Nataraja is a form of Hindu god Shiva as a cosmic dancer. He is also known as Lord of Dance. Nataraja is a central figure in the classical dance tradition of India. His cosmic dance is represents creation, preservation and dissolution of the universe. Nataraja Shiva is shown as dancing inside a circle of fire - prabha mandala, which represents the cycle time. The dance of Shiva is known as Tandava. Tandava is both creative and destructive.
Nataraja has four arms. He holds a damru (two-headed drum), the sound of which is believed to be the sound of creation, and second hand holds a fire pot, which represents destruction. One of the hands is in abhaya mudra, the gesture of blessing, and fourth hand points downward, which represents liberation. Under his feet, he is standing over Apasmara, a dwarf representing ignorance.
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