IAST|Tāndava or IAST|Tāndava nṛtya, the divine art form, is a dance performed by Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to Hindu mythology, Shiva’s Tandava is a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. While the Rudra Tandava depicts his violent nature, first as the creator and later as the destroyer of the universe, even of death itself; the Ananda Tandava depicts him as the enjoyer of his creation - the universe. In Indian tradition, Lord Shiva as Nataraja (lit. "Lord of dance") is the supreme lord of dance. [ [http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/Religions/Avatars/Natar.html "Nataraja", "Manas," UCLA] ]

The Tandava takes its name from "Tandu", the attendant of Shiva, who instructed Bharata (author of the Natya Shastra) in the use of "Angaharas" and "Karanas", modes of the Tandava at Shiva's order. Some scholars consider that Tandu himself must have been the author of an earlier work on the dramatic arts, which was incorporated into the Natya Shastra. [ "Quarterly Journal of the Andhra Historical Research Society," part III, pp. 25-26, as cited in Manohar Laxman Varadpande, "History of Indian Theatre," p. 154. Abhinav Publ. (1987) ISBN 8170172217] ] Indeed, the classical arts of dance, music and song may derive from the mudras and rituals of Shaiva tradition.

The 32 Angaharas and 108 Karanas are discussed by Bharata in Chapter 4 of the Natya Shastra, "Tandava Lakshanam" [Ragini Devi, "Dance Dialects of India," pp.29-30. Motilal Banarsidass (1990) ISBN 8120806743] . Karana is the combination of hand gestures with feet to form a dance posture. Angahara is composed of seven or more Karanas [Manohar Laxman Varadpande, "History of Indian Theatre," p. 154. Abhinav Publ. (1987) ISBN 8170172217] . 108 karanas included in Tandava could be employed in the course of dance, fight, and personal combats and in other special movements like strolling.

The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principal manifestations of eternal energy: [ [http://www.mahashivratri.org/shiva-tandava.html Ananda Coomaraswamy, cited at www.mahashivratri.org] ]

* 'Shrishti' - creation, evolution
* 'Sthiti' - preservation, support
* 'Samhara' - destruction, evolution
* 'Tirobhava' - illusion
* 'Anugraha' - release, emancipation, grace
Thus Tandava symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death.

Tandava, as performed in the sacred dance-drama of southern India, has vigorous, brisk movements. Performed with joy, the dance is called "Ananda Tandava". Performed in a violent mood, the dance is called "Rudra Tandava". In the Hindu texts, at least seven types of Tandava are found: Ananda Tandava, Tripura Tandava, Sandhya Tandava, Samhara Tandava, Kali (Kalika) Tandava, Uma Tandava and Gauri Tandava. [Manohar Laxman Varadpande, "History of Indian Theatre," p. 154. Abhinav Publ. (1987) ISBN 8170172217] However, some people believe that there are 16 types of Tandava.

How many various dances of Shiva are known to His worshipers I cannot say. No doubt the root idea behind all of these dances is more or less one and the same, the manifestation of primal rhythmic energy. Whatever the origins of Shiva's dance, it became in time the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of. --Ananda Coomaraswamy [ [http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/Religions/Avatars/Natar.html Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, "The Dance of Shiva", in "The Dance of Shiva: Fourteen Indian Essays," rev. ed. (New York: Noonday Press, (1957) ISBN 8121501539. Cited, "Nataraja", "Manas," UCLA] ]

The dance performed by Goddess Parvati in response to Shiva's Tandava is known as Lasya, in which the movements are gentle, graceful and sometimes erotic. Some scholars consider Lasya to be the feminine version of Tandava. Lasya has 2 kinds, Jarita Lasya and Yauvaka Lasya. [ [http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Shrine/3155/bnatyam.html#AA ttp://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Shrine/3155/bnatyam.html "Origin of Bharatanatyam", Annapoorna Anand] ]

The Hindu scriptures narrate various occasions when Shiva or other gods have performed the Tandava. When Sati (first wife of Lord Shiva, who was reborn as Parvati) jumped into the Agni Kunda (sacrificial fire) in Daksha's Yagna and gave up her life, Shiva is said to have performed the Rudra Tandava to express his grief and anger. The "Shivapradosha stotra" says when Shiva performs the "Sandhya Tandava", the other gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Sarasvati, Laxmi and Indra play musical instruments and sing Shiva's praises. [Manohar Laxman Varadpande, "History of Indian Theatre," p. 154. Abhinav Publ. (1987) ISBN 8170172217] Ganesha, the son of Shiva, is depicted as "Ashtabhuja tandavsa nritya murtis" (Eight armed form of Ganesha dancing the Tandava) in temple sculptures. [Manohar Laxman Varadpande, "History of Indian Theatre," p. 5. Abhinav Publ. (1992) ISBN 8170172217] . The Bhagavata Purana talks of Krishna dancing his Tandava on the head of the serpent Kaliya [Manohar Laxman Varadpande, "History of Indian Theatre," p. 98. Abhinav Publ. (1987) ISBN 8170172217] . According to Jain traditions, Indra is said to have performed the Tandava in honour of Rishabha (Jain tirthankar) on the latter's birth. [Manohar Laxman Varadpande, "History of Indian Theatre," p. 146. Abhinav Publ. (1987) ISBN 8170172217] .


ee also

* Nataraja
* Shiva Tandava Stotra
* Classical Indian dance
* Bharatanatyam

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