Shiva Tandav Dance – Why did Lord Shiva perform tandava?

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Lord Shiva Tandav Dance– The Hindu God, Lord Shiva is widely known for his cosmic dance form named Tandava. This dance form is known to be the source of the divine cycle of creation, conservation and dissolution. Tandava or Tandava Natyam is performed by him in various situations or phases; the first is Rudra Tandava which depicts his profound aggression of a creator and destroyer, and Ananda Tandava that depicts his blissfulness. Tandava got its name from Tandu, one of Shiva’s agents sent to Bharata, the creator of Natya Shashtra (Dramatic Arts) to include Angaharas and Karanas in it.


reasons for Shiva Tandav Dance


Shiva Tandav Dance is a pictorial narrative used by him to depict the five supreme embodiments that help life prevail on earth:


  • Srishti– creation, evolution
  • Sthiti– conservation, support,
  • Samhara– destruction, evolution
  • Tirobhava– Illusion
  • Anugraha– liberation, emancipation, Grace.


The Tandava was performed by Shiva, when his divine consort Parvati’s uninvited arrival at a Yagna organized by her father was disapproved, Sati (Parvati) felt disgraced after listening to abuses poked at her husband and self-immolated her in the Yagna fire. Lord Shiva got very angry to know about her demise and created Mahakali and Virbhadra (Mahakali was the first incarnation of Adi Shakti) out of his hair pulled in aggression.


Tandava was performed by Shiva


Out of sorrow he lifted her body and started performing Rudra Tandava, which led to macabre destruction, even causing the Sun to eclipse. When he walked over the entire Universe carrying her dead body the destruction got massive to the extent that the balance of the Universe was shaken, that’s when Lord Vishnu had to intervene. He (Vishnu) cut her body into 51 pieces, which were later known as Shakti Peetha.


Anand tandav


The Tandava Natyam can further be divided into seven forms:

  1. Anand tandav
  2. Sandhya tandav
  3. Kalika tandav
  4. Tripura tandav
  5. Gouri tandav
  6. Sanhar tandav
  7. Uma tandav

Tandav Natyam is not only confined to Shiva but is also performed by Goddess Parvati. The dance form used for males is called Tandava whereas the one used by females is Lasya. The God of dance, Nataraja is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. It was Ravana, one of Shiva’s greatest devotees who had created the Shiva Tandav Dance strotam.


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