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Shiva’s Cosmic Dance 2-6

Nataraja or Nataraj, the dancing form of Lord Shiva, is a symbolic synthesis of the most important aspects of Hinduism, and the summary of the central tenets of this Vedic religion. The term ‘Nataraj’ means ‘King of Dancers’ (Sanskrit nata = dance; raja = king). In the words of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Nataraj is the “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,

The Vital Form & Symbolism:
In a marvelously unified and dynamic composition expressing the rhythm and harmony of life, Nataraj is shown with four hands represent the cardinal directions. He is dancing, with his left foot elegantly raised and the right foot on a prostrate figure — ‘Apasmara Purusha’, the personification of illusion and ignorance over whom Shiva triumphs. The upper left hand holds a flame, the lower left hand points down to the dwarf, who is shown holding a cobra. The upper right hand holds an hourglass drum or ‘dumroo’ that stands for the male-female vital principle, the lower shows the gesture of assertion: “Be without fear.”
Snakes that stand for egotism, are seen uncoiling from his arms, legs, and hair, which is braided and bejeweled. His matted locks are whirling as he dances within an arch of flames representing the endless cycle of birth and death. On his head is a skull, which symbolizes his conquest over death. Goddess Ganga, the epitome of the holy river Ganges, also sits on his hairdo. His third eye is symbolic of his omniscience, insight, and enlightenment. The whole idol rests on a lotus pedestal, the symbol of the creative forces of the universe.

The Significance of Shiva’s Dance:
This cosmic dance of Shiva is called ‘Anandatandava,’ meaning the Dance of Bliss, and symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy — creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion. According to Coomerswamy, the dance of Shiva also represents his five activities: ‘Shrishti’ (creation, evolution); ‘Sthiti’ (preservation, support); ‘Samhara’ (destruction, evolution); ‘Tirobhava’ (illusion); and ‘Anugraha’ (release, emancipation, grace).
The overall temper of the image is paradoxical, uniting the inner tranquility, and outside activity of Shiva.
A Scientific Metaphor:
Fritzof Capra in his article “The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics,” and later in the The Tao of Physics beautifully relates Nataraj’s dance with modern physics. He says that “every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction…without end…For the modern physicists, then Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena.”

The Nataraj Statue at CERN, Geneva:
In 2004, a 2m statue of the dancing Shiva was unveiled at CERN, the European Center for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva. A special plaque next to the Shiva statue explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s cosmic dance with quotations from Capra: “Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.”

To sum up, here’s an excerpt from a beautiful poem by Ruth Peel:

“The source of all movement,
Shiva’s dance,
Gives rhythm to the universe.
He dances in evil places,
In sacred,
He creates and preserves,
Destroys and releases.

We are part of this dance
This eternal rhythm,
And woe to us if, blinded
By illusions,
We detach ourselves
From the dancing cosmos,
This universal harmony…”


Nataraja or Nataraj, the dancing form of Lord Shiva, is a symbolic synthesis of the most important aspects of Hinduism, and the summary of the central tenets of this Vedic religion. The term ‘Nataraj’ means ‘King of Dancers’ (Sanskrit nata = dance; raja = king). In the words of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Nataraj is the “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,

The Vital Form & Symbolism:
In a marvelously unified and dynamic composition expressing the rhythm and harmony of life, Nataraj is shown with four hands represent the cardinal directions. He is dancing, with his left foot elegantly raised and the right foot on a prostrate figure — ‘Apasmara Purusha’, the personification of illusion and ignorance over whom Shiva triumphs. The upper left hand holds a flame, the lower left hand points down to the dwarf, who is shown holding a cobra. The upper right hand holds an hourglass drum or ‘dumroo’ that stands for the male-female vital principle, the lower shows the gesture of assertion: “Be without fear.”
Snakes that stand for egotism, are seen uncoiling from his arms, legs, and hair, which is braided and bejeweled. His matted locks are whirling as he dances within an arch of flames representing the endless cycle of birth and death. On his head is a skull, which symbolizes his conquest over death. Goddess Ganga, the epitome of the holy river Ganges, also sits on his hairdo. His third eye is symbolic of his omniscience, insight, and enlightenment. The whole idol rests on a lotus pedestal, the symbol of the creative forces of the universe.

The Significance of Shiva’s Dance:
This cosmic dance of Shiva is called ‘Anandatandava,’ meaning the Dance of Bliss, and symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy — creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion. According to Coomerswamy, the dance of Shiva also represents his five activities: ‘Shrishti’ (creation, evolution); ‘Sthiti’ (preservation, support); ‘Samhara’ (destruction, evolution); ‘Tirobhava’ (illusion); and ‘Anugraha’ (release, emancipation, grace).
The overall temper of the image is paradoxical, uniting the inner tranquility, and outside activity of Shiva.
A Scientific Metaphor:
Fritzof Capra in his article “The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics,” and later in the The Tao of Physics beautifully relates Nataraj’s dance with modern physics. He says that “every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction…without end…For the modern physicists, then Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena.”

The Nataraj Statue at CERN, Geneva:
In 2004, a 2m statue of the dancing Shiva was unveiled at CERN, the European Center for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva. A special plaque next to the Shiva statue explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s cosmic dance with quotations from Capra: “Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.”

To sum up, here’s an excerpt from a beautiful poem by Ruth Peel:

“The source of all movement,
Shiva’s dance,
Gives rhythm to the universe.
He dances in evil places,
In sacred,
He creates and preserves,
Destroys and releases.

We are part of this dance
This eternal rhythm,
And woe to us if, blinded
By illusions,
We detach ourselves
From the dancing cosmos,
This universal harmony…”

Nataraja or Nataraj, the dancing form of Lord Shiva, is a symbolic synthesis of the most important aspects of Hinduism, and the summary of the central tenets of this Vedic religion. The term ‘Nataraj’ means ‘King of Dancers’ (Sanskrit nata = dance; raja = king). In the words of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Nataraj is the “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,

The Vital Form & Symbolism:
In a marvelously unified and dynamic composition expressing the rhythm and harmony of life, Nataraj is shown with four hands represent the cardinal directions. He is dancing, with his left foot elegantly raised and the right foot on a prostrate figure — ‘Apasmara Purusha’, the personification of illusion and ignorance over whom Shiva triumphs. The upper left hand holds a flame, the lower left hand points down to the dwarf, who is shown holding a cobra. The upper right hand holds an hourglass drum or ‘dumroo’ that stands for the male-female vital principle, the lower shows the gesture of assertion: “Be without fear.”
Snakes that stand for egotism, are seen uncoiling from his arms, legs, and hair, which is braided and bejeweled. His matted locks are whirling as he dances within an arch of flames representing the endless cycle of birth and death. On his head is a skull, which symbolizes his conquest over death. Goddess Ganga, the epitome of the holy river Ganges, also sits on his hairdo. His third eye is symbolic of his omniscience, insight, and enlightenment. The whole idol rests on a lotus pedestal, the symbol of the creative forces of the universe.

The Significance of Shiva’s Dance:
This cosmic dance of Shiva is called ‘Anandatandava,’ meaning the Dance of Bliss, and symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy — creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion. According to Coomerswamy, the dance of Shiva also represents his five activities: ‘Shrishti’ (creation, evolution); ‘Sthiti’ (preservation, support); ‘Samhara’ (destruction, evolution); ‘Tirobhava’ (illusion); and ‘Anugraha’ (release, emancipation, grace).
The overall temper of the image is paradoxical, uniting the inner tranquility, and outside activity of Shiva.
A Scientific Metaphor:
Fritzof Capra in his article “The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics,” and later in the The Tao of Physics beautifully relates Nataraj’s dance with modern physics. He says that “every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction…without end…For the modern physicists, then Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena.”

The Nataraj Statue at CERN, Geneva:
In 2004, a 2m statue of the dancing Shiva was unveiled at CERN, the European Center for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva. A special plaque next to the Shiva statue explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s cosmic dance with quotations from Capra: “Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.”

To sum up, here’s an excerpt from a beautiful poem by Ruth Peel:

“The source of all movement,
Shiva’s dance,
Gives rhythm to the universe.
He dances in evil places,
In sacred,
He creates and preserves,
Destroys and releases.

We are part of this dance
This eternal rhythm,
And woe to us if, blinded
By illusions,
We detach ourselves
From the dancing cosmos,
This universal harmony…”

Свастика — один из самых древних и широко распространённых графических символов. «Символ свастики выкристаллизовывается из ромбо-меандрового орнамента, впервые появившегося в верхнем палеолите, а затем унаследованного практически всеми народами мира».sfastic
Споры о происхождении свастики не утихают многие годы. Её фрагменты обнаружены почти на всех континентах в культурах индуизма, ламаизма, христианства. Сегодня считается, что этот знак берёт свое начало из древней религии ариев — индоевропейцев. Первые его изображения на арийских алтарях и погребениях хараппских печатях и оружии, самарийских чашах относят к 30 веку до н.э. На Урале раскопан древний город-храм ариев Аркаим, ровесник пирамид Египта, имеющий планировку улиц в виде круглой свастичной мандалы с алтарём в центре.Что же означала свастика? Это арийский символ единения небесных сил огня и ветра с алтарём — местом слияния этих небесных сил с земными. Поэтому алтари ариев украшались свастикой и почитались святыми, защищёнными от зла. Название «свастика» произошло от санскритского термина «суасти» — «благоденствие под Солнцем», а свастичная мандала — от понятия «колеса», «диска», или «круга вечности», разделённого на сектора. В Китае и Японии иероглифы свастики означают пожелания долголетия под Солнцем.

В мире о свастике написаны тома, и лишь российские авторы о ней умалчивают. А ведь это наша история! Напомним, что прародина ариев находилась в дакко-сарматских областях восточной Европы (там, где сегодня расположены Молдавия, Белоруссия, западная часть России) и потом, под натиском неблагоприятного климата, они перекочевали к Уралу. Их символы и традиции передались позднее обосновавшимся здесь скифо-сарматам и славянам-русичам.

На Руси крест с изгибами имел даже русское название — «коловрат». Подобно термину «суасти», его корни переводятся как «Солнце» и «вращение», или «солнцеворот».

Изображения свастик в виде орнаментов покрывали алтари древнерусских храмов, ризы, иконостасы, военные стяги, чеканку оружия, отвороты национальных костюмов, кружева, наличники домов, утварь и т.д. Об этом свидетельствуют фрагменты росписей в Киеве, Чернигове, Новгороде, Вологде.

К примеру, купол древнего коломенского храма усекновения головы Иоанна Предтечи украшен мозаичной фигурой вращающегося Солнца с расходящимися от него спирально-изогнутыми лучами и точками планет по периферии небосвода.
Знакомый со школьной скамьи символ свастики часто ассоциируется с атрибутикой фашистской Германии. Однако корни символа уходят довольно глубоко. У индийцев свастика служила знаком божественного света и щедрости. Восточные славяне и арийцы придавали ей похожее значение: бог-солнце. Татуировка свастика в виде креста с овально (или под углом) загнутыми концами часто путается с тату солнцеворотом (коловратом), близкой по значению. Сейчас татуировку в виде свастик носят сочувствующие Третьему Рейху, тогда как выбирающие символом солнце предков используют производные от нее.
В некоторых толкованиях свастика меняет своё значение зависимости от места нанесения рисунка:
Локализация: Кисти рук, подмышечная впадина, ноги – означает отрицательное отношение к правоохранительным органам и к государству вообще.
Несмотря на свою историю и значение, у подавляющего большинства населения свастика в настоящее время ассоциируется в первую очередь с фашизмом. Особенно остро этот знак воспринимается на территории постсоветского пространства, которое понесло самые большие человеческие жертвы. И тот человек, который носит свастику, прекрасно понимает это. И выставляя на показ сей символ, зная его двусмысленность, уже этим самым вызывает отвращение.
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