Nataraj Shiva Symbolism of Indian Dancing

In Hinduism Shiva or Mahadeva is one of the supreme gods as a member of Trimurti. According to Hindu legend, Shiva is represented in a variety of forms: as the cosmic dancer Nataraj, as a yogi, as a beggar, as a Bhairava, as an Ardhanarishvara, etc.


Among all these forms Nataraj form is more powerful, it is represented by the arch of the blaze. This dance form is performed in south India. These dance forms represented Shiva’s five activities, formation, protection, demolition, embodiment & release.


Nataraj meaning is Lord of dance. Shiva represents cataclysm & creation as he dances as Nataraj for the imaginary world of Maya mutating it into the power & imparting knowledge. The symbolism of Shiva Nataraj is religion; art & science consolidate as one. 


The king of dance is Nataraj, he has four arms. In Nataraj murti, each pose of the god Shiva is the significance of these five activities. In the back right arm, Shiva holds a drum or damru. The damru represents the rhythm of Nataraj dances as the formation of the universe. The lower right hand is symbolized blessing; the upper left-hand holds a flame which is the significance of demolition. The right leg represents embodiment. The uplifted left leg is revealing elegance that releases the mature soul from persecution. The lower left-hand sign is connection with that holy foot in the affirmation that Shiva’s elegance is the harbor for everyone, the way to salvation. The fiery ring surrounding Shiva represents the universe with all its illusion, suffering & pain. The cobra around Nataraj's waist is Shakti of kundalini chakra.    

Nataraj’s unkempt hair is a symbol of a rejection of society, showing him to be a monastic. Nataraj’s hair originally flowed in heaven for the flows of the river Ganges. When the heavenly Ganges needed, she was resistant to fall to earth, & then Shiva as Nataraj agreed with the fierce power of the fall by catching her in his tangled hair. The half moon in his tangled hair keeps the Kama, the god of nightly love. Through the full moon & the disappearance of the moon, Shiva creates different seasons of life.