Shiva Nataraja – The Cosmic Dancer

The statue of Lord Shiva performing the cosmic dance, is one of the most iconic and enigmatic symbols of Hinduism. The ‘Nataraja’ represents enlightened persons that have mastered their emotions, nurtured a balanced personality and understand the True Self.

Artist Parama Libralesso recreates this divine pose in his psychedelic artwork. Here Shiva, in his Nataraja avatar, is in the midst of his doomsday dance – signalling the dissolution of the universe with the closing of an eon. He is surrounded by a circle of fire, which represents the universe that is up in flames, while he remains calm. In His upper right hand, Shiva is holding the damru (an hour-glass shaped drum), whose vibrations create the universe. In the upper right hand, He holds Agni, or the fire that signifies regeneration or transformation – implying constant change.

The second left hand points towards the raised foot which signifies upliftment and salvation. It also follows the form of an elephant trunk, alluding to wisdom. Shiva’s right foot is trampling a dwarf-like figure called Apasmara, a demon who represents the negative aspects of ignorance and ego. Shiva is signalling the destruction of these negative traits in order for us to attain self-actualisation. The snake that coils around Shiva’s neck signifies this His mastery over being calm even in life’s most fearful moments.

The entire image of the Nataraja is an assurance to us that creation is not a chaotic and accidental phenomena but a guided and rhythmic movement under the mastery and control of the eternal self and that we too can become masters of our own movements and action by liberating ourselves from the limitations of our ego and delusion.

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