--> Skip to main content

Nritya Murti – Dancing Posture Of Hindu Gods In Temples

In Hindu iconography and tradition, certain deities are depicted in the posture of dancing, often referred to as "nritya murti" or "nrittamurtis" ("nritya" meaning dancing). These depictions symbolize various aspects of divine expression and cosmic activities. They can be seen in thousands of Hindu temples.

One prominent example is Mahadeva Shiva, who is often depicted as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer. Shiva's dance, known as the Tandava, is said to represent the cosmic cycles of creation, preservation, and destruction. According to mythological stories found in the Puranas, Shiva performed the Tandava dance to please the assembled gods in Kailasa, upon their request. The Tandava is a powerful and dynamic dance that embodies the energy of the universe. Shiva in dance form is worshipped in the sanctum sanctorum in many temples.

Similarly, Bhagavan Ganapati (Ganesha), the elephant-headed god, is sometimes depicted in a dancing posture. One such story from Hindu mythology narrates how Ganapati was immensely pleased and began dancing when Brahma, the creator, bowed down before him in great reverence. This portrayal symbolizes Ganapati's playful and joyful nature, as well as his role as a remover of obstacles.

Another deity often depicted dancing is Bhagavan Sri Krishna, particularly in his childhood form as a cowherd. One of the most famous instances of Krishna's dancing is his subjugation of the serpent Kaliya, who had poisoned the river Yamuna. Krishna danced on the serpent's multiple hoods, eventually driving Kaliya away and purifying the river. This event, known as the Kaliya Daman, showcases Krishna's divine prowess and his ability to overcome evil forces through his playful yet powerful actions.

Additionally, celestial beings known as apsaras, such as Rambha and Urvashi, are often depicted as graceful dancers. In Hindu mythology, apsaras are celestial nymphs known for their beauty and talent in music and dance. Their dances are often described as captivating and mesmerizing, reflecting the divine aesthetic and the blissful realms of celestial existence.

Overall, the depiction of deities and celestial beings in dancing postures in Hindu iconography symbolizes various aspects of cosmic harmony, divine expression, and the celebration of life's rhythms and cycles.