From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda


Anugraha-murti literally means ‘icon showing favor’.

Temples and image worship has a long history in religion and culture. The three main cults of the religion are :

  1. Śaivism
  2. Śāktaism
  3. Vaiṣṇavism

These cults 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-murti.’

Iconographical works record six such anugrahamurtis, icons showing anugraha or benediction are :

  1. Caṇḍeśa - one of the attendants of Śiva
  2. Nandīśvara - Śiva’s mount
  3. Viṣṇu
  4. Vighneśvara or Gaṇeśa
  5. Arjuna - The Pāṇḍava hero
  6. 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 (protection-giving pose) or varadamudrā (boon- giving pose).


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