“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
Shiva, Buddha, Saint Nicholas and Jesus are all depicted making similar hand gestures in a number of widely recognized images. To an untrained eye, this could merely be coincidence, but upon further examination it appears that each spiritual teacher might actually be using a yogic “mudra.”
“In the practice of yoga, mudras are basically of two kinds: touching the tips of various fingers with thumb or pressing the first phalangeal joint with the thumb. Depending on which finger is touched or pressed, the effects on the body vary.”
So, with that being said, let’s examine further…
It appears Shiva has his hands positioned in the “Gyan Mudra” which, according to SpiritVoyage.com, is for stimulating the root chakra, and for easing tension and depression. It is also related to the expansion of knowledge, spiritual openness and ease in meditation.
Buddha’s hands seem to be positioned in the “Shuni Mudra,” which helps the practitioner be aware of the moment, and is known as the “seal of patience.” According to RaeIndigoYoga.com: The middle finger represents Aakash and courage to hold duty and responsibility. The thumb represents fire and divine nature. When the two fingers are placed together in Shuni Mudra, it is meant to symbolize and encourage patience, discernment, focus and discipline.
Saint Nicholas of Myra (left) and Jesus (right) appear to have both of their hands positioned in the “Surya Ravi Mudra” or “Prithvi Mudra.” This particular hand mudra is also known as the “seal of life” or “seal of the sun.” The ring finger represents earth, energy, strength and endurance, while the thumb represents fire and divine nature. When the two fingers are placed together in Surya Ravi Mudra, it is meant to symbolize and encourage energy, balance, health and vitality.
Yoga, as a discipline, trains the individual to utilize breath, meditation and the practice of specific bodily postures (such as the mudras) in order to achieve supreme health and relaxation – and although each of these teachers had their own lessons on the nature of our experience of life, the common thread, outside of the mudras, is that each taught love, patience, health, understanding, courage and responsibility. While the synchronicity between the mudras and these teachers is a curious connection – which may just be a random coincidence – it is quite an interesting one nonetheless.