Herculiez wrote :
Nataraja Idol: The upper right hand Shiva holds the a small drum shaped like an hourglass. It symbolizes the sound that originates creation and perpetuates the universe. The upper left hand contains fire, which signifies final destruction, the dissolution of form, out of which a new world will arise. The below right hand: The second right hand shows the Abhaya mudra (fearlessness gesture), giving freedom from fear and bestowing protection from both evil and ignorance. The below left hand: The second left hand points towards the raised foot which signifies upliftment and salvation. It also follows the form of an elephant trunk, alluding to wisdom.
The dwarf on which Nataraja dances is the demon Apasmara, symbolizing Shiva’s victory over ignorance, which can never be completely eliminated, but it can be overcome. The surrounding flames represent the manifest Universe. The snake swirling around his waist is kundalini, the Shakti or divine force thought to reside within everything. His dance is so vigorous that his hair, usually in matted locks piled on his head, becomes loose and flies about him.
Seated within his hair is the diminutive figure of Mother Ganga, the river goddess, with her hands folded. When the river descended from heaven to earth, Shiva broke its fall with his hair, thereby keeping the earth from being crushed by its force. As he dances the world in and out of existence, Shiva maintains a stoic face, representing his neutrality of being in complete balance.