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Quotes – Indira Gandhi on Nataraja Idol

One cannot but marvel at the deep insight and sweep of imagination of our ancients to visualized cosmic energy in the form of Nataraja. The dance of the Nataraja symbolizes truth and beauty; realization and dissolution; force and rhythm; movement and change; time flowing and time still. The Nataraja is a representation of the divine as creator and artist.

Indira Gandhi – Former Prime Minister of India

(Source: In her foreword to C. Sivaramurti's monograph of 1974 on Nataraja)


Nataraja is a powerful symbol in Hinduism representing various aspects including truth, beauty, and cosmic balance. Nataraja is the form of Lord Shiva as the cosmic dancer, performing the divine dance called Tandava. This dance symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the eternal flow of energy within the universe. The portrayal of Nataraja often depicts Shiva dancing within a ring of fire, symbolizing the cycle of creation and destruction, while holding various symbolic objects like the drum (representing creation), the flame (representing destruction), and the gesture of reassurance (Abhaya mudra) symbolizing protection and fearlessness.

In this representation, Nataraja indeed embodies the concepts of truth and beauty. The dance itself is considered the epitome of beauty, representing the rhythm and harmony of the universe. Furthermore, the symbolism associated with Nataraja's dance reflects profound philosophical truths about the nature of existence and the interconnectedness of all things. Therefore, Nataraja is revered not only as a divine deity but also as a symbol of cosmic truth and beauty in Hinduism.

The Nataraja, an iconic depiction of the Hindu god Shiva, is rich with symbolism, including that of force and rhythm.

Force: The Nataraja is often depicted dancing within a circle of flames, representing the continuous cycle of creation and destruction, which is a fundamental aspect of the universe according to Hindu belief. This dance of destruction, known as the Tandava, symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation, preservation, and dissolution, all of which require immense force.

Rhythm: The dance of the Nataraja is not chaotic but highly rhythmic and precise. It symbolizes the cosmic dance of rhythm and harmony in the universe. The beats of his drum, known as the damaru, are said to create the rhythm of the universe. This rhythm signifies the orderly progression of time and the cosmic cycles of birth and death.

The Nataraja's dance thus encapsulates the dynamic interplay of forces in the universe, where creation and destruction, rhythm and chaos, are all part of the divine dance of existence.