Siva As Nataraja:
Nataraja is Siva who is hidden in all the rhythmic movements of the manifest creation, the so called cosmic dance that ensures the orderliness (Rta) of the universe, the movement of the earth and the heavens, the arrangement of the galaxies and the inter stellar spaces, on which depends precariously the whole balance.
His dance is a divine activity that suffers no conflicts. It entertains our suffering minds and dispels our ignorance. It destroys our illusions and burns the worlds of demons and darkness. Finally, at the end of creation it dissolves the entire universe into a mysterious period of ekanda, a suspended activity.
Lord Siva is a master of dance forms. He is the author of all dance forms. The science of dance ( Natya sasthra) dealing with the 108 types of classical Indian dance forms said to have originated from him just as all the yogic postures.
In case of Lord Siva all dance is a form of expression, which he uses either to destroy the evil or alleviate the sufferings of his devotees.
About nine forms of Siva in dancing mode are described, of which the most popular form is Nataraja (the king of dance). Though we have a number of icons of Siva as Nataraja, he is rarely worshipped in this form either in the temples or in the households.
His other dance forms include, Ananda-tandava-murhty, dancing in a pleasant and cheerful mood, Uma-tandava-murhty, dancing in the company of Parvathi, Tripura-tandava-murthy, dancing while slaying Tripurasura and Urdhva-tandava-murhty, dancing in the air.
The Apsmarapurusha (the forgotten and deluded self), on whose body he rests his feet in the image of Nataraja symbolizes this fact. And for Siva this whole wide world of apasmarapurushas is a stage on which he enacts his dance drama.