The lower right hand of the great Lord Natraj is folded in Abhaya mudra. The word Abhay means fearless. Thus, the Abhaya Mudra is the gesture that implies safety and protection. Shiva’s Abhay Mudra promises to protect who ever comes under his grace. This Mudra, is generally used in pictures of gods and goddesses. It is a gesture of blessing.
In this Mudra, the right hand is held open palm facing outwards at shoulder height. The elbow is bent slightly. This Mudra denotes fearlessness and good intentions. The gods and goddesses carry many weapons in their many hands. Even so, their right hand shows Abhaya Mudra. This implies that the the weapons are-for the protection and demolition of evil. Abhaya Mudra is the hand who is free of weapons. It shows that the lord offers safety and protection to those who offer themselves to the lord. Under lord’s blessing, nothing will harm the devotee. If the human realizes his mistakes and falls to the feet of the lord, he is more than willing to forgive.
In yoga, the Abhaya Mudra is used in Virasana or the here pose. It is also used in Virabhadrasana II or the warrior II pose. In this Mudra the yogi raises the right hand over the bent leg in Abhaya Mudra. The left hand slides down the other leg to support it. This asana, display humbleness and intensity.
The Mudras are not only used for expressions, but they even had health benefits. In earlier times, these Mudras were used to treat minor ailment and injuries. These Mudras were practiced regulatory. It gives the healthy benefit that no-medicine can give. This is now scientifically proven that yoga and practice of Mudras are more effective in the long run made into a habit.
It is-said that once Gautam Buddha was attacked by a ferocious and large elephant. Buddha displayed the abhaya mudra in front of the elephant. The elephant immediately calmed down when he saw the Abhaya Mudra. This Mudra became extremely popular after this incident. Not only in Hinduism but Buddhism also accepts this mudra. In China, this Mudra was practiced in Wei's era in 4th century and in Sui era, In seventh century. In Japan also, the Abhaya Mudra with the middle finger staying upright is practiced. There it is called Shingon sect. Many of the arts of Gandhara; this mudra is seen when depicting preaching.
In the cosmic dance of tandav, Shiva has his lower right hand next in Hasta Mudra. His Mudra states a welcoming gesture of friendship. Despite the various duties that Shiva performs, he offers protection to every single one of his creations. He is prepared to forgive all the evil and misconduct performed by his children only if they are willing, wholeheartedly to accept this wrong doings and make amendments. Shiva’s appearance may seem scary to his followers-due to his unconventionality. His Hasta Mudra provides assurances of protection and fearlessness in all creatures.