(Last Updated on : 27-02-2018)
Tandava is a vigorous form of dance
which is performed by Lord Shiva
. This form of dance represents the cycle of creation
, preservation and destruction. It is a dance of passion, anger and powerful energy. Some Hindu texts
demote to Lord Shivas dances jointly as tandava and call this dance the rudra
(terrible) tandava, performed when Lord Shiva is angry. It is performed by Lord Shiva and is composed of 108 karanas
and 32 anghaharas according to Bharat Munis Natya Shastra
Etymology of Tandava
Tandava dance has derived its name from the word tandu who was the attendant of Lord Shiva.
Origin of Tandava
The religious scholars are of the opinion that Tandava is the celestial dance by Lord Shiva. The Hindu scriptures
have said that Lord Shiva has performed the tandava dance on various occasions. For instance, it is believed that Lord Shiva had performed the Rudra Tandava when Sati
had jumped into fire at the yajna
ceremony of Daksha
. This form of dance was performed by the Lord to express his grief and anger. Some scholars believe that the feminine form of the tandava dance is the lasya
which is performed by Goddess Parvati
. Lasya involves graceful movements of the body parts. The body movements in this form of dance are sometimes erotic and sometimes are gentle in nature.
Types of Tandava
According to some scholars, there are around seven types of tandava which are performed by the Lord which he performs in different moods. Following are the different types of Tandava:
: It was performed by Lord Shiva after he killed three demons who were as a group known as Tripurasura. They were the demon Tarakusaras sons and were named Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha and Viryavana. This dance represents Lord Shivas antagonism and audacity.
: It represents the vicious form of Lord Shiva, in which he dances aggressively in the form of Bhairava
along with Gauri
at a rites ground in the existence of spirit assistants.
: It is his happy form which means the dance of heaven
, and symbolises absolute happiness and delight. It is performed by him when he killed Tripurasura and finished performing the Tripura Tandava, when Goddess
Uma performed the lasya
dance to compose him. Her dance satisfied him so significantly that his joy was uttered in the appearance of the ananda tandava. All the mudras
of Ananda Tandava are associated with the rhythmic beat of creation, ensuring the play of the wind with the waves and the tides, the cosmic swirl of the galaxies and the frolic of ethereal beings. In Ananda Tandava, his hands
are directed in four different ways denoting four principal directions. The "damru
" that refers to the male female vital principle, is on the upper right hand. The lower right hand shows the gesture of assertion. The snakes
which are uncoiling from all parts of his body, denotes egotism. The skull is on his head defining his conquest over death
and Goddess Ganges
is placed on his hairdo. The third eye represents his omnipresence, omnipotence and insight. The sound of "damaru" originates the pristine sound of Om (the first syllable of the ancient Sanskrit language
The "Ananda tandava" of Lord Shiva signifies wholeness. The "damaru" is symbolic of the continuity of creation, the open hand indicates preservation and the hand which is kept pointing downwards is indicative of the destruction of the Universe
. His foot which is stamping the dwarf form connotes the Universe under the concealment of darkness and another foot which is uplifted shows the act of demanding God
's grace, "anugraha
: It is a serene dance performed by Lord Shiva in the evening. Lord Indra
plays musical instruments
to develop the beauty and richness of the dance.
: It means devastation. It is one of Lord Shivas brutal dances when the entire universe is demolished by it.
: It is equal as Gauri tandava. The only distinction lies in the detail that here, it is Uma
and not Gauri who is his wife.
: It is also one of his vicious dance forms, in which he takes the form of Bhairava.
Performance of Tandava
Tandava is a pictorial metaphor of the five principle expressions of eternal energy:
Srishti - creation, evolution
Sthiti - preservation, support
Samhara - destruction, evolution
Tirobhava - illusion
Anugraha - release, emancipation, grace
Tandava is performed as the sanctified dance-drama
of southern India
which has strong, brisk movements. Performed in an aggressive mood, the dance is called Rudra Tandava.