Dance 1 - Mudras Poem by Geeta Radhakrishna Menon

Dance 1 - Mudras

Rating: 4.9

I am a seeker,
A bird soaring high in the sky!
In that moment of flying - - a blissful state in the air,
Where you are free- -full of space,
A vast expanse of azure blue sky!
I move my hands with gestures,
Like ‘Pataka', ‘Mudrakhya', ‘Kataka',
O! Is there a ‘Mushti' of strength?
To break away
From the dwarfed ‘Kartarimukha'!

Yes, of course!
For I am a ‘Shukatunda',
Not just a winged being that can fly,
But a lark as well that can sing,
Plaintive notes, so sweet and melodious!

My hands extend like wings,
My fingers formulating the ‘Mudras'-
‘Kapitha', ‘Hamsapaksha', ‘Shikhara'.
My feet in ‘Samapada' moves softly and gently,
Like a snow-white swan moving in calm waters.

With ‘Hamsasya' it is the beauty of the body
Fulfilling the yearning of the self!
With ‘Anjali'- the palms joined together,
It is the expression of devotion
For the Infinite!

With ‘Ardhachandra'-
The half moon,
Pointing in three directions,
It is life's vicissitudes
Undulating and swaying!

‘Mukura' and ‘Bhramara' are the bees that buzz,
Around the honey- filled blossoms
While' the proud peacock parades its hues.

Is that ‘Suchimukha' pointing a forefinger
At what you are or who?

‘Pallava' and ‘Tripataka',
Cautions you to limit your desires;
‘Mrigashirsa' is the four- legged animal
With two horns, standing firmly on the ground,
Protecting itself from the unpredictable!

Slimy and poisonous
Is the ‘Sarpashursa'
Yet, a friend of Siva,
Curled around his neck,
Like a jewel in the crown!

‘Vardhamanaka' is the ultimate seeker
Of‘Moksha' or salvation.
Depicting the selfish motives is the ‘Arala'
Thoughts wicked
To be thrown out of one's own mind!

And finally, in the ‘Hasta Lakshana Deepika'
We hold the ‘Urnanabha'-
The eternal dish of contentment
Enclosed in the inward-turned bud of ‘Mukula'
Encompassing the eternal values in its
‘Katakamukha' mudra- safe and secure.

With ‘Alapadma' of ‘Abhinayadarpana',
It is Ananda -
The expression of joy -
The fathomless bliss,
That all dancers strive for!

Let me dance, dance and dance,
Like the bird that flies
In the boundless skies,
Higher and higher- farther and farther
Up the wide, blue horizon!

Dance 1 - Mudras
Friday, June 26, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: dance,philosophy,beauty
Mudras are hand gestures used in Indian classical dance. The 24 Mudras mentioned here are taken from the ancient text named ‘Hasta Lakshana Deepika'. These Mudras are utilised in dance styles of Kerala - Mohiniattam and Kathakali.
I have mentioned a Mudra named ‘Alapadma', profusely utilised in Mohiniattam, which is taken from the text called ‘Abhinayadarpana'.

Mudras are essential part of dance that depicts a meaning, portrays an expression, a feeling or emotion.
I have attempted to give a philosophical explanation and interpretation to the Mudras.

This is a photograph of mine in Mohiniattam costume and make up clicked by my husband - Radha krishna Menon.
The Mudra shown here is Kataka Mudra, the third Mudra of Hasta Lakshana Deepika. In this photo, the Mudras depict a necklace.
Bharati Nayak 10 June 2020

'LO BEHOLD' I will exclaim to myself every time I read this poem.I can visualize you on the stage in your Mohini Attam attire dancing to the beats of classical dance in different " Mudras" and transporting the audience to a spiritual feeling.A poem of absolute beauty. Congratulations for being selected the Poet of the Day

4 1 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 10 June 2020

5) Cont. Your transposing these dances in this poem, is for every reader a greatest joy to " know" the dances a bit better. Thank you so much for this greatest effort, my dear Poetess, the only one on Poem Hunter I ever met in Mohiniattam, in Amsterdam years back. Congratulations for being chosen as The Member Poem Of The Day, Dr. Geeta! (yesterday was I that on PH)

3 1 Reply
Chinedu Dike 10 June 2020

Very deep and passionate poem. A piece of great elegance that resonates with the soul. You look absolutely beautiful in the photo— Like a goddess. Remain enriched.

3 1 Reply
Rajnish Manga 22 October 2018

The poem brings to us the essence of Indian Classical Dance in general and Mohiniattam in particular. Various Mudras become perfect sign language for the expression of Rasa and Bhava apart from emotional and devotional sequences. You have dealt with the subject in a scientific manner. Geeta ji, this is indeed a masterpiece which I could not spot earlier. Thanks a lot. It goes into MyPoemList.

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Thank you so much Rajnish ji for spotting this poem and reading it. I think, this is the first poem that i wrote. It came out naturally, as i am daily utilising these Mudras in my dance. The deep meaning and philosophy of dance and Mohiniattam in particular has been projected in this poem. Its always a pleasure to read your review, Rajnish ji.

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Dr Dillip K Swain 30 October 2023

Let me dance, dance and dance, Like the bird that are living a blissful life. Moreover, your exposure, outlook and visit to so many countries and acquisition of knowledge from varieties of people and places have truly added essence and value to your life.

1 0 Reply
Anjandev Roy 21 November 2022

Thanks for sharing this gem......

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Anjandev Roy 21 November 2022

Outstanding piece.

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soren Barrett 01 March 2022

Flying and singing, two forms of freedom the third is poetry which you expressed well

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Unnikrishnan E S 31 December 2021

Happy New Year, Geeta. Stay blessed. In everything you love, poetry, dance, literature, family

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