Lord Shiva has been symbolized as an embodiment of energy. His powerful dance is an example for the immense energy and power he possessed. Shiva’s dance was so powerful and robust that he was called as ‘Nataraja’, which means the King of Dance. If you think this is a simple dance, think again, because there is a lot of physics behind Shiva’s cosmic dance.
CERN, which is a European Organisation for Nuclear Research, has recently unveiled a huge Nataraja statue- a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva performing his powerful cosmic dance. Well, you might be wondering how a Hindu God got a place in the prestigious science centre. It is quite surprising, isn’t it? Atheists may be in total disagreement with the idea of grounding religious symbols in a place which is full of people with practical intellect. But, scientists are now digging deeper into ancient archives for their discoveries. They are turning towards the wisdom of India and are in continuous search for hidden science.
CERN’s physicists observed and analysed the cosmic dance of Shiva as the dance of a subatomic particle. Indian government then acknowledged the profound significance of Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance. CERN which is located in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 18, 2004, unveiled a 2m tall statue of Indian deity Shiva in his dance posture as a new landmark. Shiva’s Tandava and the famous Nataraja idol are a symbol of creation and destruction. It was gifted by the Indian Government as symbol of research centre’s long association with India.
Shiva’s cosmic dance symbolizes the interaction between the static and the dynamic energy flow. This energy flow contains five principles – Creation, destruction, preservation, illusion and emancipation. Shiva’s RudraTandava is a ‘dance of destruction’. The destruction happens with the occurring of radiant fire, wild thunder storms spreading all over the universe destroying and shattering everything including the Sun, Moon and the stellar bodies. His appearance is so different and unique- with matted hair, three marks of ash on his forehead, with an hour glass shaped drum known as ‘dumaroo’ in his upright hand. He stands on the demon of ignorance, balancing on his right leg as a snake crawls over his legs, arms and hair. On his head is knotted hair, where Goddess Ganga, the epitomising holy river, sits. The skull over his head represents the conquest over death. Under his feet is a dwarf man called ‘Apasmara‘, who is a demon who representing ignorance and epilepsy. As a sign of destruction, Lord Shiva supresses ‘Apasmara’ by stamping him with one leg.
You might be in a doubt as to how is this dance related to physics? What is the science behind it? Why did a great research institution like CERN install a statue of a Hindu God?
There is a reason behind everything. Shiva’s cosmic dance is popularly known as dance of bliss and symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, also the daily rhythm of birth and death.
FritzofCapra, a famous scientist, educator and an author wrote about Lord Shiva in his article “The Dance Of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics”. In another book called “The Tao Of Physics”, he beautifully correlates Shiva’s cosmic dance to modern physics. According to modern physics, Shiva’s dance has been described as dance of subatomic matter. It is a depiction of birth and death of matter, which is the continuous cycle of life between creation and destruction.
Besides, the Shiva’s statue has a special plaque which explains the significance of Shiva’s cosmic dance with few quotes taken from The Tao of Physics.
The text on the plaque goes like this
“Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, seeing beyond the unsurpassed rhythm, beauty, power and grace of the Nataraja, once wrote of it “It is the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of.”
More recently, Fritjof Capra explained that “Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and death of all living creatures, but is also the very essence of inorganic matter,” and that “For the modern physicists, then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter.”
It is indeed as Capra concluded: “Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.”
Courtesy: Fritjof Capra
Discoveries in modern science has already been known for centuries. Our culture, heritage and traditions are just not blind beliefs, but there’s definitely some scientific logic behind everything. And the Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance is a solid proof as well.