|Raised right leg.Brass Unique Nataraja Statue 10"www.lotussculpture.com|
|Nataraj, the dancing form of Lord Shiva,.hinduismdecoded.blogspot.com|
Lord Shiva, one of the Trinity Gods is often referred to as Nataraja (in Sanskrit means "Lord of dance"), the cosmic dancer. There are are thousands of temples in India dedicated to Lord Shiva, the God of destroyer. He is a great dancer and his various forms of dances are depicted by Indian classical Bharatnatyam dancers and such colorful, exciting and rhythmic dances with correct foot movements, in tune with the music and beat, are a feat to watch. The icon of Nataraja is symbolic of Indian culture originated in the early Chola period
Dance of Shiva in Tillai (Chidambaram), Tamil Nadu, forms the motif for all the depictions of Shiva as Nataraja. His divine dance personifies destruction of universe on one hand and creation with the help of Brahma on the other. Simply it means as the Lord of Dance, Nataraja (Shiva), performs the tandava, the dance in which the universe is created, maintained, and dissolved. Shiva's long, matted hair, usually piled up in a knot, get loosened during the dance and crash into the heavenly bodies, knocking them off course or destroying them utterly. He dances in such a way he maintains a perfect balance between destruction and creation. The two most common forms of Shiva's dance are the Lasya (the gentle form of dance), associated with the creation of the world, and the Tandava (the violent and dangerous dance), associated with the destruction.
The sculpture of Shiva is usually made in bronze, with Shiva dancing in an aureole of flames, lifting his left leg (or in rare cases, the right leg) and balancing over a demon or dwarf (Muyalaka) who symbolizes ignorance. In most temples the bronze idols of Nataraja's are shown with raised left foot.
There are five Cosmic Dance Halls of Shiva in Tamil Nadu. 1. The Natarajar shrine in the Sundareswarar temple in Madurai is referred to as the Velli Sabhai or the Rajata Sabha – the Hall of Silver. 2. The Golden Hall or Kanaka Sabha at Chidambaram. 3. The hall of Rubies or Ratna Sabha at Tiruvalankaadu. 4. The Copper hall or Taamra Sabha at Nellaiappar temple, Tirunelveli. 5. The Chitrasabha or the hall of pictures at Kutralam. Nataraja is said to have performed Ananda Tandavam (dance of bliss) at Chidambaram. In all these dances, one can see the lord lifting the left foot with his right foot firmly on the ground.
The unusual feature about the Lord's idol at Meenakshi temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu is the shift of his leg, that is dancing with his raised right foot while balancing on the left foot. The hall where He danced with lifted right foot is referred to as Rajata Sabha. Hence, it is called Kaal maari aadiya patalam,'' The legend has it the Lord danced with his right foot raised on the request of Pandya King by the name of Rajasekhara, a great devotee of Shiva. The king was very much concerned about the lord's balancing act while dancing with permanently grounded right foot that might cause Him pain. Hence the lord himself made the shift from left foot to right foot.
Personally I have been to lots of Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu and also in Karnataka and Kerala. I have never seen an idol with a raised right foot, the exception being the Nataraja idol in the shrine at Meenakshi temple, Madurai. One can see this unique idol in the Sundereswarar Shrine close to the main entrance on the right side. The bronze idol is an inspiring one and the workmanship is exceptionally good.