Shiva Nataraja, the dancing form of Lord Shiva, is an iconic representation of several of the the most important aspects of Hinduism. As Lord of Dance, Shiva performs the Tandava, the cosmic dance through which the universe is created, maintained, and dissolved. The dance is an allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy–creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion. The purpose of Nataraja's dance is to release the souls of all men from the snares of delusion. From the Cincinnati Art Museum. [NOTE: Shiva is dancing on the crouched back of the demon of ignorance].