art has become increasingly popular in recent years, and one
type of art that has become especially popular is Hindu
of the most interesting of these is the figure of Natraj,
which is one of the many names of Shiva, one of the three
major deities in the Hindu religion.
While Shiva is often described as "the
destroyer”, he is also instrumental in the creation of new
life and in resurrection.
When Shiva assumes the form of Natraj, he is
performing a dance that is said to have several different
The figure of Natraj is often
shown dancing enclosed in a burning circle.
The burning circle represents the cosmic energy
Natraj creates and channels.
His energy and enthusiasm are said to destroy the old
and create new life. His
dance is said to represent the energy and life cycle of the
it is said that Shiva's dancing (as Natraj) is the energy
that keeps the universe running, and that if he ever stops
dancing the universe will cease to exist.
He is also often represented as standing on top of a
demon, to show that he has the power to conquer evil and
Hinduism is one of the most
dominant forms of religion in India.
Often thought of as polytheistic because of the many
different gods, Hinduism is in fact based on a coherent set
of beliefs and values.
Most Hindus worship one of the "big three"
- Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), or Shiva,
and each of these deities has their own separate forms, as
well as favorite companions.
According to Hindu mythology, Shiva has had many
different experiences with the other Hindu Gods, including
marrying Sati, the granddaughter of Brahma and fathering the
Hindu deities Ganesa (also known as Ganesh) and Kartikeya.
Dancing is just one of the
many energetic activities associated with Shiva, and the
form of Natraj is considered the definitive image of Shiva's
dancing. Natraj is sometimes known as the "Cosmic dancer”,
because his dancing represents all the joys of creation,
death, and rebirth. Natraj
is also known as Nataraja, the Lord of the Dance, and there
are many temples dedicated to this figure throughout the
statues of Natraj come in many different shapes and sizes,
and can make an excellent accent piece for any Asian art
collection. It can also be used as a meditation focal point, an object
for you to look at as you contemplate the world's many
different energies. Many
Hindus value statues of Natraj because they can be placed on
a personal altar and used for prayer and contemplation.
In addition, the statue itself is thought to bring
some of the life energy of Natraj into the person's home.