New Delhi: Maha Shivratri is one of the most significant festivals in Hindu religion. On Shivratri, the followers of Lord Shiva seek his blessings. Devotees observe fast and chant bhajans dedicated to Shiva. Devotees across the country offer milk, fruits, bhang, datura, etc.
Several names of Lord Shiva are Mahadev, Shankara, Bholenath, Rudra, etc. Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation, and arts. The devotee’s spiritual experience was enhanced by meditation inspired by works of art and architecture.
Lord Shiva is important for artists. The Natraj form is an inspiration for dancers and artists. Nata means dance or performance, and raja meaning king or lord. The Metropolitan Museum’s Shiva Nataraja was made in the eleventh century during the Chola Dynasty (9th-13th centuries) in South India, in Tamil Nadu.
The significance of dance to this festival has historical roots. The Maha Shivratri has a great significance for artists. It has served as an occasion for the artists from all over India to come together for annual dance festivals at major Hindu temples such as at Konark, Khajuraho, Pattadakal, Modhera and Chidambaram.
Sanjay Jha, classical vocalist shared, “Every artist is incomplete without Lord Shiva. Dhrupad is the origin of traditional singing and the rhythm of Dhrupad starts from Lord Shiva’s Damru. In Dhrupad singing, 90 per cent of words are devoted to Lord Shiva and every singer has their own gharana (style) like Dagar Gharana.”
MP Singh, President of Rangashree Natya Sanstha shared that,” Shiva is one of the biggest artists and also known as Nataraj. When we start any performance, we always worship Lord Shiva. For artists, Lord Shiva is Nataraj and we all are the devotees of ‘Nat-vidhayak’.”
Atasi Misra, classical dancer shared, “First off all, I would like to say that the origin of dance is from Lord Shiva and there are 108 karna (feet body positioning) and one of them is Nataraj and Nataraj is also called the king of natya. Every classical dancer do ‘Bhumi Pranam’ and ‘Isht Dev Vandana’ before the start and we worship Lord Shiva because 'satya hi shiv hai or shiv sundar hai aur puri duniya shiv me hai', but unless until you are not awaking Shiv inside it will be overloaded by some negative things and purity is pure form of your soul. If your heart is pure then you will able to touch others heart. When we pray to shiva, we just pray that our dance should be successful and should reach out to every person in the audience.”