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Hand gesture for Nirutti


Nirutti is actually said to be one of the Ashta-dikpalas. Ashta-dikpala means guardians of eight direction. Thus Nirutti is said to be guarding the south-west direction. He rides on a lion. His weapon is called the Kundayudha. His consort is Durga. Some times taking Brahma as the centre they form the Navasandhi. ‘Nava’ mean nine and ‘Sandhi’ is directions. Other dikpalas are Indra, Agni, Varuna, Vaayu, Yama, Ishana and Kubera. These hastas are used in the Navasandhi kauthukams.

With reference to dance, Abhinayadarpanam says

Khatavacha shakataschaiva keertitau nirrtti karaha

Thus Nirrtti is represented by holding the Shakata mudra (Bhramara) in the right hand and Khatava hasta in the left hand.


  1. nigamaa

    Being at present devoid of this scripture, I have Samgitaratnakara with me and its names seem to be little different from Abhinayadarpanam. However in the section of combined hand poses it states (185-6):
    Anjali (joined palms) : Anjali is considered to be the placing together of the two palms in the Pataaka pose. This should be applied in saluting deities, preceptors and Brahmana-s by holding it on the head, the face, and the chest, respectively, by men, and in any manner by women.
    end of quote

    Reg. the lion mentioned in Nirutti, I can say this much about the lion: its symbolism varies so much in various cultural epochs, but everytime it has some important, sometimes opposing message. The earliest riddle being probably the lionmen excavated in southern Germany, dated 35.000 to 22.000 BC, it was manufactured from a mammoth (elephant) tusk. In one of the latest books the expert believe it is a religious dancer, because of the way of the limbs depicted. It is believed to a first in the animal headed “gods” I think, many books will yet be written about this.

  2. Murali

    Thanks for your invaluable information on this website. It helps my daughter in her Bharatnatyam works.
    Please, can you post an image of Nirutti? There are so many images of Nirutti on Internet and it’s confusing.

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