Hi – I’m reading “Shiva: Stories and Teachings from the Shiva Mahapurana” by Vanamali and wanted to share this quote with you.
“There was a time when the sages who lived in the forests and practiced severe austerities became filled with ego and thus fell from their high code of conduct. To teach them a lesson, Shiva took on the form of a handsome young hermit, which apparently was a role he loved, and went into the forest. When they saw him the sages and their wives ran after him and begged him to stay with them, promising to change their ways and do whatever he wished them to do. Shiva laughed contemptuously at their request. They were furious at the lack of respect shown to them by the young hermit, and with their magic powers they created a tiger, a serpent, and a goblin, and set them on the young man. Shiva killed the tiger and took the skin for his garment, twined the serpent round his neck, and jumped on the goblin’s back and started to dance. It was a macabre dance, shaking the very foundations of the earth. His flying locks crashed into the heavenly bodeis, his footstep split the mountains, and his arms whirled amongst the stars. The gods descended from the heavens, and the demons abandoned the nether regions in order to watch this awe-inspiring dance. As the dance went on and on to the accompaniment of celestial music, the sages realized that what Shiva had done was to flay the tiger of their ambition, tame the serpent of their passion, and crush the goblin of their ego. His wild dance was the very essence of life, the cosmic cycle of creation, organization, and destruction. It was the mad dervish dance of the protons, neutrons, and all the energy particles that make up this world of matter, throbbing with energy. He was the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer. In his right hand he held the rattle drum, which produces the sound that emanates from the throat at the point of death, and also the reverberation at the onset of birth. In his left hand he held the fire that burns and destroys, yet illuminates and cooks the food that supports life. Around him revolved the huge wheel of time, the wheel of samsara, the cycle of infinite births and deaths. The gods, sages, and other celestial beings watched spellbound at this awesome spectacle of the Lord as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer. It was this dance that inspired the great treatise on Natyashastra, or the science of dance, by the sage Bharata. This event is immortalized in bronze in the awe-inspiring figure of Shiva as Nataraja, in the temple of Chidambaram in South India. Aum Namashivaya!”
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