Nataraja: Science and Symbolism

Why does CERN have a statue of Shiva?

The Shiva statue was a gift from India to celebrate its association with CERN, which started in the 1960’s and remains strong today. In the Hindu religion, Lord Shiva practiced Nataraj dance which symbolises Shakti, or life force. This deity was chosen by the Indian government because of a metaphor that was drawn between the cosmic dance of the Nataraj and the modern study of the ‘cosmic dance’ of subatomic particles. India is one of CERN’s associate member states. CERN is a multicultural organisation that welcomes scientists from more than 100 countries and 680 institutions. The Shiva statue is only one of the many statues and art pieces at CERN.” ~ CERN replied.

So what is this cosmic dance they are talking about?

According to Hindus, Creation, Sustenance, and destruction, wherein Bramha, Vishnu, Shiva respectively perform these tasks. And in the quantum world, trinity is protons (positive charge), neutrons (no charge), and electrons (negative charge). The Dancing Shiva represents the balance of how matter and energy collide with each other, create and destroy systems (protons decay) and start over again. The cosmic dance referred here is the interaction of matter and antimatter. They are equal and opposite components that keep the balance of nature.

We all know that CERN is studying Big bang. In 1922, Russian mathematician Alexander Friedmann proposed the universe is expanding. Lemaître confirmed it by his “Big Bang Theory” on the creation of the universe, which is well known and accepted by the scientific community. Regarding the expansion of the universe, this picture speaks for itself.

A team of scientists in Cambridge proposed a test for inflation. The goal is to explain how the universe was, before, during and after the big bang. According to their paper, space itself expanded in the speed of light after the big bang. This theory is still to be explored further.

Quantum Primordial Standard Clocks
Credit: CFA

Coming back to Nataraja, there is a definite way of sculpting the gods. It is mentioned in Shilpa Shastra or the Indian textbook of making Sculpture. In this image, we can see a figure in 8 cubic units. This is the definitive way to sculpt the idol of Nataraja. Do you see the wave pattern in these two pictures? Coincidence? I also read a few articles where they compared it with string theory with some valid points. Again, Coincidence? I can say there is a possibility that there was some hidden message, but now it’s like hiding key in very secretive place and forgetting that place, where will you start looking for it?

There is also theory in Hinduism that the whole universe started with the sound AUM (ॐ), The trinity of Bramha, Vishnu, Shiva, galaxies, stars and planets, everything we know today was considered to be born out of it. Nasa recently released “spooky space sounds,” proving that there is some strange sound in space. Scientists also state that black holes sound like drums, Notice a drum that Shiva is holding in one of his hands? If you check the links from NASA, you can find that the sound of a black hole is almost like sound from the damru(drum of Shiva). Maybe yet another coincidence?

I am not a scientist, and I cannot prove the relation, but how much of coincidence can you believe in? Scientists speak in the language of theories and hypotheses. Our ancestors spoke in the language of the gods. However, the subject remains the same. There may be many theories to prove or disprove all these claims in ancient text, but even if there is a small possibility that there are any facts in it, shouldn’t we grab the opportunity of rediscovering it? What do you think? Which creation myth do you believe in?

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