anugraha-mūrti

(‘icon showing favour’)

Temples and image worship have had a long history in Hindu religion and culture. Each of the three main cults of Hinduism, viz., Śaivism, Śāktaism and Vaiṣṇavism has given rise to a variety of icons during the course of its evolution. One set of such icons pertaining especially to Lord Śiva, showing benediction to his devotees is called ‘anugraha-mūrti.’

anugraha-mūrti

Iconographical works record six such anugrahamūrtis, mūrtis or icons showing anugraha or benediction to Caṇḍeśa (one of the attendants of Śiva), Nandīśvara (Śiva’s mount), Viṣṇu, Vighneśvara or Gaṇeśa, Arjuna (the Pāṇḍava hero) and Rāvaṇa (the demon king of Laṅkā). One hand of the image is usually kept on the head of the supplicant while one of the other hands exhibits abhayamudrā (protec-tion—giving pose) or varadamudrā (boon-giving pose).