In his most celebrated form, Shiva is Nataraja, the graceful King of Dancers. On a cosmic level, his dance represents the dynamic, rhythmically moving universe. He is energy in constant flux, creating and preserving life and then destroying the illusory world of maya at the end of each age. "When the Creator dances," says one Hindu text, "the worlds he created dance."
Shiva dances in Chidambaram, which represents both the center of the universe and the heart. He dances in the hearts of devotees to wake them from a sleepy forgetfulness of their divine nature--to liberate them to become one with God. Shiva also dances in cemeteries and on cremation grounds. These too are symbols of the heart, where he enters spontaneously to burn away illusion, sin, evil and every obstacle that prevents the devotee from sharing his ecstasy and bliss.