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Shiva as Nataraja In this sculpture of Shiva from the Chola Dynasty in the 10 century Ad, Shiva is depicted as the

lord and king of Dance wich is the meaning of Nataraja, and for this main reason and the arch of flames that serv him as a bckground is said to Shiva is shown as the source of all movent within creation.There is an interesting legend behind the conception of Shiva as Nataraja: In a dense forest in South India, there dwelt multitudes of heretical sages. Shiva try to confute them, accompanied by Vishnu disguised as a beautiful woman. The sages were at first led to violent dispute amongst themselves, but their anger was soon directed against Shiva, and they endeavored to destroy him by means of incantations. A fierce tiger was created in sacrificial fires, and rushed upon him; but smiling gently, he seized it and, with the nail of his little finger, stripped off its skin, and wrapped it about himself like a silken cloth. Undiscouraged by failure, the sages renewed their offerings, and produced a monstrous serpent, which however Shiva seized and wreathed about his neck like a garland. Then he began to dance; but there rushed upon him a last monster in the shape of a malignant dwarf. Upon him the god pressed the tip of his foot, and broke the creatures back, so that it writhed upon the ground; and so, his last foe prostrate, Shiva resumed the dance. The concept of Nataraja evolved like Yoga as another methodology that emerge from Shamanism to induce the Trance. In fact dance seems in this case a older technology than Yoga in order to tracend reality as we commonly know it, and dance flourish along the line side by side with the terrific austerities of the meditation, like fasting and absolute introvertion. By dancing Shiva try to release men from the ilusion of the idea of the self and of the physical world. The cosmic dance was performed in Chindabaran in south India, called the center of the universe by some Hindus. The dance gestures represent Shiva five activities, creation (symbolized by the drum), protection ( by the displeling hand mudra), destruction (by fire), embodiment (by the foot planted on the ground, and release (by the food held on the air. The most common figures depict a four-armed Shiva. These multiple arms represent the four cardinal directions. Each hand either holds an object or makes a specific mudra (gesture). The hour-glass drum also represents the male and female vital principles; two triangles penetrate each other to form a hexagon. When they part, the universe also dissolves. In the same way as the triangles that form The exagon we see how Shiva is holding an instrument of sound the drum and in the other hand and instrument of destruction the fire, in this duality is manisfested the principle of creation and destruction imply by the supreme divine.Also cobra uncoils from his lower right forearm, and the crescent moon and a skull are on his crest. He dances within an arch of

flames. This dance is called the Dance of Bliss (anandatandava). The second hand or mudra call abhaya pose literally meaning without fear is the gesture of protectionas also the way an open palm is usually interpreted ,resambles Shiva as a protector.The left leg is raised symbolising towars the right leg and reaching above and across symbolised the realese of the wheel of karma or cycle of birth and death. And is the same way the hand pointing to the elevated foot is shown in the outsreshed trunk of an elephat called in sanscrite gaja-hasta-mudra and symbolise Lord Ganeshas wich is shivas son the remover of obsticles and inteligence. Shiva dances on the body of the Dwarf apasmara-purusha who represents all the qualities in the Tamas gunas (laziness,ignorance,turpor,indifference) that make all the darkness of the universe.The Nataraja image adress in its dinamism the fact that we need to move and overcome complacency, the dancer is in continue movement to achieve the state of luminosity and supreme knowledge. The dancer is the supreme worker. As Nataraja, King of dancers, his gestures, wild and full of grace, precipitate the cosmic illusion; his flying arms and legs and the swaying of his torso produce the continuous creationdestruction of the universe, death exactly balancing birth. The choreography is the whirligig of time. History and its ruins, the explosion of suns, are flashes from the tireless swinging sequence of the gestures. In the beautiful cast metal figurines, not merely a single phase or movement, but the entirety of this cosmic dance is miraculously rendered. The cyclic rhythm, flowing on and on in the unstayable, irreversible round of the Mahayugas, or Great Eons, is marked by the beating and stamping of the Masters heels. But the face remains, meanwhile in sovereign calm. Natarajas gracefull and stoic face, quiet and enigmatic wich tell us that even in the midle of this dinamic dance the divinity is kept untouch by the waves of time symboliced in hinduism by the femenine aspect of the divinity (Kali or Maha Kali) in her eternal aspect) wich is implicit and inseparable from Shivas nature. Shiva is the dancer beyon ilusion, beyond the ilusion of Maya the eternal duality of manisfestation. The symbolism behind Natarajas hair is the realization that much of womanly charm, the sensual appeal of the Eternal Feminine, is in the fragrance, the flow and luster of beautiful hair. On the other hand, anyone renouncing the generative forces of the vegetable-animal realm, revolting against the procreative principle of life, sex, earth, and nature, and entering upon the spiritual path of absolute asceticism, has first to be shaved. He must simulate the sterility of an old man whose hairs have fallen and who no longer constitutes a link in the

chain of generation. He must coldly sacrifice the foliage of the head. This is another of the elements that sujest the Tantrik influence on this sculputure, since tantra as a philosophical and worshiping tradition reafirm the importance and supreme place of the human nature as the embodiment of the eternal goddes in the manifestation of the divine. In other words our body is not only the temple of the divine, is divine as the divine. Shiva resume, the ultimate ascetic and the ultimate erotic lover.