Thursday, July 07, 2011

Love over Ego

An early Chola Bronze Figure of Siva Nataraja. Tamil Nadu, South India. Circa 950-1000 A.D

This exquisite South Indian bronze represents Lord Shiva, the embodiment of Universal Self or Love.
He is shown with one foot subduing a dwarf demon, representing the ego and ignorance (the small self). One of the left hands gestures towards the other foot, signifying that the way to Self-realisation is through devotion (in Indian culture, the feet of divine beings are a particular focus of worship). Poet saints have often referred to the Feet of the Lord or the Goddess as a place of refuge from the devastating illusions of the world.
The upper right hand holds a damaru (small drum), a symbol of creation; while the far left hand holds the fire of cosmic dissolution. 
For the Self there is no Creation and end of the world. Self and World are one and the same. The world is brought into being, and annihilated, from moment to moment. There is no such thing as a time of creation in the distant past, nor a future doomsday to dread.
The fourth hand is held in the abhaya mudra (gesture of reassurance), telling the viewer not to have fear.

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