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Sapta Rudra Tandavas of Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva is also known as Nataraj, the Dancing God. This divine art form is performed by Lord Shiva and his divine consort Goddess Parvati. The dance performed by Lord Shiva is known as Tandava. Shiva’s Tandava is a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. Tandava depicts his violent nature as the destroyer of the universe.

Types of Tandava
The Tandava performed with joy is called Ananda Tandava and that which is performed in violent mood is called Rudra Tandava. The other types of tandava identified are Tripura Tandava, Sandhya Tandava, Samara Tandava, Kaali Tandava, Uma Tandava and Gauri Tandava.

Significance of Shiva′s Tandava Nritya
Shiva TandavaAccording to religious scholars, the cosmic dance of Shiva, called ′Anandatandava,′ meaning, ‘the Dance of Bliss’ symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy – creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion.

Ananda TandavamTripura TandavamSandhya TandavamSamhara Tandavam
Kalika TandavamUma TandavamGowri Tandavam 

Gayatri Devi

Gayatri Devi is an incarnation of Saraswati Devi, consort of Lord Brahma, symbolising the “shakti” (strength) and “dev” (quality) of Knowledge, Purity and Virtue. Saraswati Devi is held to be the patronness of the Arts, being a poet and musician, as well as skillful composer. In the form of Gayatri Devi, with the blessings of Lord Brahma, she is believed to have given the four Vedas to mankind.

Gayatri is depicted seated on a lotus. She is depicted with five faces representing the pancha pranas /pancha vayus (five lives/winds): prana, apana,vyana, udana, samana, of the five principles/ elements (pancha tatwas) earth, water, air, fire, sky (prithvi, jala, vayu, teja, aakasha). She has 10 hands carrying the five ayudhas: shankha; chakra, kamala, varada, abhaya, kasha, ankusha, ujjwala utensil, rudrakshi mala.

Gayatri, Savitri and Saraswati are three goddesses representing the presiding deities of the famous Gayatri mantra chanted thrice a day. Gayatri is the presiding deity of the morning prayer and rules over the Rigveda and the garhapatya fire. Every grihasta (householder) was expected to keep 5 or 3 sacred fires ( Five fires: ahavaneeya, dakshagni, garhapatya, sawta, aavasadha.) in his house to perform Vedic rituals.

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Ananda Tandavam

In his happy form, Lord Shiva performs the Ananda Tandava. It means the dance of bliss, and symbolises utter joy and ecstasy. It is supposed to have been performed by him after he killed Tripurasura and finished performing the Tripura Tandava, when Goddess Uma performed the lasya dance to calm him down. Her dance pleased him so greatly that his happiness was expressed in the form of the ananda Tandava.

Thripura Tandavam

This dance was performed by Lord Shiva after he killed three demons who were collectively known as Thripurasura. They were the demon Tarakusara’s sons and were named Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha and Viryavana. This dance symbolises Shiva’s anger and courage.

Kalika Tandavam

The Kalika Tandavam is also another one of his destructive dance forms, in which he takes on the form of Bhairava.

Gowri Tandavam

Gowri Tandavam represents the destructive form of Lord Shiva, wherein he dances violently in the form of Bhairava or Veerabhadra along with Gowri at a cremation ground in the presence of spirit attendants.

Sandhya Tandavam

The Sandhya Tandava is a peaceful and relaxed dance performed by Lord Shiva during the evening. While he dances, other gods and goddesses stand around him and admire his dance. Few of them such as Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Indra even play musical instruments to enhance the beauty and richness of the dance.

Samhara Tandavam

Samhara means destruction. So Samhara Tandava is one of Lord Shiva’s violent dances when the entire universe is destroyed.

Uma Tandava

Uma Tandava is the same as Gowri Tandava. But the only difference lies in the fact that here, it is Uma and not Gowri who is his consort.