With Her Praying Hands

With Her Praying Hands

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This lady was with a group of people nearby the holy waters of the Ganges at Ahilyabai ghat in Vanarasi (Benaras) where they were having a puja (Hindu ceremony), they allowed me to stay with them and to take pictures.
For a few minutes she left the others and came down closer to the river, bowing with both hands together, palms touching, above the head.

This gesture is also known as a mudrā ( मुद्रा).
One hand represents the higher, spiritual nature, while the other represents the worldly self.
By combining the two, the person making the gesture is attempting to rise above his differences with others, and connect himself with the person or the deity to whom he bows.
The bow is symbolic of love and respect.
Particularly in Hinduism, when one worships or bows in reverence, the symbolism of the two palms touching is of great significance.
It is the joining together of two extremities, the feet of the Divine with the head of the devotee.
The right palm denotes the feet of the Divine and the left palm denotes the head of the devotee.
The Divine feet constitute the ultimate solace for all sorrows, this is a time-honored thought that runs through the entire religious ethos.

Most major religions in the world involve joined hands for prayer in one way or another in their rituals.
This is a link to a page which is a surprising and nevertheless interesting theory explaining the meaning of the posture of hands in prayer in Abrahamic religions:


4 Responses to “With Her Praying Hands”

  1. Hello!
    I was googling images this morning to use for a piece on prayer on my blog and stumbled across this stunning one. I absolutely love it and want to share it with my readers. I do hope that is alright. I will comment on it and urge people to come back here to learn more about the image, you and what you do. I will enclose direct link. I hope that is alright with you… Congratulations on such a lovely, heartfelt post and photo.

  2. designldg Says:

    Thank you Jan for your kind words which allowed me to vist your wonderful website.
    Have a nice day and “Namaste” from Benaras.

  3. Hello. I am a friend of Jan’s and a regular reader of her blog. She sent us to this page to read about the woman above and I found this so moving. My husband and I were fortunate to have traveled to Varanasi a few years ago. We both we very profoundly affected by our visit there. This mudra is one we witnessed but were not told about so thank you for opening up the meaning of this lovely mudra. Many blessings always…..diantha

  4. Hi, I was going through images and let me tel you yours is the best. You have a very nice blog.Well I have a personal blog & I would like use it, if you feel like sharing plz do inform me.TC bye.

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