Nataraja—–Lord of the Dance

Written by Kiara Dixey

Nataraja

Nataraja

This image of Nataraja was painted on a terracotta tile to be placed in the wall of a shrine in Comares, Andalucia.
Reasearching the symbolism of Nataraja I discovered an an idea worth contemplating. The tiny person under His Feet represents the demon Apasmāra,a dwarf who represented ignorance and epilepsy. In order to preserve knowledge in the world, Apasmāra could not be killed; to do so would upset the balance of knowledge and ignorance, as to kill Apasmāra would mean attaining knowledge without effort, dedication and hard work, which would lead to the devaluing of knowledge in all forms. In order to subdue Apasmāra, Lord Śiva adopted the form of Śrī Naṭarāja – the Lord of Dance,and performed the cosmic dance of Tāṇḍava. During this dance, Śrī Naṭarāja suppressed Apasmāra by crushing him with his right foot. As Apasmāra is one of the few demons destined to immortality, it is believed that Lord Śiva forever remains in his Śrī Naṭarāja form suppressing Apasmāra for all eternity.