The hamsa is an amulet in the shape of an open right hand. It usually contains an eye symbol in the middle of the palm. It was first used in North Africa and the Middle East as a symbol of protection to ward off the evil eye. The belief was that if you were in possession of vast treasures, people would grow envious of you and try to take it from you.
The name of the amulet is based on the Arabic word Khamsah; which that means five. It draws attention to the five fingers of the hand. The Hamsa hand, however, is a rather unusual hand. It seems to have two thumbs pointing in opposite directions, with three fingers together in the middle.
In the Indian subcontinent, the phrase, “Nazar lag gai” is commonly heard and is used to indicate that one has been affected by the evil eye. The evil eye is a belief in a curse, which is brought about by a malevolent gaze. It is usually cast upon a person who is unaware that they are under a malicious spell.
The use of the hamsa as an amulet of protection against the evil eye is found in many cultures. People from these cultures believe that being the recipient of the evil eye can cause misfortune, harm and injury. This belief dates back to Ancient Ugarit: an ancient port city in modern-day northern Syria.
The Gayatri Mantra is a mantra that many Hindus and non-Hindus alike know by heart. It is sung or chanted during the upanayana ceremony which marks the journey that a student and a teacher would embark upon together. The hymn pays homage to Savitr: the Sunrise.
In addition to the amulet I mentioned above, many would make use of scriptural texts by way of singing and chanting to cast away the evil eye. The Gayatri mantra is one such mantra that many use to protect themselves. It is believed that it returns the negative energy that has been cast upon the unwary recipient to its source.
The Gayatri Mantra is dedicated to Savitr: one of the children of Aditi, the Solar Goddess. But Savitr, in particular, refers to the sunrise. The special thing about Savitr–as a personification of the sunrise–is that he or she brings in the light after a period of darkness. He is the bringer of light. She is the golden dawn. Light is both a creative and a destructive force.
The relationship we have with light–and energy in general–is one that is not that straightforward. We need light. We associate it with all that is ‘good’. At the same time, we need the darkness. It is the balance of light and dark that created the world and that continues to create it.
Before electricity and modern technological tools, we had to rely on the natural world to give us light. Upon sunrise, we humans must have felt like we were witnessing the hand of god bringing in the light. It was enabling us to finally see again after the darkness of the night. It allowed us to see the world, ourselves as well as each other.
That is what the Sun is: an illuminator. Its illumination is bright. It illuminates everything; both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. It shines brightly. Hasta nakshatra is an indicator of people who shine brightly through their hands. If Hasta nakshatra is anywhere in your chart, it is also a strong indicator of wealth.
Surya, on the other hand, is the one whom we see shining brightly during the day. It is the hot and even sometimes scorching heat that can be too much to bear. Perfect time for sitting by a pool, though.
Hasta nakshatra’s symbol is the hand. In addition to our mind, our emotions and all the sensory tools we have to perceive the seen world–our hands and our ability to feel through our hands–have created so many of the world’s greatest masterpieces. There are a lot of professions that come to mind: music, writing, artistry–any profession that requires us to mould the world through our hands.
The interesting thing is that Hasta nakshatra is in the constellation of Virgo; which is one of Mercury’s signs. But unlike in Gemini, where he is quite chatty; in Hasta, he’s not so chatty. He’s using his hands, instead. It is his hands–and not his mind–that allows him to feel the world.
Let’s think of some other professions where people use their hands. Doctors, surgeons, healers, scientists and inventors. They make use of their hands to heal. If you’ve ever had a hard time and someone touches you and provides you with that comfort… You never forget that touch, no matter how momentary it was.
We feel the world through our hands. And you could say that the world gets a ‘feel’ for us in the same way. Just remember all the times you’ve had to shake someone’s hand.
The Hands That Speak
Over the years, I’ve worked with many artists who do not like speaking. They may simply not like communicating or they may have a hard time communicating. It’s not just artists, though. People, in general, tend to have a hard time communicating.
Whenever we do, we may write our thoughts down, we may create art–a sculpture, woodwork or metallurgy–or we may compose a piece of music. Our hands give us the ability to express, especially if, for some reason, we are unable to express through our voice. Our hands possess the ability to express the spark of the sunrise through a new and innovative medium. We touch something and it inspires and awakens a spark within our being.
These handcrafted masterpieces always outlive the life of the Creator. They are replicated over and over again. Even when we destroy them, they go through a rebirth or a renaissance. Even in their retelling and re-rendering, they retain the original mark of the creative spark.
It is the spark that once created can never be destroyed, for it will go on to replicate itself.
Ever since I became an entrepreneur, I think a lot more about money and wealth than what I used to when I had a job that paid well and had nice benefits.
This ‘interest’ in money didn’t emerge in a vacuum or because it suddenly started to ‘interest’ me. When you have bills looming, and you have to figure out how to fund projects, how to fairly allocate a budget, and how to spend and invest your profits–you tend to start thinking about it a lot more.
I started with philosophical questions. I asked, “Why? How?” Once upon a time, we used to barter and trade with cowrie shells and so on. How did the world’s financial system get from there to here? Even those who are not dreaming of tangible riches in this world are dreaming of riches in the afterlife.
We all know the story of King Midas. How everything he touched turned to gold. It seemed great till… Well, we can always count on a fable to inculcate in children the follies of greed.
But now I would like to come back to the story I started with; the one on the hamsa. Imagine if you really did have the Midas Touch? What if everything you touched did turn to gold? Wouldn’t the people around you be envious of you?
Perhaps you would need something to protect you from the evil eye of those who mean you harm.