King of Dancers
Lord Shiva, depicted here as the Nataraja, is regarded as the most powerful god in Hinduism. Nataraja means "King of Dancers" (Sanskrit nata = dance; raja = king). In this form, Shiva dances Anandatandava—the Dance of Bliss—symbolizing the cosmic cycles of creation and dissolution, as well as the daily rhythm and harmony of life, of birth and death. The purpose of this dance, it is believed, is to release humankind from ignorance and the snare of illusion of the "self."