Thursday, July 10, 2008

We're looking for one.
Anyone know of where we can get a large Nataraja?

A little info. for my friends who may not be familiar with this popular Indian statue:

Nataraja (The King of Dance) is in the dancing posture of the Hindu god Shiva, who performs his divine dance as a part of his divine duties of creation and destruction. Nataraja is most often depicted through a statue. The sculpture is usually made in bronze, with Shiva dancing in a circle of flames, lifting his left leg (and in rare cases, the right leg) and balancing over a demon or dwarf (Apasmara) who symbolizes ignorance. This is a well known sculptural symbol in India and popularly used as a symbol of Indian culture. The form is present in most Shiva temples in South India, and is the main deity in the famous temple at Chidambaram.

Defining this statue:

1.The upper right hand holds a small drum shaped like an hourglass that is called a ḍamaru in Sanskrit. It is called Udukkai in Tamil (I live in southern India- this is how we call it) and Dhamarukha in Hindi. A specific hand gesture (mudra) called ḍamaru-hasta (Sanskrit for "ḍamaru-hand") is used to hold the drum. It symbolizes sound originating Creation.

2.The upper left hand contains Agni or fire, which signifies destruction. The opposing concepts in the upper hands show the counterpoise of creation and destruction.

3.The lower right hand shows the Abhaya mudra (meaning fearlessness in Sanskrit), bestowing protection from both evil and ignorance to those who follow the righteousness of dharma.

4.The lower left hand points towards the raised foot which signifies up-liftment and salvation. The hand also symbolises the trunk of the elephant-headed Ganesha, son of Shiva, known as the remover of obstacles and a symbol of strength.

5.The dwarf on whom Nataraja dances is the demon Apasmara, which symbolises Shiva's victory over ignorance.

6.As the Lord of Dance, Nataraja, Shiva performs the tandava, the dance in which the universe is created, maintained, and resolved. Shiva's long, matted tresses, usually piled up in a knot, loosen during the dance and crash into the heavenly bodies, knocking them off course or destroying them utterly.

7.The surrounding flames represent the Universe.

8.The snake swirling around his waist is kundalini, the Shakti or divine force thought to reside within everything.

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