According to Hindu mythology, Apasmāra was a dwarf who represented ignorance and epilepsy. He is also known as Muyalaka or Muyalakan. In order to preserve knowledge in the world, Apasmāra could not be killed; to do so would throw out the balance of knowledge and ignorance, as to kill Apasmāra would mean attaining knowledge without effort, dedication and hard work. Consequently, this would lead to the devaluing of knowledge in all forms. In order to subdue Apasmāra, Lord Śiva adopted the form of Śrī Naṭarāja - the Lord of Dance and performed the cosmic dance of Tāṇḍava. During this dance, Śrī Naṭarāja suppressed Apasmāra by crushing him with his right foot. As Apasmāra is one of the few demons destined to immortality, it is believed that Lord Śiva forever remains in his Śrī Naṭarāja form suppressing Apasmāra for all eternity.
This mythological dwarf is generally depicted with his hand in Añjali Mudrā. He is often depicted in this posture in depictions of Naṭarāja.
- Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dallapiccola
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