Explanation of Chinmaya Mudra term. The Sanskrit word chinmaya means ‘manifested consciousness’; in other words, the phenomenal world around us that has arisen from the underlying consciousness.
Chinmaya Mudra Technique
Hold the fingers in the same way as depicted for jnana mudra. Fold the 3 straightened fingers so that the tips touch or point towards the palm. The position of the thumb and index finger remains the same, whether the tips are in contact or if the tip of the index finger presses the root of the thumb. Both are correct. Place the hands on the knees, palms upwards or downwards.
Chinmaya Mudra Symbolic significance
The four folded fingers represent the finite aspects of the world around us. The closed fist shows that the phenomenal world seems to be severely limited, blind and unconscious. The thumb pointing forwards indicates the consciousness and the transcendental aspect of existence that pervades everything. It is often regarded as different to or separate from the material world, yet in fact the manifested universe is really identical with and permeated with consciousness. The material world is linked intimately with consciousness. This is indicated by the contact between the index finger and the thumb.
Furthermore, the folded fingers represent the physical, bioplasmic and mental aspects of life. These are not the complete aspects of man, for there is also consciousness. All of these aspects are intimately linked, yet it is the consciousness that is transcendental and capable of contacting infinity and the whole. This is indicated by the thumb, which points away from the finitude symbolized by the four fingers.
Again this mudra symbolizes yoga – the realization that the individual (four fingers) is identical to and connected directly with consciousness. The four fingers can also represent the gradual unfoldment of higher states of awareness. That is, the little, ring and middle fingers represent different facets of the material world, from stones and trees to animals and birds, all becoming increasingly aware. Eventually there is man, who seems to be no more than mind and body yet as far as we know, man alone can develop awareness sufficiently to know his integral identity with conscious-ness. This again is shown by the joining of the thumb and index finger.
There are many other hand mudras. Many ancient yogis and sages are depicted while displaying a characteristic mudra. These mudras have symbolic meaning, neuropsychic implications, and they also have the power to evoke forces within the individual. In other words, the individual dwells on and tries to experience the indescribable meaning contained within a mudra. In this way it is possible to call up inner forces which otherwise lie hidden and dormant. This is why mudras are so powerful.
Neuropsychic influences of Chinmaya Mudra
If the reader has read the chapter on prana he will appreciate the significance of the bioplasmic or pranic body. Though we cannot normally detect this more subtle aspect of our being, prana is nevertheless continually flowing within the physical body.
Some of this prana is discharged from the tips of the fingers. The hand mudras are methods of redirecting the prana or bioplasmic energy inwards; that is, the fingers and the hands in contact with the knees close some of these circuits. The prana is kept within the body instead of being lost.
Performance with meditative asanas
These hand mudras should be done in conjunction with meditative asanas. Choose any mudra.
In the meditative asanas such as vajrasana and veerasana, the mudras can still be practised. However, in the case of vajrasana the hands will be placed on the upper part of the thighs instead of the knees, and in veerasana the hands have to be placed either one on top of the other or on the feet.