Saturday, August 9, 2014

Shiva Nataraja: Lord of the Cosmic Dance

One of the most common sculptures you will see in South India is the bronze representation of Nataraja. But what is this Nataraja? What is its meaning?

Carl Sagan, an American astrophysicist and author, explains it very well:

"The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths... Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long..."

"The most elegant and sublime of these is a representation of the creation of the universe at the beginning of each cosmic cycle, a motif known as the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. The god, called in this manifestation Nataraja, the Dance King. In the upper right hand is a drum whose sound is the sound of creation. In the upper left hand is a tongue of flame, a reminder that the universe, now newly created, with billions of years from now will be utterly destroyed. "

- Carl Sagan 

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