The cosmic dance of Shiva Nataraj as king (raja) of the dance (nata) is considered a symbol of the eternal movement of the universe.
Shiva Nataraj is usually surrounded by a wreath of flames. On one hand these flames provide protection from inconvenient external influences. But They are also the fire of destruction of old things from which the new can arise, symbolizing the eternal cycle of existence. In his right hand Shiva holds a small drum, representing the rhythm of creation.
His mantra is Aum, the primal sound from which creation arose. With his second right hand he makes the moedra of reassurance. With a left hand, Shiva holds a torch or flame as a symbol of destruction and renewal. The downward bending left arm symbolizes obedient humility.
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