Shiva’s Cosmic Dance at CERN

via By GP.Srinivasan published on March 7, 2008



(CERN: EuropeanCenter for Nuclear Research)

“The Wave Structure of Matter
Explains the Atomic Structure of Matter. The ‘Particle’ as the Wave-Center of a
Spherical Standing Wave in Space” explains the cosmic dance of Nataraja.”

“Modern physics has shown that the
rhythm of creation and destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the
seasons and in the birth and death of all living creatures, but is also the
very essence of inorganic matter,” and that “For
the modern physicists, then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic

-Fritjof Capra in “The Tao of Physics”, 1975

Shiva’s Cosmic Dance at CERN: On June 18, 2004, an
unusual new landmark was unveiled at CERN, the European Center for Research in Particle
Physics in Geneva
— a 2m tall statue of the Indian deity Shiva Nataraja- the Lord of Dance. The statue,
symbolizing Shiva’s cosmic dance of creation and destruction, was given to CERN
by the Indian government to celebrate the research center’s long association
with India.

In choosing the image of Shiva Nataraja, the Indian government
acknowledged the profound significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s dance for the
cosmic dance of subatomic particles, which is observed and analyzed by CERN’s physicists.
The parallel between Shiva’s dance and the dance of subatomic particles was
first discussed by Fritjof Capra in an article titled “The Dance of
Shiva: The Hindu
View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics,”
published in Main
Currents in Modern Thought in 1972. Shiva’s cosmic dance then became a central
metaphor in Capra’s international bestseller The Tao of Physics, first published
in 1975 and still in print with over 40 editions and still going strong..

A special plaque next to the Shiva statue at CERN
explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s cosmic dance with several
quotations from The Tao of Physics. Here is the text of the plaque:

Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, seeing beyond the
unsurpassed rhythm, beauty, power and grace of the Nataraja, once wrote of it
“It is the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion
can boast of.”

More recently, Fritjof Capra explained that “Modern
physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not only
manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and death of all living
creatures, but is also the very essence of inorganic matter,”
and “for
the modern physicists, then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter.”

It is indeed as Capra concluded: “Hundreds of
years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shiva’s 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.”

I bought a copy of “Tao of Physics” written
by Fritjof Capra which I purchased when I was about 18 years old in 1976.This was
an expensive book at that time by any standard and for a student to get a copy in
those days was difficult thing. Buying it was one thing, and to see Yoga and
Hindu Philosophy getting a Scientific Interpretation, in leading research
laboratories, in the west made it even more attractive. It was a thrilling
experience to practice yoga, and to compare Yoga Philosophy with Physics with
my friend Anton was challenging. We discussed about mind and matter and Yoga.
To this day this Tao of Physics remains one of best books of its kind. Of
course there were other books written by authors of “Dancing Wei Lui
Masters”, and “Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Repair” etc.

In his Introduction Capra had narrated his experience
while gazing at the Pacific Ocean. His entire
field of vision disappeared and replaced by Cosmic Consciousness, which he could
identify and was later able to relate to Advaitha of Hindu Philosophy of
gaining cosmic vision. The book carried on the Cover a Dancing Nataraja’s
photo, which became a international hit. The particles of subatomic matter moving
in a gas chamber, and a photograph tracing their movements superimposed on the
image of Nataraja’s became the most celebrated photo.(1)

For the first time this made history for the
philosophy of yoga and principles of quantum physics were merged into seamless realism.

“The Eastern mystics see the universe as an
inseparable web, whose interconnections are dynamic and not static. The cosmic
web is alive; it moves and grows and changes continually. Modern physics, too,
has come to conceive of the universe as such a web of relations and, like
Eastern mysticism, has recognized that this web is intrinsically dynamic. The
dynamic aspect of matter arises in quantum theory as a consequence of the
wave-nature of subatomic particles, and is even more essential in relativity
theory, where the unification of space and time implies that the being of
matter cannot be separated from its activity. The properties of subatomic particles
can therefore only be understood in a dynamic context; in terms of movement, interaction
and transformation.

Capra ” The Tao of Physics”.

Though his ideas were revolutionary. I never thought
that nearly 30 years down the line I would be writing about him for a paper
what I have learnt about him to understand the Hindu Concept of Cosmic Nataraja
we have to understand the Hindu Concept of dance itself. When it comes to natya
the greatest inimitable exponent, Balasaraswathy had stated that Bharatnatyam
is nothing but “Natya yoga”. Bharat Natya originated with
Tapas and Nataraja himself is the supreme teacher of Natya and codified by
Bharatha Muni in his Natya Sastra. Bharat Natya is the Supreme cultural Symbol
of Perfection in dance form. When the most revered cultural symbol of Sikhs was
threatened as happened some months ago when the blue attire of their most
revered Guru Govind Singh was copied by Dera Sacha Sauda founder Baba Ram Rahim,
the entire sikh community of Punjab and
Haryana were outraged. They came to streets, and the two states came to a stand
still. It was a war like situation. This incident was an eye-opener, as to what
the consequences will be if religious sacred religious symbols and traditions
of one section of the population are misappropriated illegitimately. I had sent
this article to some friends for their comments:

Prof Chakrapani from Maryland,
USA, “I am back in India…. The
article on “Quantum physics and the dance of Nataraja” and the Shiva
on CERN was a classic article. Many of us had been to CERN you have exposed our
ignorance and indifference also by that article. Imagine if Jesus on Cross-had
been depicted in the reception of CERN, how much the Christian Missionaries would
take advantage of it? He quipped why Hindus are blind to their own culture
& Heritage?

Whenever we hear the name ‘GoldenTemple’, we tend to think of the
beautiful Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar.
There is another GoldenTemple in South India
– the great Nataraja temple at Chidambaram in Tamilnadu that is associated with
the cosmic dance of Nataraja. These are sacred cultural and religious symbols
of Bharat and of great importance and immense sacrifices have been made both
Sikhs and Hindus respectively to save and protect their holy symbols and
sacred places.

Definition Bharata Natyam (Noun): A Dance form from Southern India, usually performed by one Dancer, and
based on Hindu mythology, in which the movements of the hands and arms have an
elaborate and stylized meanings. Sanskrit Bharatanatya, Dance of Bharatha,
reputed author of a famous manual of drama and dance. (Encarta dictionary)

What Nataraja Symbolizes? “Nataraja”
is a manifestation of Shiva, assumed the Lord of Dance (Bharatanatyam). The
Koil (temple) of Saivaites and the Head quarters of dancers is the famous
temple with the presence of Nataraja is in Chidambaram Tamilnadu, India,
where the lord himself danced at the golden hall on the request of the sages
Vyagrapaada and Pataanjali. (Incidentally whose Samadhis have been located in
Thirupattur and renovated by my friend lawyer Chandramouli) .

What Nataraja signifies? His body represents the sky.
His hands entreat the eight directions. His three eyes symbolise the sun, moon
and the eight directions. His smile acts as the distraction of evil. His hair
embodies wisdom. His crescent moon shows enlightenment. His sacred thread indicates
philosophy. His garments are the Vedas. His damaru is the creation of sound.
His Abhayam (blessing hand literally without fear) Signifies protection. His
varada is for liberation. His tiger skin acts to control anger. His anklets
direct to a good path. His serpent controls jealousy. The deer signifies
compassion. The body of dwarf apasmara-purusha (the man of forgetfulness) who
embodies indifference, ignorance and sloth.

Dance in India is a form of Spiritual
practice, with strict austerities such as fasting, and meditation on Shiva and above
all Guru Bhakthi, which is still widely prevalent. Shiva is the Supreme Yogi of
the Gods, is the Lord of the dance. Here Dancing is not seen as an art in the
western sense for one’s own enjoyment and pleasure, but the Dancer seeks to
create oneness with the Lord of the Universe. The same thought to evoke the
oneness with the Cosmos as Fritjof Capra Capra when he said in introduction to
Tao of Physics. “He (Nataraja) brought out the parallels in our understanding
of the Universe as a dynamic interconnected unity”. The word Brahman is derived
from the Sanskrit root brih – to grow- and thus suggests a reality, which is dynamic
and alive. The Upanishads refer to Brahman as ‘this unformed, immortal, moving’,
thus associating it with motion even though it transcends all forms.

The Rig Veda uses another term to express the dynamic
character of the universe, the term Rita. This word comes from the root ri – to
move. In its phenomenal aspect, the cosmic One is thus intrinsically dynamic,
and the apprehension of its dynamic nature is basic to all schools of Eastern
mysticism. They all emphasize that the universe has to be grasped dynamically,
as it moves, vibrates and dances. Hence Fritjof Capra, on the cover of his book
had reproduced the photomontage of dancing Nataraja super imposed on subatomic
particles photographed in a chamber. (In the present day editions this has been
replaced with a Yin and Yang symbol)

“Fritjof Capra is correct that matter can not be
separated from motion; the error of modern physics has been in the conception
of Motion as the motion of Matter (‘subatomic particles’) rather than the wave
motion of Space. Western Physics (with its ‘particles’ and ‘forces / fields’ in
‘Space Time’) has never correctly understood the Eastern worldview. It is also
important to understand that the ancient Indian philosophers did actually know
how the universe was a dynamic unity, what matter was, how the One Thing /
Brahman caused and connected the many things. Thus Eastern philosophical knowledge
is ultimately founded on mysticism and intuition. Recent discoveries on the properties
of Space and the Wave Structure of Matter (Wolff, Haselhurst) confirm that we
can understand Reality and the interconnection of all things from logical/scientific

The One Thing / Brahman, (Space) has Properties
(Wave- Medium) that give rise to the many things (Matter as the Spherical Wave
Motions of Space) thus explaining the universe as a dynamic, interconnected
unity. If that being the case, how can Semitic ideologies that sees difference between
the Creator and the Created, man and god, and divides humanity into believers
and non-believers, and that seek to split, divide and destroy, can ever
appropriate Bharat Natyam?

Inculturation is a term used in Christian missiology (mission
Science) referring to the adaptation of the way the Gospel is presented for the
specific cultures being evangelized (see: Wiki Pedia).

These are terms alien to ordinary dictionaries; hence
no Hindu Sadhu has understood the concepts and consequence of such illusory
terms. Inculturation has emerged from the post World War II catacombs and post
Vatican II mindset: “Jesus the only God”, and “Our God is your
God and. Your God is No God mindset”, is nothing but “piracy,
vandalism and injustice” for the traditions of the indigenous people and
their living traditions all over the world.

The Catholic Diocese of Rapid City, USA has a
exclusive project office and a dedicated official website, to convert the
remnant natives and hapless red Indians for Inculturation under Inculturation:
“The Lakota Inculturation Task Force, established in 1995 in the Diocese
of Rapid City, is the first effort by the Church in the United States to
seriously address the question of the
relationship of Native culture and religion and the teaching and rites of the Catholic
Church. The Task Force is composed of Catholic Lakota people who want to bring
the gift of their Native religious heritage to the Church. Serving, as
consultants to the Task Force are specialists in theology, anthropology and
liturgy… the Task Force published the Inculturation of the Liturgy of the
Eucharist. It is ready to seek the bishop’s permission to publish a document on
Funeral Rites and will soon begin work on Marriage and Baptismal Rites.See for details:

In short inculturation is cultural plagiarism,
cultural vandalism, with the idea of ultimate conquest. Which unlike Bio-piracy
and Software piracy “inculturations have not received any attention whatsoever
from law makers and has not been made into cognizable and or punishable

A Sect of Sufi Muslims “dervishes” have
their own dancing called “Dancing by whirling ” which cannot be
separated from Sufism, so too Bharat Natyam cannot be separated from Hinduism
by Vatican ideologues in India,
as they have found in it a useful tool of evangelizations

In the absence of any law whatsoever, to protect
original /unique /indigenous Cultures and their heritage, the entire gamut of
heritage right from Basmathi, Neem, Turmeric, Yoga to Bharat Natyam have become
endangered, and hence the crying need to enact strict legislations.

The former items Basmati, Neem and Turmeric have
since been protected after stiff legal battles in international courts. Now it
is the turn for the other Rich symbols of Hindu, Buddhist, Sikhand Jaina
literature books, sacred objects, icons, temples, sacred forests, mountains,
caves, rivers, bathing ghats, sacred spaces, passages, ashrams, mutts,
properties, lands endowed to them, their properties, unique customs, leadership
practices, worship methods, mantras, tantras, yantras, organizations, sanctity associated
with traditions, padarthas, aushadas, pathways, places, religious,cultural
,religious, icons, art, architcture, music, dance, folk art, instruments, dress,
jewellery, festivals, stories and even food and gastronomic effects that need
urgent protection from our authorities.

Shri Iswar Sharan (famed author of The Myth of
St.Thomas and Mylapore Shiva Temple Voice of India Publication New Delhi)
replied in his email dated November 16, 2007. “You have given us a
wonderful darshan of Nataraja, the Lord of the Dance, in his excellent article
“Quantum Physics and the Dance of Nataraja .You are right, “(Christian) inculturation is cultural plagiarism (and)
cultural vandalism, with the idea of ultimate conquest.”
must be beware of Christians with their flattery and money, taking over our
sacred art forms such as Bharathanatyam, even as they did those of ancient Greece
and Rome, and calling them their own. ,Drawing from his four decades of dealing
with Christian Missionaries, He then gave this ominous warning to Hindus
“Christianity is a parasitical religion, which attaches itself to a host
culture and feeds off it, absorbing its spirit and lifeblood into itself until
the host culture dies and become Christian. ” This was articulated by Art
of Living fame Sri Sri Ravishankarji “How can you separate Bharat Natyam
& Hinduism?” and again echoed by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswathy
Dance is Sacred, You cannot think of Dance without Nataraja”.


 – – –

Notes 1. The above article was printed in Hindu
Voice, Mumbai, September 2007, (not available on the world wide web) under the
title “Quantum Physics and the Dance of Nataraja” is now made available
with additional information on the urgent need to protect Intellectual,
Heritage and cultural property rights of Hindu Civilization.

The need to identify, list, index, document, preserve,
and protect cultural heritage, through comprehensive cultural protection measures
that will including legislations.

At the time when i wrote the article in Sept 2007,
there was hardly any website referring to CERN. after publication of my article
in Hindu Voice. September, 2007, there was hardly any site referring to Shiva
Nataraja’s statue at CERN. Now today in March 2008 when I went to Google search
I was really surprised that 50 websites, blog sites, Science and Spirituality
websites are either quoting my article either in full and definitely carry the
Photo, which has since been removed form the latest editions of Fridge of capra’s
book, who has replaced with a Yin & Yang Symbol – 6/32008.GPS.

2 Cultural piracies are the greatest cultural threat
now India
is facing. Inculturation is largely not properly by Hindu leaders .

It is even less articulated as a threat. It has not
been studied and approached as a serious threat and presented at the appropriate
forums as a problem to be dealt with. The Sanathana Dharma Organizations
presently working all over have been lazy enough that they have refused to see Inculturation
engulfing Hinduism. They must identify Inculturation as a serious threat in their
internal meets. They must document those unique features of Sanathana Dharma
that have come under the unwanted gaze of Inculturation specialists. They must
identify and list those items listed supra and lobby with the local state governments
and at political levels to list, preserve and protect heritage. The SaraswathiRiver that was thought to be a mythical
river was rediscovered, and one Ramsethu that was long forgotten is now in the
brink of Destruction and we do not know how many such heritages are waiting to
be discovered?

There is a compelling need for a “district wise
heritage list” and presented to an apex forum. Exercises similar to IPR
Intellectual Property Rights must begin in earnest and that must envisage a
comprehensive CPR Cultural Property Rights and that should be followed by
debate, with a time bound mechanism for enacting far reaching legislations.

About the author

: The author is a lead
auditor for ISO 14001 (EMS) EARA environmental
management systems and SAP R/3 ERP Consultant. He contributed to articles on
management previously section to leading English news papers until 1999.

E-mail: [email protected]



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