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Shiva's Dance

The exploration of the sub-atomic world in the twentieth century has revealed the intrinsically dynamic nature of matter. It has shown that the constituents of atoms; the sub-atomic particles, are dynamic particles which do not exist as isolated entities, but as integral parts of an inseparable network of interactions. These interactions involve a ceaseless flow of energy manifesting itself as the exchange of particles; a dynamic interplay in which particles are created and destroyed without end in a continual variation of energy patterns. The particle interactions give rise to the stable structures which build up the material world, which do not remain static, but oscillate in rhythmic movements. The whole universe is thus engaged in endless motion and activity; in a continual cosmic dance of energy.


For the modern physicist then, then, Shiva's dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in the teachings of Hinduism, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena. Hundred 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 bubble-chamber photographs of interacting particles, which bear testimony to the continual rhythm of creation and destruction in the universe, are visual images of the dance of Shiva equalling those of the Indian artists in beauty and profound significance.


 - Extract from "The Tao of Physics" by Fritjof Capra. 

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