Nataraja: A cosmic dance of destruction and recreation


The Sanskrit word 'Nataraja' means 'the king of dance'. It is a dance of Lord Shiva, destroying all the evils and illusions and creating new energies, positivity, and power. Lord Shiva is always associated with destruction and recreation of the cosmic world which is represented as Nataraja. The evolution of Nataraja in society date back to the Chola period where large and beautiful bronze sculptures were made.

In the sculpture, Lord Shiva is shown as suppressing Apasmara (the demon of forgetfulness, ignorance, and all the evils) with the right leg, and is also balancing himself on the same leg. Shiva's left leg is raised in the Bhujangatrasita mudra which signifies kicking away all the bad deeds, maya , and illusion. Nataraja represents Shiva with four hands, the upper right-hand holds Damru, lord Shiva's favorite music instrument that maintains the beats during the dance and also symbolizes the first sound of creation. The upper left hand holds agni or fire, symbolizing the destruction of the universe. The main Right hand is posed in Abhaya hasta diminishing the fear and the main left hand is in gahahasta (elephant trunk pose). Shiva's unkempt hair fry in all directions symbolizing ascetic life and the coiled snakes around the neck and upper arms is the symbol of reincarnation. A ring of fire surrounding Shiva represents the universe full of suffering, pain.  

The Current studies and various experts suggest how subatomic particles undergo certain vibrations initiating the process of creation, destruction, and recreation. Physicists correlate the dance of subatomic particles with the Shiva's dance hence, establishing a strong connection between ancient mythology and modern physics. The European center for research in particle physics, Geneva has a tall statue of Nataraja, celebrate and acknowledge this deep-rooted connection.