Shiva Nataraja

Hinduism is not one religion but many related beliefs and numerous factions. There are various deities but there are only three gods that are the most well-known. Shiva is one of the three most popular Hindu deities. He is usually depicted in small statues that show him performing the Cosmic Dance. The statues all impose unique movements, his anatomical features, and their functions that unite all of its qualities together. Shiva Nataraja has a stunning presentation and elaborate movements as he performs the Cosmic Dance.
Shiva’s dance has cosmic significance, as it symbolizes the creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe in an endlessly repeating cycle. He is depicted dancing with his left foot kicked in the air with his right foot is planted on top of a dwarf. Two of his arms are stretched out and two are pulled in close to his body. The way he is shown does indeed suggest this god is dancing. He is enclosed inside a circle of flames and in one of His upper right arms he holds a drum, the beating of which creates the universe, while on one of his upper left arms he holds a ball of flame that will eventually destroy it. n one of his right arms he carries a drum and in one of his left arms he carries a flame. His lower right hand displays the gesture of reassurance, while his lower left points to the ground as an indication of his power and strength. The Shiva Nataraja statues have many anatomical features and not very complicated material techniques. Shiva wears a short loincloth; a ribbon tied above his waist, and delicately tooled adornments. The scant clothing reveals his perfected form with its broad shoulders thinning to a limber waist.
The jewelry is unemotional and the detail does not detract from the beauty of the body. He has his face rotated toward the onlooker, thus appearing like a king but still conscious of his compassionate role. Nearly all of the Shiva Nataraja statues are made out of bronze. The process to create these bronze statues is called lost-wax casting, and sometimes called by the French name of cire perdue. This is the process by which a brass or bronze sculpture is cast from an artist’s sculpture. Other metals such as silver and gold are also ast. Intricate works can be achieved by this method, primarily depending on the carver’s skills The significance of the Nataraja sculpture is that it is seen as the image of his rhythmic play which is the source of all movement within the universe, represented by the arch of flames. The purpose of the dance is to release men from illusion of the idea of the “self” and of the physical world. The cosmic dance was performed in Chidambaram in South India, called the center of the universe by some Hindus.

The gestures of the dance represent Shiva’s five activities, creation (symbolized by the drum), protection (by the “fear not” hand gesture), destruction (by the fire), embodiment (by the foot planted on the ground), and release (by the foot held aloft). As Nataraja, Shiva represents apocalypse and creation as he dances away the illusory world of Maya transforming it into power and enlightenment. The symbolism of Shiva Nataraja is religion, art and science merged as one. In God’s endless dance of creation, preservation, destruction and paired graces is hidden a deep understanding of our universe.
Nataraja, the King of Dance, has four arms. The upper right hand holds the drum from which creation issues forth. The lower right hand is raised in blessing, betokening preservation. The upper left hand holds a flame, which is destruction, the dissolution of form. The right leg, representing obscuring grace, stands upon Apasmarapurusha, a soul temporarily earth-bound by its own sloth, confusion and forgetfulness. The uplifted left leg is revealing grace, which releases the mature soul from bondage. The lower left hand gestures toward that holy foot in assurance that Siva’s grace is the refuge for everyone, the way to liberation.
The circle of fire represents the cosmos and especially consciousness. The all-devouring form looming above is Mahakala, “Great Time. ” The cobra around Nataraja’s waist is kundalini shakti, the soul-impelling cosmic power resident within all. Nataraja’s dance is not just a symbol. It is taking place within each of us, at the atomic level, this very moment. The Agamas proclaim, “The birth of the world, its maintenance, its destruction, the soul’s obscuration and liberation are the five acts of his dance. ”

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