Gajahasta, Gaja-hasta: 1 definition



Gajahasta means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

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In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

Gajahasta (गजहस्त) or simply Gaja refers to “elephant trunk” and represents one of the four Elirkai gestures, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—Accordingly, pratimā-lakṣaṇa (body postures of the icons) is comprised of hand gestures (hasta, mudrā or kai-amaiti), stances/poses (āsanas) and inflexions of the body (bhaṅgas). There are thirty-two types of hands [viz., gajahasta] classified into two major groups known as tolirkai (functional and expressive gestures) and elirkai (graceful posture of the hand).

(Description of Gaja-hasta): When the hand is stretched straight out, and the palm slopes downward from the wrist, with the fingers bent gracefully like tendrils on a creeper, this regal mudrā reminiscent of an elephant’s trunk, is called gaja-hasta. The palm in this drawing seems to be in the vainayaki-mudrā; in the well-known Naṭarāja images of Śiva, this mudrā is clearly recognizable. This pose is usually met with in images of gods or goddesses shown in the dancing attitude. Śiva Naṭarāja dancing vigorously on the back of Muyalaka or the apasmara-puruṣa, Nṛtya-Gaṇapati, Kṛṣṇa Kāliya damana, dancing Cāmuṇḍa and such other images has one of their hands in this pose.

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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