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Anjali Mudra is also known as Namaskara Mudra, the oldest of Indian gestures. The word “anjali” means “two handfuls”, derived from the cupping of both hands together as if holding something within.
The mudra is displayed by Boddhisattvas and lesser personages who attend upon or pay homage to the Buddha. It is a gesture of salutation, a symbol of respect and devotion to a higher being. The palms of both hands are joined together at chest level, with the right thumb placed over the left in a universal gesture of homage and prayer.
The two hands placed against each other symbolize two inseparable spheres of existence, the spiritual and material. In Buddhist tradition, they are known as Vajradhatu (diamond world) and Garbhadhatu (matrix world). The Anjali Mudra is often seen on images and statues of the many-armed Kannon in Japan.
Anjali Mudra is employed during prostrations, when the joined and cupped hands are placed against the forehead, throat and heart to indicate purity of the mind, speech and body.
Buddha’s hands are depicted in variety of gestures. Each of these gestures is called a “mudra”. In Sanskrit, the word “mudra” (literally, “seal” or “mark of identity”) is a form of non-verbal communication that refers to symbolic gestures imbued with varied spiritual meanings.