Lord Shiva, which is one of the most significant Hindu religion deities, is known by several names, like Mahadeva, Rudra, Neelakantha, Shambhu, and Nataraja. The form of Shiva of Nataraja is a symbol of the cosmic dance of destruction and creation. What is more interestingly, one of the greatest and biggest centers for scientific research in the entire world, which is called CERN and is located at Geneva, lying on the border of France and Switzerland in the European Organization for Nuclear Research, whose main function is to oversee the Large Hadron Collider or LHC, has a statue of the Lord Shiva Nataraja.
The Indian government gifted this statue to the research center in order to celebrate CERN’s long association with this country. This statue was unveiled on the 18th of June, 2004, and it is 2 meters tall and made in the country of India. The statue is permanently displayed in the square between the building 39 and 40, which is a short distance from the main building. It was said that since this country was one of the observer states of the institute, it represented the multiculturalism of CERN with scientists from around the world.
What does the statue of Lord Shiva Nataraja symbolize?
Lord Shiva belongs to the three primary Hindu trinity deities, and it is worshiped as the transformer and destroyer of our world. Moreover, Shiva Nataraja has unique symbolism, yet deep merge or religion, science, and art as one. In the endless dance of creation, preservation, destruction and paired graces of God is hidden a profound understanding of the Universe. The dance of Nataraja is not only a symbol, but it is a phenomenon which takes place within every one of us, at the atomic level, right now. The Agamas proclaim:
“The birth of the world, its maintenance, its destruction, the soul’s obscuration, and liberation are the five acts of His dance.”
Tandava, which is a dance thought to be the source of the cycle of creation, preservation, and destruction is, in fact, the dance depicted in Lord Shiva’s statue. The dance is present in five forms which show the cosmic cycle from the process of creation to the one of destruction. It was said that Lord Shiva has danced the Universe into existence, encourages it, and is eventually going to extinguish it.
The symbolism from a scientific point of view
The physicist Fritjof has explained the importance of this statue at the CERN on a plaque next to this statue. His quote goes like this:
“Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art, and modern physics.”
Furthermore, in The Tao of Physics that has been published for the first time in 1975 and is still printed in more than 40 editions across the globe, the Physicist explains that the dance of Shiva is the symbol of the basis of all existence. Simultaneously, Shiva is the reminder of the manifold forms in the world, saying that they are not fundamental, but simply ever-changing and illusory. Modern physics has also shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not just manifested in the turn of the seasons and also in the birth and death of the living creatures, but moreover, it is the very essence of inorganic matter.
The Physicist also explained that according to quantum field theory, the dance of creation and destruction is the base of the very existence of the matter. Some physics from the modern world revealed that every subatomic particle not just performs an energy dance but it is energy dance itself; a pulsating creation and destruction process. For them, the dance of Shiva is the dance of subatomic matter, and the basis of all existence and natural phenomena.
Moreover, one post-doc student that worked at the scientific research center CERN, named Aidan Randle-Conde, wrote that in the light of the day, when CERN teems with life, Shiva appears to be playful, and reminds us that our Universe is shaking things up regularly, remaking itself and is never static.
However, during the night time, when they had more time to contemplate the more profound questions, Shiva casts a long shadow over their work, something like the shadows on the cave of Plato. Shiva is our reminder that they still do not know the answer to probably the biggest question presented by our Universe and that whenever we collide the beams, we have to take the cosmic balance sheet in the account.
The person that introduced the idea in the West has been a popular scientist, named Carl Sagan, through his show Cosmos. He said that Hinduism is the only religion of the greatest ones in the world which is dedicated to the idea that the cosmos undergoes immerse and infinite numbers of deaths and rebirths.
The Hindu religion, according to him, is the single one in which the time scales correspond, without a doubt, by accident, to the ones of the modern scientific cosmology. The cycles run from the ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma about 8.64 billion years ago. This is quite longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun, and it is about half of the time of the Big Bang. Moreover, there are much longer time scales, yet.