The universe is the amalgam of infinite elements which are found in space and has no end or start. It is difficult to locate the beginning and end of space, the galaxy, stars, planets or even the minute of elements. There are many secrets reserved to this creation of God which has no end but is destroyed by Lord Shiva when the time comes. Lord Shiva plays the essential role of a destroyer in the trinity along with Lord Brahma and Vishnu. Again there are many other forms of Lord Shiva, which are yet unrevealed to the devotees. To name a few incarnations of Lord Shiva there is Piplaad avatar, Nandi avatar, Veerbhadra, Bhairava avatar, Hanuman and more.
Nataraj is one of the famous forms of Lord Shiva which is considered sacred at many places by devotees but there are some unknown facts about the same. There is a meaningful reason behind the existence of this form with some secrets linked to it.
Nataraj is the form that came into existence as a result of the dance performed by Lord Shiva, popularly known as Tandava Nritya. It is a popular dance form that is considered sacred especially by devotees. Especially devotees who are attached to some form of art and culture consider Nataraj sacred and worship this form for its blessings. The iconic form of the Nataraj statue displays the cosmic dance form within the arch representing fire in the universe.
The story of Nataraj is usually connected to the cosmic dance as it displays the connection between universal energy and creation. Though Lord Shiva is related to the destruction part of the life cycle which equally requires high energy.
People are commonly aware of one kind of Tandava which represents the anger side of Lord Shiva. Apart from this, there is another kind of Tandava that showcases the love, care and joy of Lord Shiva. There are two kinds of Tandava dance forms known as Anand Tandava and Rudra Tandava.
The story behind Nataraj Anand Tandava:
There are some stories popular about the existence of Anand Tandava according to a few Hindu texts. Once there was a joyous discussion between Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati in the form of Goddess Kaali. The discussion was about who can perform a pleasing and attention-grabbing dance, which was judged by Lord Vishnu. Both of them started performing up to their best level.
Lord Shiva was thoroughly enjoying this act and his style was extremely soothing to eyes and soul-embracing. The vibrations that were created by the steps of Lord Shiva were extremely relaxing and capable of relieving the person from materialistic limitations.
While dancing he suddenly put his feet immersed in kumkum on the forehead of Goddess Kaali which in turn was impossible for Goddess Kaali to do so as Lord Shiva was her husband. She then understood the motive of Lord Shiva and stopped herself.
At last Lord Shiva was announced the winner and given the title of Nataraj by Vishnu. The dance form became popular as Anand Tandava as it reflects the joyful leela performed by Lord Shiva.
The story behind Nataraj Rudra Tandava:
There are other Hindu texts that mention the story of Rudra Tandava, facts related to it and the reason behind its existence. Rudra means anger form which represents the fiery face of Lord Shiva. Rudra Tandava was performed to control the dwarf devil named Apasmara who is the symbolism of spiritual ignorance, forgetfulness and epilepsy. As mentioned in the Skand Puran, the Apasmara devil was blessed with the boon of being immortal and had power to create problems for others. As a result, he became arrogant and kept bothering others.
Once some sages due to vanity were not able to identify Lord Shiva and Parvati who came to them in the form of beggars. Rather those sages attacked them with poisonous snakes which were killed by Lord Shiva. Sages then ordered Apasmara devil to kill the God due to which Goddess Parvati was stunned. Due to this act, Lord Shiva became angry and created loud sound with his damru which was unbearable by the devil and crushed him under his feet while performing Rudra Tandava dance.
Description of statue:
The statue is the brilliant outcome of artistry displayed beautifully in the form of Nataraj the unusal form of Lord Shiva. In the statue, Lord Shiva is in the Natya Shastra pose from Tandava dance style stomping over the devil Apasmara.
The statue has two legs one in the air and the other on the demon Apasmara. There are four hands with upper left holding Agni (fire) which can destroy the entire universe, the upper right holds the damru which denotes first sound of creation. The lower left hand comes across the chest in the form of Gajahastha pointing towards the leg in the air, lower right-hand represnts the Abhay mudra in the form of a blessing.
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