The whole creation is the dance of one consciousness (Shiva). The one consciousness danced and manifested into a million species in the world. So this infinite creation is the dance of Lord Shiva or Shiva Tandav. The whole world is a place of Shiva.


1-Shiva is believed to assume two states – the samadhi (Superconscious) state and the tandav or lasya dance state. The samadhi state is His nirgun (Non-materialised) and tandav or lasya dance state is His sagun (Materialised) state. 2-Body movements performed to depict a particular event or issue is known as natya. The one who performs this natan is a nat (Actor). Traditionally, it is believed that Nataraj is the promoter of dance. Since Shiva is the pioneer amongst actors, the title of Nataraj is accorded to Him. The universe is His dance school. Just as He is the dancer, He is its observer too. 3-Nataraj plays the role of bringing about activity in the universe through the commencement of His dance and merging the visible and invisible Creation into Himself when He stops it. Thereafter, He remains alone, engrossed in Anand.

4-In short, Nataraj is the manifest form of all activity of God. Nataraj’s dance is considered to represent the five actions of God, namely Creation, Sustenance, Dissolution, the covering of the Great Illusion and initiation (God’s grace to get liberated from the Great Illusion).


20 FACTS;---

Origin of the tandav dance is explained as follows;--

According to Sangitratnakar, Adhyaya 5;--

1-Then Shiva remembered and showed the uddhat dance (that He had performed earlier) to Sage Bharat through the chief of His attendants (known as Tandu). He also made Parvati perform the lasya dance with great enthusiasm in front of Sage Bharat. Lasya is a dance performed by women, wherein the hands remain free.

2-Realising that the dance performed by Tandu was tandav, Sage Bharat and others later taught these dances to mankind. The dance form in which the sound emitted by every cell in the body is Shivatattva-predominant, is known as the tandav dance.

3-It is a dance performed by males and consists of mudras; for instance, the dnyanmudra is performed by touching the tip of the thumb to the index finger. As a result, the mounds of Jupiter and Venus get joined, meaning, the male and female unite.

4-This dance form has seven types –

1. Anandtandav,

2. Sandhyatandav (Pradosha dance),

3. Kalikatandav,

4. Tripuratandav,

5. Gouritandav,

6. Sanhartandav,

7. Umatandav.

5-Of these seven types, the verse Shivapradosha (or pradosha) describes the Sandhyatandav as – Shiva offers Gouri, the Creator of the three worlds, a throne studded with precious stones and performs this dance in the evening.

6--When Shiva dances, Saraswati devi plays the veena (A stringed musical instrument), Indra plays the flute, Brahma keeps the rhythm, Lakshmidevi sings, Vishnu plays the mrudanga (A type of drum) and all the other Deities stand around and watch the dance.

7- In this dance, Shiva has two arms, and the scene of a demon being crushed under His feet is absent.

8-Of the seven types mentioned above, the Gouritandav and Umatandav are fearsome in depiction. In these dances, Shiva assumes the form of Bhairav or Veerabhadra and is accompanied by Gouri or Uma. He performs this fearsome dance with the spirit attendants in a smashan where the corpses burn.

9-Among Nataraj’s sattvik dance forms (with the Sandhyatandav), the nadanta dance is also renowned. The world-famous Idol of Nataraj at Chidambaram is in this very posture. Followers of the Shaiva and the Shakta sects consider these dances to be symbols of specific Principles.

10- In their opinion, during such a destructive, fearsome dance, Shiva not only destroys the world but also frees jivas (Embodied souls) from bondage. The smashan is selected for the dance to depict that the ego of the jiva is reduced to ashes. Deities as well as demons are enthusiastic to accompany Shiva during the tandav dance.

11-The table given ahead shows how significant the various postures adopted in a tandav dance are;--


1. Different earrings in each ear


2. Damaru in the rear right hand

Creation of nada and shabda Brahman

3. Fire in the rear left hand

Purification of animate and inanimate creation

4. Front right hand

Protection to devotees

5. Front left hand Points to the foot raised for

Liberation of jivas

6. Demons Apasmar or Muyalak crushed under the right foot

Destruction of avidya (Ignorance) or adnyan (Lack of knowledge)

7. Surrounding circle

Cycle of Maya

8. Hand and foot touching the chakra

Purifying Maya

9. Five radiant fireballs arising spontaneously from the flames of the chakra

The subtle Panchatattvas

12- Lasy and Shiv Tandav dance

Lasya dance; Tandav danc

1. Dancer

Female ; Male

2. Posture

Related to step movements ; Some posture is a must

3. Abhinaya

Shiva, the lord of the Lingam ; The consort of Shakti-Devi, also is Nataraja,King of Dancers

13-Dancing is an ancient form of magic. The dancer becomes amplified( Increase the volume of ) into a being endowed (provide with a quality, ability) with supra-normal powers. His personality is transformed. Like yoga, the dance induces trance, ecstasy, the experience of the divine, the realization of one’s own secret nature, and, finally, mergence into the divine essence.

14- In India consequently the dance has flourished side by side with the terrific austerities of the meditation grove- fasting, breathing exercises, absolute introversion. To work magic, to put enchantments upon others, one has first to put enchantments on oneself. And this is effected as well by the dance as by prayer, fasting and meditation.

15-Shiva, therefore, the arch-yogi of the gods, is necessarily also the master of the dance.

The dance is an act of creation. It brings about a new situation and summons into the dancer a new and higher personality. It has a cosmogonic function, in that it rouses dormant energies which them may shape the world.

16-On a universal scale, Shiva is the Cosmic Dancer; in his Dancing Manifestation (nritya-murti) he embodies in himself and simultaneously gives manifestation to Eternal Energy. The forces gathered and projected in his frantic, ever-enduring gyration (a whirling motion), are the powers of the evolution, maintenance, and dissolution of the world. Nature and all its creatures are the effects of his eternal dance.

17-Shiva-Nataraja is represented in a beautiful series of South Indian bronzes dating from the tenth and twelfth centuries A.D. The details of these figures are to be read, according to the Hindu tradition, in terms of complex pictorial allegory.

The upper right hand, it will be observed, carries a little drum, shaped like an hour-glass, for the beating of the rhythm. This connotes Sound, the vehicle of speech, the conveyer of revelation, tradition, incantation (the use of words as a magic spell). magic and divine truth.

18-Furthermore, Sound is associated in India with Ether, the first of the five elements. Ether is the primary and most subtly pervasive evolution of the universe, all the other elements, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. Together, therefore, Sound and Ether signify the first, truth-pregnant moment of creation, the productive energy of the Absolute, in its pristine (spotless), cosmogenetic strength.

19-The opposite hand, the upper left, with a half-moon posture of the figure (ardhacandra-mudra), bears on its palm a tongue of flame. Fire is the element of the destruction of the world. At the close of the Kali Yuga, Fire will annihilate the body of creation, to be itself then quenched by the ocean of the void. 20-Here, then, in the balance of the hands, is illustrated a counterpoise of creation and destruction in the play of the cosmic dance. Sound against flame. And the field of the terrible interplay is the Dancing Ground of the Universe, brilliant and horrific with the dance of the god.

21-The “fear not” gesture (abhaya-mudra), bestowing protection and peace, is displayed by the second right hand, while the remaining left lifted across the chest, points downward to the uplifted left foot. This foot signifies Release, and is the refuge and salvation of the devotee. It is to be worshipped for the attainment of union with the Absolute. The hand pointing to it is held in a pose imitative of the outstretched trunk or “hand of the elephant” (gaja-hasta-mudra), reminding us of Ganesha, Shiva’s son, the Remover of Obstacles.

22-The divinity is represented as dancing on the postrate body of a dwarfish demon. This is “Apasmara Purusha,” The Man or Demon (purusha) called Forgetfulness, or Heedlessness (apasmara). It is symbolical of life’s blindness, man’s ignorance. Therein is release from the bondages of the world.

23-A ring of flames and light (prabha-mandala) issues from and encompasses the god. This is said to signify the vital processes of the universe and its creatures, nature’s dance as moved by the dancing god within. Simultaneously it is said to signify the energy of Wisdom, the transcendental light of the knowledge of truth, dancing forth, from the personification of the All.

24-Still another allegorical meaning assigned to the halo of flames is that of the holy syllable of AUM or OM. This mystical utterance stemming from the sacred language of Vedic praise and incantation, is understood as an expression and affirmation of the totality of creation.

A — is the state of waking consciousness, together with its world of gross experience.

U — is the state of dreaming consciousness, together with its experience of subtle shapes of dream.

M — is the state of dreamless sleep, the natural condition of quiescent, undifferentiated consciousness, wherein every experience is dissolved into a blissful non-experience, a mass of potential consciousness.

24-1-The silence following the pronunciation of the three, A, U, and M, is the ultimate un-manifest, wherein perfected supra-consciousness totally reflects and merges with the pure, transcendental essence of Divine Reality–Brahman is experienced as Atman, the Self. AUM, therefore, together with its surrounding silence, is a sound-symbol of the whole of consciousness-existence, and at the same time its willing affirmation.

25-Shiva as the Cosmic Dancer is the embodiment and manifestation of eternal energy in its ‘five activities’ (panch-kriya)

25-1-Creation (Sristi)–the pouring forth or unfolding

25-2-Maintenance (Sthiti)– the duration

25-3-Destruction (Samhara)–the taking back or reabsorption

25-4-Concealment (Tiro-bhava)–the veiling of True Being behind the masks and garbs of apparitions, aloofness, display of Maya,

25-5-Favor (Anugraha)–acceptance of the devotee, acknowledgment of the pious endeavor of the yogi, bestowal of peace.

26-In the Shiva-Trinity of Elephanta Caves(the cave temples Elephanta; dedicated to Shiva in Mumbai ) we saw that the two expressive profiles, representing the polarity of the creative force, were counterpoised (bring into contrast) to a single, silent, central head, signifying the quiescence(a state of quietness) of the Absolute. And we deciphered this symbolic relationship as eloquent of the paradox of Eternity and Time: the reposeful ocean and the racing stream are not finally distinct; the indestructible Self and the mortal being are in essence the same.

27-This wonderful lesson can be read also in the figure of Shiva-Nataraja, where the incessant, triumphant motion of the swaying limbs is in significant contrast to the balance of the head and immobility of the mask-like countenance (facial expression)..

28-Shiva is Kala, ‘The Black One’ ‘Time’; but he is also Maha Kala, ‘Great Time’, ‘Eternity’. As Nataraja, King of Dancers, his gestures, wild and full of grace, precipitate the cosmic illusion; his flying arms and legs and the swaying of his torso produce– indeed, they are–the continuous creation-destruction of the universe, death exactly balancing birth, annihilation the end of every coming-forth.

29-The choreography is the whirligig of time. History and its ruins, the explosion of suns, are flashes from the tireless swinging sequence of the gestures. In the medieval bronze figurines, not merely a single phase or movement, but cyclic rhythm, flowing on and non in the unstayable, irreversible round of the Mahayugas, or Great Aeons( an indefinite and very long period of time) is marked by the beating and stamping of the Master’s heel.

But the face remains, meanwhile, in sovereign calm.

30-Shiva is the personification of the Absolute, particularly in its dissolution of the universe. He is the embodiment of Super-Death. He is called Yamantaka — ‘The Ender of the Tamer’, He who conquers and exterminates Yama the God of Death, the Tamer. Shiva is Maha-Kala, Great Time, Eternity, the swallower of Time, swallower of Ages and cycles of ages.

Shiva is apparently, thus, two opposite things, archetypal (very typical)ascetic, and archetypal dancer. On one hand, he is Total Tranquility — inward calm absorbed in itself, absorbed in the void of the Absolute, where all distinctions merge and dissolve, and all tensions are at rest. But on the other hand, he is Total Activity — life’s energy, frantic, aimless, and playful.......SHIVOHAM....