Nataraja is derived from the Sanskrit words narta rajan "lord of dance". Shiva is shown as the source of all movement within the cosmos.The purpose of the dance is to release humans from illusion, and the place where it is said to have been performed,Chidambaram (an important Shaiva centre in South India), called the centre of the universe,is in reality within the heart. The gestures of the dance represent Shivas five activities (pancakritya): creation (symbolized by the drum),protection (by the" fear-not "pose of the hand), destruction (by the fire), embodiment (by the foot planted on the ground), and release (by the foot held aloft).
Shiva was first depicted as Nataraja in the famous Chola bronzes and sculptures of Chidambaram.The Natraja form of Lord Shiva combines in a single image Shiva's roles as creator,preserver,and destroyer of the universe and conveys the Indian conception of the never-ending cycle of time. Shiva dancing in an aureole of flames,lifting his left leg and balancing over a demon or dwarf (Apasmara) who symbolizes ignorance.The god holds in his upper right hand the damaru (hand drum that made the first sounds of creation).His upper left hand holds agni(the fire that will destroy the universe).With his lower right hand, he makes abhayamudra (the gesture that allays fear).Shiva's front left hand, pointing to his raised left foot, signifies refuge for the troubled soul.The energy of his dance makes his hair fly to the sides.The symbols imply that,through belief in Shiva,his devotees can achieve salvation.
Design: Made in heavy shining brass.
Brass is well known for its grasping capacity.It grasps the divine spirit upto 30%, when compared to other metals.The spiritual vibrations are attracted towards these shining idols easily.
Dimensions: 11 inches (H) x 8.5 inches (L) x 2.5 inches (W) approx
Weight: 2.4 kgs
Importance of Idol worship: Idols are not the idle fancies of sculptors, but shining channels through which the heart of the devotee is attracted to and flows towards God.Though the image is worshipped, the devotee feels the presence of the Lord in it and pours out his devotion unto it.Regular worship, Puja and other modes of demonstrating our inner feeling of recognition of Divinity in the idol unveils the Divinity latent in it.This is truly a wonder and a miracle.The picture comes to life.The idol speaks. It will answer your questions and solve your problems.The God in you has the power to awaken the latent Divinity in the idol.The lives of Mirabai, Sant Tukaram,Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Shri Yogananda are a few instances to prove the point.They proved beyond doubt that idol worship has its own brighter side and through simple faith and intense devotion one can realize God through it.
Idols are the"finite representation of the Infinite".As per Vishnu Samhita (ch 29, v 55-7),persuasively endorses the use of imagery (idols) and puts it:"Without a form how can God be mediated upon? If (He is) without any form, where will the mind fix itself? When there is nothing for the mind to attach itself to,it will slip away from meditation or will glide into a state of slumber.Therefore the wise will meditate on some form, remembering,however,that the form is a superimposition and not a reality."
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Nataraja is derived from the Sanskrit words narta rajan "lord of dance". Shiva is shown as the source of all movement within the cosmos.