From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Karanyāsa literally means ‘dedication or purification of the hand’.

Nyāsa or purification of limbs is an important aspect of many ritualistic process like:

  • Pujā - worship
  • Japa - repetition of divine name
  • Pārāyaṇa - ceremonial recitation of scriptures or sacred texts.

Out of seven such nyāsas, the aṅganyāsa and the karanyāsa are the most common. In the karanyāsa, the fingers of both the hands are purified simultaneously with the appropriate mantras. First, the thumbs are rubbed by the tips of the index-fingers from bottom to the top with the mantra ‘aṅguṣṭābhyari namah’. Then the thumbs do the rest of the work in a similar manner to the other four fingers. The mantra changes according to the fingers touched.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore