Friday, May 17, 2013

Shiva Dances


This bronze Shiva, in the Denver Art Museum, had its origins in India in the 1100s during the Chola Dynasty. It depicts the god in his aspect of Nataraj or “Lord of Dance.” This representation of Shiva can be interpreted in several ways. According to one interpretation, Shiva is dancing the destruction of the universe. As his movements quicken, fire and earthquakes consume creation. The god Brahma then awakens and recreates the universe. Another interpretation is that Shiva dances to release men from illusion. Shiva’s right foot, planted in victory on a figure symbolizing human ignorance, represents his embodiment. His left foot, held aloft, represents release. His raised right hand holds a drum, which represents creation. His other right hand is held in a gesture meaning, “be not fearful.” One of his left hands holds fire, representing destruction. All activity within the universe—every birth, every death—originates from Shiva, and is signified by the arch of flames, which surrounds him. The lotus base represents the creative forces within the universe. Shiva dances to free men from illusion. The dance takes place at the center of the universe, which is also located within the human heart. References: Denver Art Museum exhibit notes "Nataraja." In the Encyclopædia Britannica 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD 21. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2006. Subhamoy Das. Nataraj: The Dancing Shiva. About.com, http://hinduism.about.com/od/lordshiva/p/nataraj.htm (accessed August 22, 2009)

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Dave Loeff (davelef.com) is an author and graphic designer. In addition to fiction, Dave writes about graphics, travel, and other topics. Find him at http://truthandtalltales.com.

Dave worked domestically in the sewn goods industry, before he became a buyer in Taiwan. He subsequently worked as a mental health clinician, technical writer, computer technician, and graphic designer.

His freelance services include conversion of manuscripts into eBooks, photo retouching, book design and illustration,