Updated: Dec 5, 2018
Among the lush jungles of South India, Lord Shiva disguised himself as a vagrant peasant and confronted a group of sages who were engaging in questionable practices. The sages objected and in the argument that ensued, they began to fight Shiva with weapons of ferocious beasts and deadly serpents. Eventually, a monstrous dwarf representing the twin vices of ignorance and arrogance was sent to challenge Shiva into battle. Lord Shiva simply smiled and magnificently morphed into the form of Shiva Nataraja, encircled by a cosmic ring of fire signifying the cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth. With wild untamed hair sweeping around his head, ornamental jewellery adorning his body, and four expressive arms, he began to perform the Dance of Destruction. He balanced a drum whose beats symbolise creation in one hand; a flame of destruction in the second hand; the mudra of liberation in the third; and finally, the mudra of fearlessness in the fourth hand. Shiva then composedly crushed the arrogant dwarf with one foot and elegantly lifted the other foot in a display of grace among chaos.
The pose of Natarajasana illustrates the fact that a calm and steady demeanour is always more powerful than the superficial approach of ignorance and arrogance. It nurtures self-control, self-mastery, humility, poise, class and contentment through the ups, downs and various challenges of life.