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Tirobhava – Shiva Nataraja Cosmic Action

Tirobhava is one of the five cosmic actions of Lord Shiva, which is believed to be performed in his form as Shiva Nataraja. Shaiva Puranas describe at length the dance of Shiva Nataraja, which embodies pacha kriyas or the following five cosmic actions: Shrishti (creation), Sthiti (preservation), samhara or laya (destruction), tirobhava (unveiling of illusion), and granting of anugraha (grace of salvation).

The act of tirobhava is symbolized by Shiva Nataraja’s right foot, which is shown as apasmara purusha (trampling a demon) who is the symbol of evil and illusion.

The right foot which tramples the apasmara purusha (symbol of ignorance) is the fifth kriya among the pancha kriyas.

The highly symbolic concept of Shiva Nataraja in Hindu philosophy has been immortalized in the innumerable tandavas of the deity, which he is believed to have performed in order to destroy evil or protect a devotee.

Pancha Kriya concept had also been crystallized in the Shiva Nataraja bronze and stone sculptural representations found in the art of South India.