Nataraja - the Dance

Nataraja - the Dance

A face with four shoulders, three eyes, to the left destructive fire (in the hand), moon and leaves on the head, hand stretching downwards, the raised foot pointing down, to the right swastika earring, Damarukam (drum), ga.nga (in the head), and protection posture, salutations to that God of ceaseless dance whose matted hair is flowing, standing on the unconscious body (hyapasmaradeham).

Lord Shiva dances during the creation, protection and destruction of the worlds, though the kind of His dance varies with respect to the action. (san^dhyA tAnDava, Urdhva tANDava, rudra tANDava, samhAra tANDava etc.). The dance of the Lord takes place in every minute particle, for all of us to exist and act. That is the source of all the energy. His movement is shakti. Yogis hear and see the dance of the Lord by invoking the kundalinl shakti.

There were two ardent sages vyAgrapAda and patanjali who were worshipping God to see Its blissful dance that energizes the worlds. vyAgrapAda out of his devotion asked for the eyes and legs of the tiger, so that he could go very early in the dawn, even before the bees wake up, to pluck the flowers very fresh - not even touched by the bees to offer to God ! That is why he was called vyAgrapAda. The other sage was the serpent AdiseSha on which mahA viShNu reside, desired to see the glorious Dance of God. They were performing austerity at the holy place called thillai. At the same time bhadrakAli, the fierce form of goddess asked for a competition with God in dance. God and mahAkAli came to the thillai, where the sages were performing austerity to see His dance and there began the competition between kAli and Lord shiva. The Lord, Who keeps dancing creating, protecting, destroying, hiding and blessing, won the play by acting the Urdva tANDava, raising His Feet to His Head. The gracious dance of the God filled the hearts of the sages and those who ardently seek Him. Lord Shiva danced in the five ambalams during various occasions. Out of them chithambaram is very much renowned. Lord danced here to fulfill the worship of patanjali and vyaghra pada mahar ishis.

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