Indian Mythology: Why Lord Shiva Did Tandav? What Is Its Origin?

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Shiv Tandava
Lord Shiva's dance 'Tandava' is respected in the tradition as it is the most outstanding expression of the divine rhythm, ecstasy, energy and cosmic balance.

There is a reason Shiva is called ‘The Devo ke Dev-Mahadev’. Lord Shiva is also one of the three most influential male deities in Hinduism – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Lord Shiva is also known as Nataraj, the Dancing God. He is the king of all dancers.

The dance performed by Lord Shiva is known as Tandava. His dance indicates the destruction of the universe. Tandava is a powerful dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution.

Shiva Tandava
Lord Shiva Tandava

According to belief, The tandava performed with joy/happiness is called “Ananda Tandava” and performed in violent/anger mood is called “Rudra Tandava”.

Have you ever wondered from where Tandava emerged? Why Shiva cried so hard that his anger made him perform vigorous Tandava? Did you know Ravana(King of Lanka) was the composer of Tandava Stotram ? Know more interesting mythology behind Tandava dance.

Tandava dance has seven forms-

Lord Shiva Tandava
Lord Shiva Tandava
  1. Anandtandav,
  2. Sandhyatandav (Pradosha dance),
  3. Kalikatandav,
  4. Tripuratandav,
  5. Gouritandav,
  6. Sanhartandav,
  7. Umatandav.

Tandava’s rhythm of birth and death was created by Ravana(Lanka’s King)

Lord Shiva Tandava
Lord Shiva Tandava’s Mythology

When Ravana sings the “Tandav Stotra” in praise of Shiva and in acceptance of his defeat at Shiva’s hands, Shiva was pleased and that is how Shiva danced to Ravana’s tune. So, Ravana was the one who sang Shiv tandav strotram /Stuti the very first time for Shiva.

Tandav dance of Shiva represents his five activities

′Shrishti′ – creation, evolution

′Sthiti′ – preservation, support

′Anugraha′ – release, emancipation, grace

‘Tirobhava′ – illusion

′Samhara′ – destruction, evolution

When Shiva heard about his wife’s(Sati) death. He carried her corpse and started Tandav vigorously

The Story of Shiva and Sati
The Story of Shiva and Sati

Once Sati’s father was performing yajna but he did not invited Sati and her husband Lord Shiva. When Sati visited there without invitation, her father insulted her and Shiva. Sati felt humiliated and burnt herself by self-immolation.

When Lord Shiva got the news of his beloved wife, he pulled his hair and created Maha-Kali (name of the first incarnation of Adya-Shakti) and  Birbhadra/ virbhadra.

He placed the dead body of Sati over his shoulder and started his dance. He carried her body & began to perform the Rudra Tandava creating wild thunder storms all around the universe, even shattering the Sun. The more Shiva danced, the more destruction arose

Lord Shiva Tandava
Lord Shiva Rudra Tandava

Daksha was beheaded. But on the insistence of many gods, Daksha was brought back to life. His head was replaced with that of a goat.  Daksha felt guilty and thus, Shiva liberated him.

Out of grief and sorrow, Shiva carried Sati’s body and roamed around the universe with it.

It caused huge destruction of the world. So, Lord Vishnu cut down Sati’s body into 52 pieces . Wherever a piece of the dead body of Sati  had fallen, that place is considered as a Shakti Peetha.

 Parvati’s (wife of Shiva) Tandav

Lord Shiva and Parvati's Tandava
Lord Shiva and Parvati’s Tandava

The dance performed by Lord Shiva’s wife Parvati in response to Shiva’s Tandava is known as Lasya.

The Shiva’s dance ‘Tandava’ is respected in the tradition as it is the most outstanding expression of the divine rhythm, ecstasy, energy and cosmic balance.

Shiv Tandav Stotram(Hymm) with Sanskrit lyrics:

Want to share more facts about Lord Shiva? Feel free to comment!

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