"O my Lord,
1. Thy hand holding the sacred drum has made and ordered the heavens and earth and other worlds and innumerable souls.
2. Thy lifted hand protects both the conscious and unconscious order of thy creation.
3. All these worlds are transformed by Thy hand bearing fire.
4. Thy sacred foot, planted on the ground, gives an abode to the tired soul struggling in the toils of causality.
5. It is Thy lifted foot that grants eternal bliss to those that approach Thee.
These Five-Actions are indeed Thy Handiwork."
~ Chidambara Mummani Kovai
The dance of Shiva represents His five divine activites, or panchakriya –
- Shrishti (creation, evolution, symbolized by the drum)
- Sthiti (preservation, support, by the "fear not" hand gesture of abhaya)
- Samhara (destruction, evolution, by the fire)
- Tirobhava (illusion, by the foot planted on the ground)
- Anugraha (release, emancipation, grace, by the foot held aloft).