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Why lord shiva is known as king of dance
Posted By Sarin on May 27, 2012     RSS Feeds     Latest Hinduism news

In one of my previous post, I gave the reasons behind dance worship in Hinduism. In this post, we will explore the dancing related theories of lord shiva and also why lord shiva is considered to be as the supreme dancer as well as dangerous dancer of all.
Who is lord shiva?
Lord Shiva
is a major hindu deity and is known as the Destroyer or Transformer among the Trimurti (Brahma, vishnu and shiva), Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world. He is the supreme of all deities, one with great power, yet he lives a simple life of a sage at Mount kailash. Note that he is not the supreme god, but a supreme deity among all other deities.  
Shiva is the god of the yogis, self-controlled and celibate. It is said that his meditation goes as long as millions of human years.  

Statue of meditating Lord Shiva, Georgia  
Lord Shiva is the destroyer of the world, following Brahma (creator and Vishnu (preserver), after which Brahma again creates the world and so on. Thus, Shiva is responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction and in the positive sense of destroying the ego, the false identification with the form.  
What science says about lord Shiva dance?
Modern physics has revealed that every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction. The dance of Shiva is the dancing universe, the ceaseless flow of energy going through an infinite variety of patterns that melt into one another’’. 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 phenomenon. Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shiva’s in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our times, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance.” Scientist has thus proved that an atomic particle energy dance is in the same pattern as lord Shiva cosmic dance.

Lord Shiva dance depicting atomic destruction

Why lord Shiva dance and destroys?
  1)    The cycle of creation and destruction continues forever, manifested in the Hindu deity Shiva, Lord of the Dance, who holds the drum that sounds the universe’s creation in his right hand and the flame that, billions of years later, will destroy the universe in his left. Meanwhile Brahma is but one of untold numbers of other gods dreaming their own universes.
2)    Hinduism believes that all that has a beginning by necessity must have an end. It is believed that when lord Shiva (Cosmic Dancer) dances, destruction takes place. However Hinduism says that lord Shiva doesn’t destroy, instead he pave the path for new creation through destruction of existing world. In lord shiva destruction, truly nothing is destroyed but the illusion of individuality. As Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram(Truth, Goodness and Beauty)Shiva represents the most essential goodness. That is why, lord Shiva is said to be responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction and in the positive sense of destroying the ego, the false identification with the form.  
    In Cosmology, Lord shiva dance can be explained in this way,
Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesa form a trinity God. Brahma is the creator of the universe, Vishnu the protector and Mahesa (Shiva) the destroyer. Brahma means expansion, and expansion of the universe takes place with the creation of matter and energy, thus Brahma is creator. Vishnu is the life-principle of the universe, which is not different from the universe, thus he is the protector. Mahesha or Mahadeva or Shiva is Vedic god Rudra representing radiation. As radiation is the result of annihilation of particles, he is related to destruction. But what is annihilated is born again as another set of particles, and this dance of creation and annihilation continues. This is the cosmic dance of Shiva, and therefore he is called Nataraja, Lord of the dancers.  
What lord shiva dance represents?
Shiva Nataraj's dance represents both the destruction and the creation of the universe and reveals the cycles of death, birth and rebirth. His Dance of Bliss is for the welfare of the world. In the pose of Nataraj, the King of Dance is giving darshan to his beloved devotees within the Hall of Consciousness which is the heart of man.  

Under his feet, Shiva crushes the demon of ignorance called Apasmara Purusha, caused by forgetfulness. One hand is stretched across his chest and points towards the uplifted foot, indicating the release from earthly bondage of the devotee.  
The fire represents the final destruction of creation, but the dance of the Nataraj is also an act of creation, which arouses dormant energies and scatters the ashes of the universe in a pattern that will be the design of the ensuing creations, a proper name it means "The Auspicious One", used as a name for RudraThe upper right hand of Shiva holds a little drum hourglass, where its rhythm of creation- world-creating beat of time. This rhythm creates a veil across the face of eternity and this veil is time and space manifested also known as temporality.  
Shiva’s left hand that extends outward hold a flame of spiritual light that burns the veil away and so it is possible to burn the temporary world away and find the truth. Behind the veil, temporal world is the void of eternity.  
The second right hand has a position called ‘fear-dispelling” posture. The second left hand is lifted across the chest and points to the raised left foot. This hand is also known as the “elephant hand,” symbolizing “teaching”; for when the elephant makes his way through the mysterious jungle he pushes away the thick foliage of the area, thus all animals are able to see clearly the path ahead, the one that the elephant cleared for them.  

Lord Shiva dance

The left foot raised toward the “teaching hand” represents “release.” All these postures work together like an athlete learns to move his body to perform at the highest level- each position is important and essential to the attainment of the highest performance. Just as each symbolic movement of the cosmic dance says something about the cosmos and our place in it.
The right foot stomps on the back of the dwarf named “Forgetfulness” who is part of the temporal nature of the world. His purpose is to drive souls into the vortex of rebirth. The dwarf is obsessed with his gaze on “the poisonous world-serpent who symbolizes the human psychological attraction to the realm of his bondage in unending birth, suffering, and death
 Even though Shiva’s arms and legs all have special movements and positions, Shiva’s head which symbolizes intelligence, knowledge and the divine stays still and aligned. You may think God in whatever religion becomes angry or vengeful, but really this is just man trying to put human qualities on something that we don’t really have words to describe. The Lord of Cosmic Dance engages in destroying and creation at every moment of the Dance, yet the head of the god remains serene and calm. His earrings represent the opposite sex, the right earring is man and the left one is woman.  
Some quotes on lord Shiva dance by leading physicist, scientist and philosophers. You can find more quotes at
'There is a striking resemblance between the equivalence of mass and energy, symbolized by Shiva's cosmic dance and the Western theory, first expounded by Einstein, which calculates the amount of energy contained in a subatomic particle by multiplying its mass by the square of the speed of light: E = mc2. "- Richard Waterstone
Modern physics has thus revealed that every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction. The dance of Shiva is the dancing universe, the ceaseless flow of energy going through an infinite variety of patterns that melt into one another’’.-Fritjof Capra
The similarities between Indian and modern cosmology do not seem accidental. Perhaps ideas of creation from nothing, or alternating cycles of creation and destruction are hardwired in the human psyche. Certainly Shiva’s percussive drumbeat suggests the sudden energetic impulse that could have propelled the big bang. And if, as some theorists have proposed, the big bang is merely the prelude to the big crunch and the universe is caught in an infinite cycle of expansion and contraction, then ancient Indian cosmology is clearly cutting edge compared to the one-directional vision of the big bang. The infinite number of Hindu universes is currently called the many world hypothesis,  which is no less undocumentable nor unthinkable.- Dick Teresi (author and coauthor of several books about science and technology)
Hinduism is the only religion that propounds the idea of life-cycles of the universe. It suggests that the universe undergoes an infinite number of deaths and rebirths. As in modern physics, Hindu cosmology envisaged the universe as having a cyclical nature. The end of each kalpa brought about by Shiva's dance is also the beginning of the next. Rebirth follows destruction.-Carl Sagan,
"Shiva dances, creating the world and destroying it, his large rhythms conjure up vast aeons of time, and his movements have a relentless magical power of incantation. Our European allegories are banal and pointless by comparison with these profound works, devoid of the trappings of symbolism, concentrating on the essential, the essentially plastic." -Sir JacobEpstein
Shiva's dance is a symbol of the unity and rhythm of existence. The unending, dynamic process of creation and destruction is expressed in the energetic posture of Shiva. He dances in a ring of fire that refers to the life-death process of the universe. Everything is subject to continual change, as energy constantly assumes new forms in the "play" (lila) of creation, except the god himself whose dance is immutable and absolute. The pictorial allegory of Nataraja indicates the so-called "five acts" of the deity: the creation of the universe, its sustenance in space, its final dissolution at the end of the cycle of four world ages (yugas), the concealment of the nature of the godhead, and the bestowal of true knowledge. -
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