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Hindu Lord of the Cosmic Dance Shiva

Updated on June 7, 2010

OM- Shiva Mirrors this Symbol

Lord of the Cosmic Dance

NOTE: Study photo of image- it has many symbolic parts.

Imagine a dancer. Imagine the religious dance throughout the ages. Like yoga, dance induces trance, ecstasy and the experience of the divine. And as he dances he creates a show, and what manifest is music, rhythm, certain expressions and particular moves. This dance may appear to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Are the dancer and the dance separate? When the Dancer begins the Dance begins- the Dancer is the creator of the dance, but not separate, not far off, not above, below or anywhere but in the center.

Hindu religion started earlier than this but in general it is quite ancient and the origins are unknown, but the reverence and the wisdom permeates the historical context.

1200-900 BCE -Early Vedic Period - earliest Vedas are compiled.

Shiva Natraja “Lord of the Cosmic Dance.”- Statue A.D 12th Century South India (The statue of metal showing the Dance)

As much as you might think that the Hindu religion from the East is primitive and or simple, it is far from the case. When you measure a religion, philosophy or beliefs you must calculate how much of that system meets the world and matches it. The Hindu religion might be the only religion/philosophy that encompasses god and science. Here is a brief comparison of Hinduism and Science concepts working together.

'Om Isha vasyam idam sarvam, yat kincha jagatyam jagat'

"All this- whatever exists in this
universe, is pervaded by God"
-Isa Upanishad

"Om purnamadah purnamidam purnaat purnamudachyate,
purnasya purnamadaya purnamevaavashishyate"

"That (pure consciousness) is full(perfect); this(the manifest universe of matter; of names and forms being maya) is full. This fullness has been projected from that fullness. When this fullness merges in that fullness, all that remains is fullness."
-Peace invocation- Isa Upanishad

The Supreme Brahman(God) is the only Reality. The idea of the phenomenal universe is falsely superimposed upon it."
-Swami Nikhilananda of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Centre, New York.(www(dot)

The Implications of this Theorem are Staggering

In recent years physicists have had to address the interplay of consciousness and the physical world. In Quantum Physics much has been made over Bell's Theorem. The implications of this theorem and the experimental findings that flow from it are staggering. They force us to consider that the entire notion of a purely objective world is in conflict not only with the theory of quantum mechanics, but with the facts drawn from actual experiments. These findings point insistently to a profound interaction between conscious mental activity and the physical world itself. (www(dot)

In the case of Hindu gods, one may say it is blasphemy that they have so many gods, but really they do have one unifying god- Brahman. Then there are other only because these gods represent the different forces in life and nature. Since so many of their gods take form in art and metaphor they can allow different ones that speak to their devotee from every walk of life. So essentially they do not limit the follower or the believer into one dogmatic system. If the devotee feels more reverence for a female, then let them worship a female. Many religions get stuck in their doctrine and forget what the religion is meant to do. It is meant to inspire awe in the believer, make them reach higher and connect them to the mystery. Jung says this about the strict religions of the world. “ The purpose of organized religion is to prevent people from having a direct experience of God. ...”

Remember that having many gods is just a different way to identify the nature of things, it is only a road map. The map is not God. All books, words and forms are just pointing us in a direction to follow. As soon as the inspiration comes into a limited medium it looses its reverance and becomes distorted, for the divine is beyond all human expression and form. We are of it, yet we are limited and here we are drawn to the light like moths.


Shiva (or Siva) is one of the chief deities of Hinduism. His name means "Auspicious One." of Shiva are called "Saivites." Shiva is known by many other names, including Sambhu ("Benignant"), Samkara ("Beneficent"), Pasupati ("Lord of Beasts"), Mahesa ("Great Lord") and Mahadeva ("Great God"). (http://www(dot)

Shiva is a paradoxical deity: "both the destroyer and the restorer, the great ascetic and the symbol of sensuality, the benevolent herdsman of souls and the wrathful avenger." In the most famous myth concerning Shiva, he saves humanity by holding in his throat the poison that churned up in the waters and threatened mankind. For this reason he is often depicted with a blue neck. (http://www(dot)

Here is an explanation of the image of the Shiva, Lord of the Cosmic Dance. The tool of art is to transfer the essence of life into a form. The statue of Shiva is this from includes all of the universe both formless and form. Don’t forget we live in the world of opposites.

The upper right hand of Shiva holds a little drum hourglass, where its rhythm of creation- world-creating beat of time. This rhythm creates a veil across the face of eternity and this veil is time and space manifested also known as temporality. Shiva’s left hand that extends outward hold a flame of spiritual light that burns the veil away and so it is possible to burn the temporary world away and find the truth. Behind the veil, temporal world is the void of eternity. The second right hand has a position called ‘fear-dispelling” posture. The second left hand is lifted across the chest and points to the raised left foot. This hand is also known as the “elephant hand,” symbolizing “teaching”; for when the elephant makes his way through the mysterious jungle he pushes away the thick foliage of the area, thus all animals are able to see clearly the path ahead, the one that the elephant cleared for them. The left foot raised toward the “teaching hand” represents “release.”(Campbell, Joseph, Mythic Image, Pg 359) All these postures work together like an athlete learns to move his body to perform at the highest level- each position is important and essential to the attainment of the highest performance. Just as each symbolic movement of the cosmic dance says something about the cosmos and our place in it.

The right foot stomps on the back of the dwarf named “Forgetfulness” who is part of the temporal nature of the world. His purpose is to drive souls into the vortex of rebirth. The dwarf is obsessed with his gaze on “the poisonous world-serpent who symbolizes the human psychological attraction to the realm of his bondage in unending birth, suffering, and death.”(Campbell, Mythic Image, Pg 359)

The Hindu point of view goes deep into the nature of the human purpose. They may speak in symbols and many metaphors but life is much more than it appears to be. Because the science have only lately verified this world behind another world, i.e. the manifestation of atomic particles that are vibrating as I write this. Since people don’t read science journals or go deeply into Eastern esoteric Vedic text does not mean that the world is just a simple flat solid nothingness. The world is as complex as the detailed description of Shiva.

Even though Shiva’s arms and legs all have special movements and positions, Shiva’s head which symbolizes intelligence, knowledge and the divine stays still and aligned. You may think God in whatever religion becomes angry or vengeful, but really this is just man trying to put human qualities on something that we don’t really have words to describe. The Lord of Cosmic Dance engages in destroying and creation at every moment of the Dance, yet the head of the god remains serene and calm. His earrings represent the opposite sex, the right earring is man and the left one is woman.

“From the mouths of a double-headed mythological water monster called a makara the flaming aureole issues by which the dancer is enclosed; and the posture of his head, arms, and lifted leg within this frame suggests the sign of the syllable om:” (Campbell, Joseph, Mythic Image, Pg 359)

The syllable Aum is first described as all-encompassing mystical entity in the Upanishads. Today, in all Hindu art and all over India and Nepal, 'Aum' can be seen virtually everywhere, a common sign for Hinduism and its philosophy and theology. As the creation began, the divine, all-encompassing consciousness took the form of the first and original vibration manifesting as sound "OM".Before creation began it was "Shunyakasha", the emptiness or the void. Shunyakasha is more than nothingness, because everything existed in a latent state of potentiality. The vibration of "OM" symbolizes the manifestation of God in form. "OM" is the reflection of the absolute reality, it is said to be "Adi Anadi", without beginning or the end and embracing all that exists. The mantra "OM" is the name of God, the vibration of the Supreme. When taken letter by letter, A-U-M represents the divine energy (Shakti) united in its three elementary aspects: Brahma Shakti (creation), Vishnu Shakti (preservation) and Shiva Shakti (liberation, and/or destruction). (http://en(dot)

Do not underestimate what it is to have a word that you can say and if you practice the right breath you can hold this sound in your being for a long time. It is similar for those that think certain words are sacred and should not be pronounced. Yet it seems that if God is love and light then he would allow us to speak of him and even hold a sacred sound to honor the creation that he made. Of coarse I am assuming that there is no fall, no human born in sin literally. The east assumes that human are divine manifestations of God, yet they can be corrupted. The east has a different perspective and it might be significant for some to investigate the whole philosophy further.



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