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By Swami Harshananda

Pustaka literally means ‘book’.

The various gods and goddesses are often shown with āyudhas[1] in their hands. One such āyudha, of the sāttvika type is the pustaka. The gods in whose hand this is shown are:

  1. Brahmā
  2. Dakṣiṇāmurti
  3. Gaṇapati
  4. Hanumān
  5. Hayagrīva
  6. Sarasvatī
  7. Sage Vyāsa

It symbolizes the āgama or the scriptures. The other objects that generally go with it are the akṣamālā,[2] the kamaṇḍalu[3] and the jñāna-mudrā or the gesture of exposition.


  1. Āyudhas means the weapons or implements.
  2. Akṣamālā means the rosary.
  3. Kamaṇḍalu means the water pot.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore