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Symbolism Of Demon Apasmara Purusha Crushed By Nataraja Shiva With His Foot

The symbolism of the demon Apasmara Purusha crushed by Nataraja Shiva's left foot is rich and multifaceted, deeply embedded in Hindu tradition and philosophy. Here's an expanded explanation:

Nataraja Shiva

Nataraja, or Shiva as the Lord of Dance, represents the dynamic and cyclical nature of the universe. His dance, the Tandava, symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation, preservation, and destruction. Every aspect of Nataraja's form and posture is symbolic:

The Flaming Circle (Prabhamandala): Surrounds Shiva, symbolizing the cosmos and the continuous cycle of birth and rebirth.

The Drum (Damaru): Held in his upper right hand, represents the sound of creation, the beat of time.

The Flame (Agni): Held in his upper left hand, symbolizes destruction and transformation.

The Gesture of Fearlessness (Abhaya Mudra): The lower right hand is raised in a gesture that dispels fear and grants protection.

The Left Hand (Gajahasta or Ardhachandra Mudra): Pointing to his raised left foot, symbolizing liberation and upliftment from the cycle of birth and death.

Apasmara Purusha

Apasmarapurusha is depicted as a dwarf demon with the body of an infant, trampled under Nataraja's right foot. His name, derived from Sanskrit, means "forgetfulness" (apasmara) and "man" (purusha). He embodies ignorance and illusion (avidya) that lead to a state of spiritual forgetfulness, causing one to lose consciousness of their true divine nature.

Symbolism of Crushing Apasmara Purusha

Ignorance and Ego: Apasmarapurusha represents the ignorance and ego that cloud human consciousness. Ignorance in Hindu philosophy is seen as the root cause of all suffering, as it leads individuals to forget their divine essence and true purpose.

Triumph Over Ignorance: Shiva's act of trampling Apasmarapurusha signifies the triumph of divine knowledge and enlightenment over ignorance. It highlights the idea that true wisdom and self-realization can only be achieved by overcoming the ego and ignorance.

Balance and Stability: The crushing of Apasmarapurusha also represents the need to maintain balance and stability in the face of ignorance. By keeping the demon under control, Shiva maintains cosmic balance, symbolizing that enlightenment requires the suppression of ignorance.

Path to Liberation: Shiva's raised left foot, pointing to liberation, indicates that overcoming ignorance (symbolized by Apasmarapurusha) is essential for achieving moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

Cosmic Dance of Life: Apasmarapurusha's presence under Shiva's foot also signifies that ignorance and knowledge are part of the cosmic dance of life. The suppression of ignorance by divine forces is a continuous process in the universal cycle.

Philosophical Implications

The image of Nataraja crushing Apasmara Purusha encapsulates profound philosophical messages:

Illusion (Maya): The demon represents maya, the illusion that deceives beings into perceiving the material world as the ultimate reality.

Self-Realization: The act of trampling suggests the necessity of self-realization and awareness in dispelling illusion and ignorance.

Spiritual Awakening: It emphasizes the importance of spiritual practices and divine intervention in awakening to one's true nature.

In summary, the symbolism of Apasmarapurusha crushed by Nataraja Shiva's foot is a powerful depiction of the eternal struggle between ignorance and enlightenment. It underscores the importance of divine grace, spiritual wisdom, and the pursuit of self-realization in overcoming the ignorance that binds the soul.