The word manduki means ‘frog’ and mudra means ‘psychic attitude’. This kriya is therefore known as ‘the frog psychic attitude’. In figure 1 of the accompanying picture we have shown the traditional sitting pose of this kriya. If you use a little imagination you will see that it does resemble the sitting position of a frog.
This practice is also widely called manduki kriya.
In the Bhagavad Gita it says: “Let him (the sadhaka) hold his body, head and neck erect and motionless and gaze at the nosetip without looking elsewhere.” (v. 6:13)
This verse describes both nasikagra drishti and manduki mudra, since they are very similar. The purpose of the practise is to make the mind one-pointed, calm and receptive.
Manduki mudra is mentioned in the Gherand Samhita (v. 3:57-58); and also in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (v. 1:53) under the name ‘bhadrasana’.
The art of nose tip gazing
The purpose of gazing at the tip of the nose is to calm the disturbances and fluctuations of the mind, at the same time to balance ida and pingala, in this case to bring balance between extroversion and introversion. This is exquisitely and lucidly described in the Chinese scriptures called Tai Chin Hua Tzung Chili translated by Wilhelm: “What then is really meant by this? The expression tip of the nose’ is very cleverly chosen. The nose must serve the eyes as a guideline. If one is not guided by the nose either one opens the eyes too wide and looks into the distance so that the nose is not seen, or the lids shut too much so that the eyes are not seen. But when the eyes are opened too wide, one makes the mistake of directing them outwards, thereby one is easily distracted (by outer events). If they are closed too much, one makes the mistake of letting them turn inwards, thereby one easily sinks into a dreamy reverie (lost in thoughts; unawareness). Only when the eyelids are lowered properly, halfway, is the tip of the nose seen in just the right way. Therefore, it is taken as a guideline …”
Thus there is great significance and reason behind nose tip gazing. It balances the ida and pingala and leads to awakening of sushumna. It therefore leads directly to meditation if it is perfected. This is the reason for nose tip gazing in manduki mudra.
In Sanskrit, nose tip gazing is called nasikagra drishti or agochari mudra.