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Lord Shiva has been symbolized as an embodiment of energy. His powerful dance is an example of the immense energy and power he possessed. Shiva’s dance was so powerful and robust that he was called ‘Nataraja’, which means the King of Dance. CERN, which is a European Organisation for Nuclear Research, has recently unveiled a huge Nataraja statue- a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva performing his powerful cosmic dance.
The statue is a gift from India, celebrating CERN's long association with India which started in the 1960's and continues strongly today. It was unveiled by the Director General, Dr Robert Aymar, His Excellency Mr K. M. Chandrasekhar, Ambassador (WTO-Geneva) and Dr Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Dept of Atomic Energy, India.
Shiva’s cosmic dance symbolizes the interaction between the static and the dynamic energy flow. This energy flow contains five principles – Creation, destruction, preservation, illusion and emancipation. Shiva’s RudraTandava is a ‘dance of destruction’. The destruction happens with the occurring of radiant fire, wild thunder storms spreading all over the universe destroying and shattering everything including the Sun, Moon and the stellar bodies.
(The Director-General and Dr Kakodkar watch as Mr.Chandrasekhar signs the Guest Book)
In the Hindu religion, this form of the dancing Lord Shiva is known as the Nataraj and symbolises Shakti, or life force. As a plaque alongside the statue explains, the belief is that Lord Shiva danced the Universe into existence, motivates it, and will eventually extinguish it. Carl Sagan drew the metaphor between the cosmic dance of the Nataraj and the modern study of the 'cosmic dance' of subatomic particles.
The statue was made in India. The original sculpture was a wax model, around which a soil mould was made. Melting the wax left a hollow into which liquid metal was poured. Once cooled, the mould was split and the statue polished and given its antique finish.
The statue is on permanent display in the square between buildings 39 and 40, a short distance from the Main Building.