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RELIGION & MYTHOLOGY

  

 

 

  Nataraja

 

Malaysia

Nataraja, representing the cosmic dance of Shiva, is depicted with 4 arms, of which one is held across the chest in the gajahasta or elephant trunk pose, with the wrist limp and the fingers pointed downward, toward his uplifted foot. Nataraja represents Shiva's 5 activities, i.e. Creation, symbolized by the bando-drum (fig.); Protection, symbolized by the abhaya mudra (fig.); Destruction, symbolized by the fire that cleanses sins and removes all illusion; Embodiment, symbolized by the one foot planted on the midget Apasmara (fig.), who represents ignorance and thus −by subduing him− allowing the birth of knowledge; and Release, which is represented by the foot held aloft.