The aim of the cosmic dance is liberation. The cosmic dance symbolizes the creation and destruction cycles. It represents the five principles of eternal energy: creation, preservation, destruction, illusion and liberation.
Nataraja is surrounded by a ring of fire, which represents the cosmic fire as well as the universe. He takes on a form with four hands: the upper right hand holds a damaru (drum); the lower right hand forms abhaya mudra; the upper left hand has a flame; and the lower left hand points to his feet in gaja hasta mudra. The damaru represents primordial sound of creation and the passing of time; the flame represents destruction; the lower right hand asserts those who follow the path of righteousness to be fearless; and the lower left hand symbolizes liberation.
According to yoga philosophy, the true nature of man is Shiva, which means "pure consciousness." Shiva as Nataraja is represented in the standing pose called Natarajasana, which develops balance, spiritual stability and concentration. This asana represents the union of the individual soul with the cosmic Soul.