Tapta Mudra Dharana is a Vaishnava custom mandated by Shaastra. It is a special custom in which tapta mudras (heated seal) are put on one’s body. The Mudras are Shankha, Chakra, Gada, Padma which are ornaments and weapons of Lord Srihari. It is customary for all Vaishanvas to undergo this ritual on the first Ekadashi of Ashada Masa. This ritual is said to purify the body and cleanse one from his past sins.
Also, scientifically; this is said to have a positive effect on the nervous system of a person and build resistance in the body against the diseases. On the right arm the ‘wheel’ (chakra) symbol is placed, on the left arm ‘conch shell’ (Shankha), centre of the bridge (between right and left arm) gadha, nandaka on the chest and on the top of the head (skull).
SCIENCE BEHIND THE RITUAL: The ritual has been in practice for a long time. At different times great saints and scholars have explained the importance of Tapta-mudra- dharana in their scriptures. It is believed that during this period, the Lord reclines on ‘Sesha’ and goes to sleep. However humans must not go to sleep without Sri Hari in their mind. Thus people mark their bodies with his symbol – Shankha and Chakra. It is a Vaideeka Vaishnava ritual and a cleansing process.
It is said that during Mahabharata war ‘Tapta Mudra Dharana’ was done for the soldiers. Vaishnavas believe that it is a reminder of ‘Bhakthi to Lord Vishnu. The wearing of Tapta-mudra- dharana has been explained in various spiritual scriptures like Rigveda, Padma Purana, Mahabharatha etc and also discussed in detail in Ayurveda Shastras. During ‘Mudra Dharana’ mantras are chanted which roughly mean – ‘Let the glow of Sudharashana remove all our ignorance and the sound of Paanchanjanya shankha destroy all our accumulated sins and lead us in the path of ‘Vishnu marga’. The significance of this act is – The ‘jnanagni’ (light of knowledge) obtained from ‘Shaastras’ should sever the darkness of ignorance. The ‘omkaara naada (sound) from the shankha should enlighten us bestowing ‘jnana bhakthi and vairaghya’.