Gracing large, splendid foyers in heritage spaces, placed in a commanding position and venerated by all Classical Indian Dancers and Hindus globally, the Nataraja, Dancing Shiva, of the Trinity of Bramha, Vishnu and Maheshwara or Shiva, is perhaps the most striking example of the role of symbolism in Hinduism and ancient Indian ethos. It can be found carved in stone in the ancient UNESCO Heritage archeological sites at Badami Caves and most ancient stone temples dating back thousands of years. Now its usually prized in brassware or similar metals with a great deal of intricacy. Always, without exception, its perfectly poised, an inspiration to all dancers and all mortals that perform their individual dance of life.
God, the Creator, is in the form of Shiva, also the Destroyer of all that must come to its natural end to allow for life to be created again and again in the Cosmic cycle. The Nataraja symbolizes this core belief-system most beautifully. It is a highly energizing and positive visual expression of the significance of not loosing sight of the Natural Order and the dynamic and eternal quest for balance that we each must pursue.
In the Nataraja pose, Shiva’s upper hands hold symbols Of Creation and Destruction. The Drum in the upper right hand is Symbolic of the very origins of sound. The Fire in the upper left hand symbolizes destruction. The Blessing Hand or Abhaya Mudra, assures protection to the righteous. The second left hand which points downwards to the foot symbolizes the promise of upliftment of all humanity and a promise of potential salvation. The demon below signifies the ability to vanquish evil shown in the physical body of a demon.
We each are born unique and must dance to our personal beats, slow or frenzied, disruptive or harmonious. Nataraja offers anyone who wishes to seek inspiration, a symbolic pose of the potential energy, the dynamic force and spiritual focus we each hold within.
In every moment, balance holds the key to human well-being. Who would argue that??
Picture Courtesy CraftsBazaar