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Sabhapati In Hindu Religion

Sabhapati held a significant role as an officer in the ancient Hindu world, and it is also a name associated with the Hindu deity Shiva. In antiquity, the term 'sabha' referred to a large hall designated for gambling activities. The Sabhapati was a royal appointee tasked with ensuring that gambling adhered to regulations and was responsible for collecting associated fees or taxes.

In the context of an assembly of elders and wise individuals (vidvatsabha), the term sabha denoted such gatherings, with the Sabhapati serving as the presiding authority.

Additionally, Sabhapati serves as one of the epithets of Mahadeva, a designation for Shiva. Shiva is revered as the master of all 108 dance forms, having created them himself. Legend holds that he engages in a divine dance each evening at his abode in Kailasa, alleviating the sufferings of beings and entertaining the assembled gods, earning him the title Sabhapati, meaning the lord of the congregation.

The representation of Sabhapati in murti (vigraha or bimba or idol) closely resembles that of Nataraja, with the distinction that Sabhapati balances on the left leg, and the poses of the two lower arms are reversed.