Nataraja, aka: Naṭarāja; 4 Definition(s)


Nataraja means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

The well-known bronze sculpture of Naṭarāja (the King of Dancer) is considered to be one of the most beautiful pieces of art produced by Indian craftsmen. Every Śiva temple has a shrine dedicated to Śiva in his form of Naṭarāja performing the Ānanda tāṇḍava — the “Dance of Bliss”. In this icon we are instructed in the five functions of the Supreme Being: creation, sustenance, transformation, revealing and concealing.

The Dance takes place within a ring of flames which symbolises the cycle of births and deaths, the cycle of universal creation and destruction — projection and withdrawal. The god dances upon the back of the “Dwarf of Ignorance” known as Mulayaka. It is ignorance of our true nature that binds us to cycle of continual becoming and it is wisdom/ enlightenment that release us.

Source: Red Zambala: Hindu Icons and Symbols | Trinity

Naṭarāja (नटराज) is a sculpture found at the temple of Lokeśvara.—The gallery of images on the south façade of Lokeśvara temple starts with Naṭarāja or dancing Śiva in talasaṃsphoṭita pose. In this picture of dancing Śiva, we see him trampling hard on the back of Apasmārapuruṣa with the left foot. The god holds ḍamaru and nandidhvaja in his upper right and left hands respectively. The other two are in varada and karihasta.

Naṭarāja (नटराज) is also found as a sculpture on the exterior (western wall) of the temple of Trailokyeśvara.—This is one of the most beautiful images of Naṭarāja with eight hands in the Trailokyeśvara. Here dancing Śiva is depicted standing with the left foot in kuñcita or agratala and the other in samapāda with a left hand in karihasta and the corresponding right probably in sarpaśīrṣa. The second lower right and the third left hands are in dola, whereas the third and fourth upper right hands are with attributes. The uppermost right holds probably a trident but it looks like a crescent moon. There is something in the next immediate lower but it is damaged. The uppermost left holds a thing which looks like the hood of a snake.

Source: Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Naṭarāja (नटराज) refers to “great dancer-actor”. The term is used throughout nāṭyaśāstra literature.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
context information

Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Naṭarāja (नटराज).—Naṭarāja is the dancing form of Śiva, also called by the name Tāṇḍava. There are different forms of dancing Śiva identified by different names. The most popular is the Naṭarāja. Other forms are Sandhyatāṇḍava, Ūrdhvatāṇḍava, Gajāntakatāṇḍava, etc. The sculptures of this deity as wall reliefs and also in the round on the shafts of pillars are noticed. Naṭarāja is a very important form of Śiva worshiped throughout Tamilnadu.

Source: Shodhganga: Temples of Salem region Up to 1336 AD
Vastushastra book cover
context information

Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 21 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

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