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Ancient and Modern Concepts of Well-Being Blog

Nataraja - The Dancing Form of Lord Shiva

Nataraja, the dancing form of Lord Shiva. This representation is rich in symbolism and holds profound significance in Hindu mythology and philosophy.


Nataraja is not just a divine dancer but also embodies the cosmic cycles of creation, preservation, and destruction. It's a potent symbol of the eternal rhythm of life and the universe. 


Lord Shiva is not a person or a figure. Shiva is the eternal principle that is the essence of everything. The image encapsulates various elements of this eternal principle from which everything has come, which sustains everything and in which everything dissolves. 


1. Four Arms

Representing the multifaceted nature of Shiva and his ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.


2. Flying Locks:

Symbolising the dynamic nature of Shiva's dance and his uninhibited essence.


3. Dwarf beneath his feet:

Signifying the triumph of knowledge and wisdom over ignorance and heedlessness.


4. Attributes in his hands:

Each hand holds symbolic objects -

-           the damaru (drum) representing creation through sound

-           the abhaya (mudra) signifying protection

-           the fire representing destruction

-           the gajahasta (elephant) pose representing grace and blessing.


5. Flowers, skull, crescent moon, and Ganga:

These adornments and accompaniments symbolise various aspects of Shiva's power and influence, including his role as a nurturer, destroyer, and the source of the Ganges River.


6. Encircled by a ring of flames:

Representing the cosmic fire of creation and destruction.


Overall, the Nataraja sculpture encapsulates the intricate dance of existence, reminding believers of the eternal cycles of creation, preservation, and dissolution, and the ultimate goal of liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

So where does Lord Shiva sit in our work together. In my Ayurvedic lifestyle workshops amongst other things we explore Vedic philosophy and the creation of matter from consciousness. Sankhya philosophy describes five building blocks of all life, including ourselves, as consisting of air, space, fire, water and earth to greater or lesser degrees. Learning about this philosophy will help you to understand your unique mind body composition and from that, how to recognise when you are in balance or out of balance in relation to your natural organic state. You will discover the rhythms of nature and the principle of all that is created was born, has a life and dies. You will learn that true peace comes with awareness and the journey back to the Self and just how an Ayurvedic lifestyle and yoga practice can set you on the right path for self realisation and optimal living, even in a modern world.

An bronze image of Dancing Lord Shiva against an orange wall
Nataraja - Dancing Lord Shiva


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