Lord Shiva is the ultimate being as per the Hindu traditions. He is the first person to realise the true potential of human consciousness and opened up the gates of another dimension for mankind. While sometimes Shiva sits in deep meditation, he could also be found dancing in extreme ecstasy and exuberant wilderness. Unlike others, he dances with his complete self, as if this is all, this is the end. This creates an unimaginable intensity and vibrant intimacy in his dance.
Shiva in his dancing form is known as Lord Nataraja which means the 'the king of dancers' or 'the king of performs'. This form of Shiva is especially worshipped by those who practice performing arts. The statues of Lord Nataraja are found in almost every ancient Shiva temple in India. He symbolises the importance of arts in elevating human consciousness and giving expression to one's creative impulses. Shiva is associated with the Tandav nritya (dance) in this form. Tandava nritya could be both for creation and destruction signifying the dualities of our existence.
This beautiful bronze statue is made using the ancient Madhuchista Vidhana technique (lost wax) by the excellent craftsmen of Swamimalai. This exemplary work of art captures the lord amidst the movement of his body, yet making him look silent still. That's also the message that the Nataraja pose delivers, to be still within and vibrant outside. While the lord is standing with his right leg on a demon (symbolising ignorance), he is holding his left leg raised in the air bent towards and crossing the right leg. His upper hands are holding a Damru (a musical instrument) and fire which cuts through the darkness of ignorance of the discipline. His lower hands in conjunction with each other are completing his beautiful Nataraja posture. His matted hair is spread behind him in thin strands while his cloth is gliding in mid-air illustrating the intensity of his movements. The lord is dancing in the middle of a ring of fire and a snake is wrapped around his lower right hand. The face of the lord is perfectly calm and serene as if unaffected by the surroundings.
Lord Nataraja is the purest manifestation of energy as well as the perfect personification of stillness. His calmness between the contrasting forces of nature is the example he embodies. The Nataraja pose and the way it is illustrated in the statue is a perfect work of art, enough to enchant every eye that sets upon it.
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