Some hastas are used in classical dance in the same way as when we gesticulate in daily life. For example, we ask ‘Why?’ or ‘Where?’ or use the palm or index finger to point out an object. Sometimes gesticulation is culture-specific. That is, certain gestures have a particular significance in certain regions or cultures. The gesture for ‘Namaste’ or ‘Salam’ are instances of these.
Here is the 10th single-hand gesture in Nandikeswara’s list:
This hasta is simple: A thumbs up sign. Make the hand into a fist. Then lift the thumb up, holding it at an angle of 90 degrees to the fist.
Shikhara is used to show an archer’s bow. The most effective archer is Manmatha, the god of love who shoots flower arrows. Naturally enough, the mudra for Manmatha is made by holding shikhara in the left hand, with the hasta representing the flower arrow in the right. Shikhara is also used to show the pouring of a liquid. It could be poured from one vessel to another, or indicate liquid being drunk, or even oblations to the ancestors. This is because the offerings are poured. Pointing the shikhara in the opposite direction to that in which we usually serve with a ladle shows that this is an oblation to a deceased soul, as this is how it is done in the actual ritual.
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