The skull in Bhairava’s hands

Bhairava
A magnificent shot of Bhairava, taken by Chris Rimmer at the V&A in London

Bhairava mudra is, like other mudras, a pose formed with the hands. I often use it when sitting quietly, sometimes when I meditate. For me, the gesture is graceful, and is symbolic of bounty, openness, and love. I learned the mudra from part of a yoga DVD: “…Rest one palm on top of the other, palms-up, and hold them in your lap. Visualize that in those hands you are holding a delicate baby bird…” I think I’ve even used those words in my teaching, at least once. I figured bhairava had to mean something like “tiny chickadee,” “here’s a morsel of bread for your troubles,” or something along those lines. Continue reading “The skull in Bhairava’s hands”