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TOP        =======UNDERSTANDING HINDUISM========

Biodance - Natraj
The Dance of Shiva

We renew our physical body just as we regrow hair and nails. We are on the move. Five years ago we didn't exist, all our atoms having been replaced in the interval. Here today, completely gone in five years, renewed down to the last single atom, we endure only in the shape, form and pattern that are assured by our genetic blueprint.

Our replacement parts come in constant flow from the earth itself.  The carbon atoms in my body were once of the earth and shall be again, only to be exchanged for more of the same. After leaving my body they may re-enter me at a later time. Or they may be fixed for a while in the body of someone else- or something else- in this unending round of "biodance," this dance of life.

BIODANCE- the endless exchange of the elements of living things with the earth itself - proceeds silently, giving us no hint that it is happening. It is a dervish dance, animated and purposeful and disciplined; and it is a dance in which every living organism participates.

These observations simply defy any definition of a static and fixed body. Even our genes, our claim to biologic individuality, constantly dissolve and are renewed. Our dissolution is a silent flow occurring outside our awareness. we are in a persistent equilibrium with the earth.

It is not only our genes that renew themselves. The entire body participates in this astonishing dynamism. Radioisotopic techniques allow us to trace the chemicals that enter and leave the body. Aebersold has concluded that 98 percent of the 10 to the power of 28 28 atoms of the body are replaced annually. Some tissue, such as bone, is especially dynamic. Each body structure has its own rate of reformation: the lining of the stomach renews itself in a week; the skin is entirely replaced in a month; the liver is regenerated in six weeks.

Yet the boundary of our body has to be extended even farther than the earth itself. We know that certain elements in our body, such as the phosphorus in our bones, were formed at an earlier stage in the evolution of our galaxy. Like many elements in the earth's crust, it was cycled through the lifetime of several stars before appearing terrestrially, eventually finding its way into our body.

A strictly bounded body does not exist. Our roots go deep; we are anchored in the stars.

The biodance, the constant renewal of our body from the world outside, stands in playful contrast to our ordinary idea of death. We do not wait on death, for we are constantly returning to the earth while alive. Every living moment a portion of the billions of atoms in our body returns to the world outside. This constant streaming is so pronounced, so necessary for life, that the very notion of 'boundary' begins to appear as an arbitrary idea rather than a physical reality.

The dance of Shiva is considered an act of creation. It arouses dormant energies.This productive energy of the Absolute in its pristine strength represents the forces of evolution and involution, the appearance and disappearance of the universe.

Every aspect of life has two opposite entities. Deva is the divine principle and Bhuta is matter. Deva is light , truth and immortality; Bhuta is darkness, untruth and death. One is positive and the other is negative; one is life and the other is inertia. The cycle of life and death can only proceed when these two basic opposite forces, represented by the Devas and the Bhutas are finally reconciled. These two opposite principles are eternally in conflict (Daivasuram) but become reconciled in the body of Shiva. Their co-existence is expressed in the rhythm of Shiva's dance.

Natraj - the cosmic dancer - represents the constant biodance of life- creation, maintenance and transformation and indicates the perfect balance between life and death. Shiva's dance is the most inspiring and pragmatic act typifying the eternal rhythm which is the cause of the infinite creative process. Shiva is the presiding deity of the mind. The entire universe created by Shiva is his SHAKTI (Prakriti, or Nature) or energy. Shiva's dance movements represent the movement of his SHAKTI or energy.

Bhagavad Gita, Ch.13, Verse 29:

"He sees, who sees that all actions are performed by Nature alone and that the Self is actionless."
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