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Unformatted text preview: upon the bodies of the dead,” yet
one of the right hands is making the gesture of reassurance (abhayamudra), so true it is that, seen from the cosmic point of view . . . ,
the very cruelty of this universal determinism is kindly, and the generative principle of the future. And, in more than one of our bronzes,
the king of the dance wears a broad smile. He smiles at death and
life, at pain and at joy alike, or rather, if we may be allowed so to express it, his smile is both death and life, both joy and pain . . . . From
this lofty point of view, in fact, all things fall into their place, finding
197 t he internet and the university
their explanation and logical compulsion. . . . The very multiplicity
of arms, puzzling as it may seem at first sight, is subject in turn to an
inward law, each pair remaining a model of elegance in itself, so that
the whole being of the Nataraja thrills with a magnificent harmony
in his terrible joy. And as though to stress the point that the dance of
the divine actor is indeed a force (lila)—the force of life and death,
the force of creation and destruction, at once infinite and purposeless—the first of the left hands hangs limply from the arm in a careless gesture of the gajahasta (hand as the elephant trunk). And lastly
as we look at the back view of the statue, are not the steadiness of
these shoulders that support the world, and the majesty of the Jovelike torso, as it were a symbol of the stability and immutability of
substance, while the gyration of the legs in their dizzy speed would
seem to symbolize the vortex of phenomena.
V. S. Ramachandran is director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and professor of neurosciences and psychology at the University
of California, San Diego, and an adjunct professor of biology at the
Salk Institute. 198...
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- Summer '09