Shiva Nataraja and the Ananda-Tandava Cosmic Dance


A Unifying Image


I may have re-discovered an original unifying image-concept that ties together the descending nakshatras represented by GV20-Abhijit, GV21-Shravana, GV22-Dhanistha/Shravistha, GV23-Shatabishta, GV24-Purva Bhadrapada, and GV25-Uttara Bhadrapada.

Shiva-Nataraja in the mystical sense represents Consciousness emanating out of potentiality into activity as Energy (Shakti).  Here is an image with some traditional interpretations of the iconography for this:
Sri Vasudeva explains Shiva Nataraja as Adideva, the one who creates the first spanda:

"[The head region] is the Siva region and Siva is the one who is able to discriminate, who is able to be detached, so you see him as a yogi.  He is able to begin the creation, he starts with the first spanda or vibration to create the creation, so he becomes the dynamic Siva that you see here – the dynamic Siva when he starts the creation.  And you see the Siva is there dominating the lower part, - you see him stepping on this little demonic creature there so he’s always keeping the lower area under control.  That’s the Siva Consciousness and attendant to that will be the female deities, the Durga, the Kali – when you look at them they are more strong, firm, discriminating, fierce, fearless.  When we come into this region those are the qualities we begin to embrace as our consciousness opens up."

~ Sri Vasudeva, 2015 40 Days Observance 

When I look at this image of Shiva-Nataraja I see GV20-Abhijit, GV21-Shravana, GV22-Dhanistha/Shravistha, GV23-Shatabishta, GV24-Purva Bhadrapada, and GV25-Uttara Bhadrapada implied in it.  What follows is my own interpretation of the nakshatras based on my research so far:


GV20-Abhiji, the unmoving pole star of ancient times, represents enlightened, self-realized consciousness - where Shakti becomes anchored in that Shiva, that Pure Consciousness of the crown chakra.  In the microcosm of the human experience, this is Brahmarandhra Chakra, where the serpent energy Kundalini ceases its movement and the yogi experiences the bliss of superconsciousness.  This is Krishna consciousness or Christ consciousness or Buddha consciousness or Mohammed consciousness - the fullness of the enlightened, Self-realized experience in the embodied soul.

GV21-Shravana, is the AUM, the primordeal sound, that big bang that emanates out of Consciousness - that Sri Vasudeva has taught me is the power of intention, the intent to create something - that comes out of the Bliss of Consciousness, and in an "ordinary" sense every time we create an intention it is coming from somewhere deep within us, but we are not the originators of ideas - we only pick up what is in the space already.  Shravana's symbol of the 3 footprints alludes to the story of Vishnu's incarnation as the dwarf Vamana/Trivikrama and how he tricked the demon into regaining the three worlds.

GV22-Shravistha/Dhanishtha, next the AUM ripples into sound waves that travel through the nadis of the cosmos and into every chakra-loka (dimension) of the Universe.  This becomes Shiva Nataraja who is now Consciousness in His Ananda-Tandava cosmic dance engendering all things through five cosmic powers (creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment and grace).  

GV23-Shatabhisha has to do with the circle of flames, that purifies the yoga through the practice of microcosmic orbit in the bodies of the human experience.  As the yogi/Kundalini burns through each chakra and purifies each nadi, the energy is purified healing us on every level of being.  To become more enlightened, to free oneself of the dis-ease of ignorance, is the ultimate healing, the greatest healing of all.

Now we come to the nagas - you see the naga on the neck of Shiva - these are the cosmic version of Kundalini, the Kundali forces in the Universe subtle body.

GV-24 Purvabhadrapada has a deity that is one-footed, sometimes as a one-footed goat.  A goat has horns like the Moon, a derivative I am sure from some archaic depictions of Shiva-Nataraja.  The right foot of Shiva standing on the demon Apasmarapurusha who stands for Consciousness in contraction, in limitation - because we are all Consciousness but living in embodiment and ignorance, we live in low levels of awareness and expression of Self.  This is the soul as Jiva, unrealized.  This represents Consciousness in contraction.

GV-25 Uttarabhadrapada is then the raised left foot of Shiva-Nataraja, the grace that uplifts our Consciousness bringing the Light of Truth and the bliss that comes with that.  Its power is the bringing of the rain (varshodyamana shakti) - that I believe to be a form of amrita or soma or some variant of ananda/bliss.


Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Shiva Tandava Stotram: Jatatabi Galajjala

by Sri Ravana

Lyrics here to contemplate their deeper meaning

The five cosmic powers


These five descending nakshatras, coming out of the stillness of GV20-Abhijit may thus express the five cosmic powers of Shiva-Nataraja:

  1. Shrishti (creation, evolution) by GV21-Shravana, the primordeal creation of sound
  2. Sthiti (preservation, support) by GV22-Dhanistha, the ananda-tandava dance itself
  3. Samhara (destruction, evolution) by GV23-Shatabhisha, the healing power of the purifying flames of sadhanna (spiritual practice)
  4. Tirobhava (illusion) by GV24-Purvabhadrapada, the ignorance of the embodied Conscious as a soul in a human experience (or any form)
  5. Anugraha (release, emancipation, grace) by GV25-Uttarabhadrapada
These are expressions of Consciousness-In-Activity in a cosmic sense and within us also.  Activity means Shakti.  And we see a similar image in Kali standing on Shiva's head which has more to do with what's going on on the other side of the head in the sushumna, as the Kundalini energy matures us enabling us to break down the limited-ego's resistance and surrender to Consciousness.

Sri Yantra

The Sri Yantra, which is another way of representing the cosmological circle (see this post), is composed of four Shiva triangles and five Shakti triangles.  Perhaps the above refers to the five shakti triangles.  


[These are just preliminary notes.......to be continued]