Nataraja is the archetype of anyone in radical change in their life, be it a new relationship, career or a spiritual path. Shiva teaches us to embrace life with joy and a sense of wonder.
Symbolism: Shiva Nataraja – The Lord of the Dance
Life is Uncertain. Anything can happen anytime to anyone of us. The real question is how does one live such a life of uncertainty with Certainty?
By Embracing the Dancer, the Shiva Nataraja, the Joyous Dancer. Nata means the Dance and Raja means King.
This is the dance of creation and destruction of the Universe that each of us co-creates. The circle of flames represent the world we have created. Everything we experience is due to the karmas we have incurred from the past, including past lives. The Sanskrit word Loka doesn’t just mean world, it means the world we experience.
The circle of flames thus represent our destiny coming from previous karmic patterns. We possess free will however, and this is represented by the flame Shiva holds in his hand. This is likened to the fire in the belly we need in order to transform and get out of our comfort zone.
On the other hand, Shiva holds the Damaru, the Drum, the pulse beat of Creation. Time and Space comes from this beat. The whole Universe vibrates from the Damaru of Lord Shiva. There is an ancient 10th century, the Spanda Karikas which talks about the Universe as vibrations or Spanda. This is something the scientists only discovered last century.
Thus the top two hands of Shiva symbolize creation in your life. However when you engage in creating something new in your life, the old thoughts, patterns and relationships drag you down.This is represented by the being of forgetfulness, Apasmra under Shiva’s feet. The word Smra comes from Smriti which means “to remember”. For instance, the Bhagavad Gita is a smriti, a remembered text. Apasmra means you literally forget, you get paralyzed by change, you get stuck in the same rut of life, you become like a deer caught in the headlights! Apasmra also represents the demons within us, the old ways of thinking, the old patterns (samskaras) and addictions that sometimes drag us down.
What Shiva does is to crush the back of Apasmra with his right foot and teach us that life is about creation and destruction, simultaneously. These demons are always there in our lives, that’s why Shiva steps on the back of Apasmra after breaking it, but the head is upturned upwards. One needs to always manage these demons with Sadhana or Spiritual Practice.
However another conundrum we face during conscious change is that we worry about the results of our transformation. It comes from our ego, we remember the past mistakes we have made or become uncertain of the results of our transformation and feel what if it doesn’t work out. It’s very natural to feel this uncertainty and its part of the human experience.
To address this, Lord Shiva does two things. He raises his left foot and brings his left arm over to point to his raised left foot (Sharanagati Mudra). This literally means “Let It Go”, “Surrender” as shown by Shiva’s hand gesturing to one of his feet. The word surrender to an average person means giving up or losing something. To the yogi, surrender is like a drop of water merging with the Ocean. You essentially gain the Infinite. The individual drop is indistinguishable from the Ocean and that’s where the Certainty in our lives comes in: We realize that we are the Ocean that is never born and never dies.
When we truly surrender, Shiva raises his right hand in the Abhaya mudra (blessing). This mudra means that he removes fears and uncertainties from within us. But the process starts when you surrender. So the entire yogic path is a combination of effort and Grace. We do the effort, the sadhanas, the yogic practices to surrender and Grace smiles at you.
Interestingly, when Lord Shiva points to his left leg with his left hand, he crosses his heart. The crossing of the heart represents the deepest, darkest moments in our lives (the proverbial dark night of the soul). This miserable time is actually an opportunity to surrender and exponential gains can come in your spiritual path. That is why in the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna received the highest teachings from Lord Krishna when Arjuna was at his most despondent state.
Most of humanity lives on the circle of the wheel of samsara, as shown by the circular flames around Shiva. We are buffeted by waves of change, of creation and destruction. Change is inevitable whether we seek it or not. By the time you are reading this, you are not the same person you were a second ago; thousands of cells in your body have died and thousands have been born. But in a spinning wheel around Lord Shiva, something never changes; this is the Center. If you look carefully at the murti of Nataraja, the center is where the Heart is. This is the seat of pure Consciousness, the “I Am”.
The Upanishads talk about this pure Consciousness residing in our Heart space. So Lord Shiva tells us: Life is a dance, it’s inherently chaotic, engage with it, create, destroy. Do not however make the dance into a drama. Know who you are, you are pure Consciousness, the stillness that is never born nor dies.
Symbolisms of the Cobras wrapped on Shiva:
The cobra represents desire because desire is like a cobra injecting its venom: when you get infected, it’s very hard to remove it. But Shiva is the ultimate yogi. He has desires but the desires don’t control him. He wears the cobra as an adornment, as a decoration, as jewelry and even they are flying in the dance symbolizing that he is the Master of Desires. Finally, just like the way the cobra sheds its skin representing transformation, Shiva’s cobra represents the alchemy of transforming our desires into the highest desire for Spiritual Awakening. This is also represented as the three and a half coiled spring cobra that resides in our muladhara chakra. This Kundalini serpent energy uncoils through us upon Kundalini Awakening and rises up through all the seven chakras.
About the Center for the New Age
Spirit guided us to this special place which centuries earlier was used by ancient people as a ceremonial site. We were guided by Spirit to open the Center at this place which is now the heart of spirituality in Sedona.
We’ve searched the globe and pulled the most accurate Psychics and Healers and amazing Massage-Therapists from all over the world who have come here to be part of this special community, whose energy makes them even more psychic. Their services are offered at the Center daily and by phone at (928) 282-2085.
Center for the New Age
341 State Route 179
across from Tlaquepaque
Sedona, AZ 86336-6111