We renew our physical body just as we regrow hair and nails. We are on the move. Five years ago we didn't exist, all our atoms having been replaced in the interval. Here today, completely gone in five years, renewed down to the last single atom, we endure only in the shape, form and pattern that are assured by our genetic blueprint. BIODANCE- the endless exchange of the elements of living things with the earth itself - proceeds silently, giving us no hint that it is happening. It is a dervish dance, animated and purposeful and disciplined; and it is a dance in which every living organism participates. Natraj the dancing form of Lord Shiva, - the cosmic dancer - represents the constant biodance of life creation, maintenance and transformation and indicates the perfect balance between life and death, symbolic synthesis of the central tenets of this Vedic religion. The term 'Nataraj' means 'King of Dancers' (Sanskrit nata = dance; raja = king). It also reminds us of the balance between form and void, as well as the time before the divine created form from the void. The Vital Form & Symbolism: The statues of Natraj are framed by a circle representing cosmic energy; the four hands represent the cardinal directions. He is dancing, with his left foot elegantly raised and the right foot on a prostrate figure — 'Apasmara Purusha', the personification of illusion and ignorance over whom Shiva triumphs. The fiery ring surrounding Shiva, prahabhamandala, represents the universe with all its illusion, suffering and pain. The outer edge is fire the inner edge the waters of the oceans. The surrounding flames represent the manifest Universe. The crescent moon in his matted hair keeps Kama, the god of nightly love, alive. Through the waxing and the waning of the moon Shiva creates different seasons and rejuvenates life. The stoic face of Shiva represents his neutrality, thus being in balance The upper right hand holds a small drum shaped like an hourglass that is called a ḍamaru in Sanskrit. A specific hand gesture (mudra) called ḍamaru-hasta (Sanskrit for "ḍamaru-hand") is used to hold the drum. It symbolizes sound originating creation or the beat of the drum is the passage of time. The upper left hand contains Agni or fire, which signifies destruction. The opposing concepts in the upper hands show the counterpoise of creation and destruction or the fire of life. The second right hand shows the Abhaya mudra (meaning fearlessness in Sanskrit), bestowing protection from both evil and ignorance to those who follow the righteousness of dharma. The second left hand points towards the raised foot which signifies upliftment and liberation. It also points to the left foot with the sign of the elephant which leads the way through the jungle of ignorance. His uplifted left foot, grants eternal bliss to those who approach him. The other foot treads firmly upon the dwarf of ignorance, allowing the birth of knowledge. The dwarf on which Nataraja dances is the demon Apasmara (Muyalaka. as known in Tamil), which symbolises Shiva's victory over ignorance. It also represents the passage of spirit from the divine into material. As the Lord of Dance, Nataraja, Shiva performs the tandava, the dance in which the universe is created, maintained, and dissolved. Shiva's long, matted tresses, usually piled up in a knot, loosen during the dance and crash into the heavenly bodies, knocking them off course or destroying them utterly. The snake swirling around his waist is kundalini, the Shakti or divine force thought to reside within everything. This also parallels the cords of life warn by the brahmins to represent the second rebirth. The Significance of Shiva's Dance: This cosmic dance of Shiva is called 'Anandatandava,' meaning the Dance of Bliss, and symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. According to Coomerswamy, the dance of Shiva also represents his five activities: 'Shrishti' (creation, evolution); 'Sthiti' (preservation, support); 'Samhara' (destruction, evolution); 'Tirobhava' (illusion); and 'Anugraha' (release, emancipation, grace). A Scientific Metaphor: Fritzof Capra in his article "The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics," and later in the The Tao of Physics beautifully relates Nataraj's dance with modern physics. He says that "every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction…without end…For the modern physicists, then Shiva's dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena." The Nataraj Statue at CERN, Geneva: In 2004, a 2m statue of the dancing Shiva was unveiled at CERN, the European Center for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva. A special plaque next to the Shiva statue explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva's cosmic dance with quotations from Capra: "Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas 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."