Practice

Procedure, benefits

Procedure of Jnana Mudra:
Sit in any comfortable posture with relaxed body and mind. Join the tips of thumb and index finger of both the hands with the palms facing downwards. Straighten the other three fingers of both the hands so that they are slightly apart and relaxed. Place the hands on the knees. Concentrate on breathing pattern.

Benefits of Gyan Mudra: 

  • It creates a circuit which allows the energy that would dissipate into the environment to travel back through the body and up to the brain.
  • It promotes concentration
  • It calms and stabilizes mind.
  • Regular practice of this mudra boosts memory.
  • It improves sleep

Posture

  • Mudra should be practiced with both hands.
  • There should be mild pressure between the touching fingers.
  • Keep unused fingers reasonably straight but not rigid; as far as possible do not move the fingers or arms while practicing mudras

Time

  • The best time for the Sadhana is in the morning.
  • Mudras should not be practiced for half to one hour after the meals
  • Mudras can be safely practiced in 15-20 minutes sittings, 2-3 times a day or single sittings of 30 – 45 minutes.

Variations

According to Bihar school of yoga, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, explains that Jnana mudra and Chin mudra may also be practiced with the index fingers folded so that they touch the inside root of the thumbs. This variation may seem to be more secure to the beginners for prolonged periods of meditation, as the thumb and index finger tend to separate more easily when body awareness is lost.

Note:
Symbolically the middle, ring and little finger represent the three gunas(quality) of nature: sattva-luminosity and harmony; rajas-activity and creativity; and tamas-stability. These 3 states must be transcended in order to consciousness to pass through from ignorance to knowledge. The index finger represents individual consciousness, the jivatma, and the thumb symbolizes supreme consciousness.

In both jnana and chin mudra, the individual consciousness (index finger) is bowing to the supreme consciousness (thumb) acknowledging its unsurpassed power. In the practice of these mudras, the effect is very subtle and it requires great sensitivity of the practitioner to perceive the changes in consciousness.

By Dr. Smitha Bhat
Alva’s Ayurveda Medical College,
Moodabidri, Karnataka
E mail- [email protected]

Should the fingers be straight?

What should be the position of the last three fingers in Jnana Mudra? Should they be straight or curved? 
Dr JV Hebbar

Jnana mudra / Gyan mudra is a famous hand position for meditation, intended to improve knowledge, concentration and calmness of the mind. 
Experts are divided on the issue of other fingers being straight or curved.
As per my little research, around 80% of experts say the rest of the fingers should be straight. The general advice is keep them straight but not rigid. 
While doing meditation with any mudras, as the mind starts concentrating inward, the body-consciousness goes away. So, while we start the meditation with the prescribed Mudra with exact finger position and straightness, as meditation progresses, the straightness or curvedness of fingers does not matter. 

What would matter is how inward and upward your mind can travel. 
Straightness of thoughts is more important than straightness of fingers 🙂 

While practicing meditation with Jnana mudra, if you feel comfortable with straight fingers, think this way. 
“Straight fingers are symbolizing my inner prayer that my behavior, speech and mental thoughts be straight, honest, ethical and truthful (and not crooked).”

If you feel comfortable with slightly bent fingers with this Mudra, while meditating, think this way. 
“Let my mind bend in humbleness and surrender at the holy feet of my Deity. Let my mind always be humble, thinking that my consciousness is a tiny part of the universal consciousness. Like these bent fingers, let my mind be always humble that knowledge is a big ocean and I have just consumed just one drop of it.”    

I learnt from Divine Park Trust (R.) that, be it meditation or religious / spiritual practices such as Pooja, Arati etc., we should make up our mind to come up with such thoughts to make the procedure more meaningful. 
For example, we do the Arathi of God in a circular direction, as if we are writing a zero. 
While we do Arathi, we can think that  “I am zero in front of my Deity and my Deity is my hero.”
Read: Meditation By Watching Mind: Stages, Method, Benefits

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