The magnificent statue of the fine lord Shiva, is referred to as the Nataraja. The term Nataraja means ‘the king of Dancers’ and the reason imbedded behind the term ‘Nataraja’ comes from two India words combined together (Sanskrit nata which means dance and raja which mean ‘king’). The statue was made during the late 9th and early10th century during the Chola period (880-1279 CE). In addition, it was developed in the southern state (Tamil Nadu) of India and has very strong believers and is mostly made out of bronze. The statue itself plays a very important role in the Hindu religion, as it possesses lord Shiva who is in his cosmic dancer form to destroy the universe. The main purpose of his dance was to free the souls of all men from the hands of illusion. As quoted by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy in book ‘The Dance of Shiva’, “clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of…A more fluid and energetic representation of a moving figure than the dancing figure of Shiva can scarcely be found anywhere,". This reflects the vivid artistry of the lord Shiva, the fact that the god is presented so realistically allows worshipper to relate and identify them self’s to the lord.
Shiva’s dance is set within a flaming halo. The lord holds in his upper right hand the Amar, which is the ‘hand drum that made the first sounds of ‘creation’. In addition, his upper left hand holds Agni, which is ‘the fire that will destroy the universe’ Lastly, his lower right hand, is where he makes Abhayamudra, also known as ‘the gesture that allays fear’. The dwarf like figure being trampled by his right foot represents ‘apasmara purusha’ which means forgetful and lazy demon. In addition, Apasmara-Purusha is a symbol of laziness, forgetfulness, bad feelings, and evil thoughts that all of us have within us. Lord Shiva's front left hand, pointing to his raised left foot, indicates the danger for the troubled soul. The snake slithering around his waist is called the... [continues]
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