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Shiva Tandava Stotra

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Shiva Tandava Stotra (शिवताण्डवस्तोत्रम्) is a hymn of praise in the Hindu tradition that describes Shiva's power and beauty. It was sung by the son of Rishi Vishrawas (aka Vishrava), Ravana whose brother is kuber. Both the fourth and fifth quatrains of this hymn conclude with lists of Shiva's epithets as destroyer, even the destroyer of death itself. Alliteration and onomatopoeia create roiling waves of resounding beauty in this example of Hindu devotional poetry.

In the final quatrain of the poem, after tiring of rampaging across the Earth, Ravana asks, "When will I be happy?" Because of the intensity of his prayers and ascetic meditation, of which this hymn was an example, Ravana received from Shiva the boon of indestructibility by all powers on heaven and earth — except by a human being. Disdaining the seeming weakness of humans, Ravana abducted the wife of Rama, Lord Vishnu incarnate. India's great epic, the Ramayana, tells the story of this abduction and of the battle between Lord Rama and Ravana which shook the universe.


It is said that when he tired of rampaging across the earth, Ravana returned to Lord Shiva to request moksha, release from the bondage of endless rebirth. Shiva replied that he had granted Ravana the boon of indestructibility, and that Ravana must instead seek moksha from Lord Vishnu. In this version of Ravana's story, his battle with Rama can be interpreted as a pretext to attain death, and through death, liberation. Ravana's poignant cry in the final quatrain of poetry — "When will I be happy?" is echoed by modern man in his quest for earthly fulfillment and ultimate liberation from its bondage.

A compelling and complex personality, Ravana is for many Hindus a legendary hero, a scholar of immense intelligence and the devoted husband of one of traditional five perfect women, Mandodari. Exploring the modern psychological aspects of this story, choreographer Janaki Patrik links Ravana's passionate devotion to Lord Shiva to his fatal flaw — passionate attraction to Rama's wife Sita. Attraction was as pure as a love of mother and child.

Ravana's great-grandfather was Brahma (God of Ultimate Knowledge). He had advanced knowledge of mathematics, science and Ayurveda. He was obsessed with his powers and was egoistic, and to display and prove his powers he was about to move Mount Kailash (the abode of Shiva who was his ancestor god). He managed to lift the mountain but Shiva immediately placed it back just by pressing his toe crushing Ravana's fingers in the process. That is when Ravana sings "Tandav Stotra" and he was spared and blessed with chandrahas(moon sword by Lord Shiva)(estimated as one of the most powerful weapons in Hindu Mythology).

Poetic characteristics

The stotra is in the Aryageeti (आर्यागीति) style, a variant of the Arya (आर्य) style. There are 32 syllables per half shloka:

.. शिवताण्डवस्तोत्रम् ..

   जटाटवीगलज्जलप्रवाहपावितस्थले  [Jata tavi galaj jala pravah paavitasthale ]
   matted hair-thick as forest-water-flow-consecrated-area 
       गलेऽवलम्ब्य लम्बितां भुजङ्गतुङ्गमालिकाम् | [gale vilamba lambitam bhujang tung malikam]
       in the throat-stuck-hanging-snake-lofty-garland 
   डमड्डमड्डमड्डमन्निनादवड्डमर्वयं [damad-damad-damad-damanninAda vadda marvayam]
   damad-damad-damad-damad-having sound-drum-this 
       चकार चण्ड्ताण्डवं तनोतु नः शिवः शिवम् ||१|| [chakAra chanda tAndavam thanothu nah shivah shivam]
       did-fierce-Tandava-may he shower-on us-Siva-auspiciousness 

With his neck, consecrated by the flow of water flowing from the thick forest-like locks of hair, and on the neck, where the lofty snake is hanging garland, and the Damaru drum making the sound of Damat Damat Damat Damat, Lord Siva did the auspicious dance of Tandava and may He shower prosperity on us all.

   जटाकटाहसंभ्रमभ्रमन्निलिम्पनिर्झरी- [jatA katAha sambhramabhraman nilimpa nirjharI]
   matted hair-a well-agitation-moving-celestial river 
       - विलोलवीचिवल्लरीविराजमानमूर्धिनि | [vilola vichi vallari virajamana mUrdhani]
   धगद्धगद्धगज्ज्वलल्ललाटपट्टपावके [dhagad dhagad dha-gajjvala lalat-pat ta-pavake]
   Dhagad-dhagad-dhagat-flaming-forehead-flat area-fire 
       िकशोरचन्द्रशेखरे रतिः प्रतिक्षणं मम ||२|| [kishora chandra shekhare ratih pratikshanam mama]
       baby-moon-crest jewel-love-every moment-for me 

I have a very deep interest in Lord Siva, whose head is glorified by the rows of moving waves of the celestial river Ganga, agitating in the deep well of his hair-locks, and who has the brilliant fire flaming on the surface of his forehead, and who has the crescent moon as a jewel on his head.

   धराधरेन्द्रनन्दिनीविलासबन्धुबन्धुर [dhara dharendra nandini vilasa bandhu bandhura]
   King of mountains-daughter-sportive-kith-beautiful- 
       स्फुरद्दिगन्तसन्ततिप्रमोदमानमानसे | [sfurad digantha santhathi pramoda maana maanase]
       glorious-horizon-all living beings-rejoicing-mind 
   कृपाकटाक्षधोरणीनिरुद्धदुर्धरापदि [kripa kataksha dhorani niruddha durdhara padi]
   compassion-look-continuous flow-obstructed-hardships 
       क्वचिद्दिगम्बरे मनो विनोदमेतु वस्तुनि ||३|| [kvachid digambare mano vinoda metu vastuni]
       some time-in the omnipresent-mind-pleasure-may seek-in a thing 

May my mind seek happiness in the Lord Siva, in whose mind all the living beings of the glorious universe exist, who is the sportive companion of Parvati (daughter of the mountain king), who controls invincible hardships with the flow of his compassionate look, who is all-pervasive (the directions are his clothes).

   जटा(लता)भुजङ्गपिङ्गलस्फुरत्फणामणिप्रभा [jatA(lathA) bhujanga pingala sfurat faNa maNi prabha]
   creeping-snake-reddish brown-shining-hood-gem-luster- 
       कदम्बकुङ्कुमद्रवप्रलिप्तदिग्वधूमुखे |
       variegated-red dye-melting-applied-directions-beloved-face 
   intoxicated-elephant-glittering-skin-upper garment-covered 
       मनो विनोदमद्भुतं बिभर्तु भूतभर्तरि ||४||
       mind-pleasure-wonderful-may it seek-in him who supports all life 

May I seek wonderful pleasure in Lord Siva, who is supporter of all life, who with his creeping snake with reddish brown hood and with the luster of his gem on it spreading out variegated colors on the beautiful faces of the maidens of directions, who is covered with a glittering upper garment made of the skin of a huge intoxicated elephant.

   सहस्रलोचनप्रभृत्यशेषलेखशेखर (sahasra lOchana prabhruthya seshalekha sekhara)
   Indra/Vishnu-and others-all-lined up-heads- 
       प्रसूनधूलिधोरणी विधूसराङ्घ्रिपीठभूः | (prasUna dhUli dhOranI vidhUsaraNghri pITabhUh)
   भुजङ्गराजमालया निबद्धजाटजूटकः (bhujanga rAja mAlayA nibadhdha jata jUtakah)
   snake-red-garland (with) tied-locked hair 
       श्रियै चिराय जायतां चकोरबन्धुशेखरः ||५|| (sriyai chirAya jAyathAm chakOra bandhu sekharah)
       for the prosperity-for a long time-may he be-Cakora bird-relative-on head 

May Lord Siva give us prosperity, who has the moon (relative of the Cakora bird) as his head-jewel, whose hair is tied by the red snake- garland, whose foot-stool is grayed by the flow of dust from the flowers from the rows of heads of all the Gods, Indra/Vishnu and others.

     forehead-flat area-flaming-fire-sparks-luster 
         - निपीतपञ्चसायकं नमन्निलम्पनायकम् |
         devoured-God of Love-bowing-Gods-leader 
     सुधामयूखलेखया विराजमानशेखरं
         महाकपालिसम्पदेशिरोजटालमस्तु नः  ||६||
         for the Siddhi-prosperity-head-locked hair-may it be-to us 

May we get the wealth of Siddhis from Siva's locks of hair, which devoured the God of Love with the sparks of the fire flaming in His forehead, who is bowed by all the celestial leaders, who is beautiful with a crescent moon

     dreadful-forehead-flat area-dhagat-dhagat-flaming 
         द्धनञ्जयाहुतीकृतप्रचण्डपञ्चसायके |
         fire-offered-powerful-God of Love 
     king of mountains-daughter-breast-tip-colorful-decorative lines 
         - प्रकल्पनैकिशल्पिन त्रिलोचने रितर्मम ||७||
         drawing-sole-artist - in the three-eyed -deep interest-mine 

My interest is in Lord Siva, who has three eyes, who has offered the powerful God of Love into the fire, flaming Dhagad Dhagad on the flat surface of his forehead who is the sole expert artist of drawing decorative lines on the tips of breasts of Parvati, the daughter of the mountain king.

     नवीनमेघमण्डली निरुद्धदुर्धरस्फुरत्- 
     new-cloud-circle - obstructed-harsh-striking- 
         कुहूनिशीथिनीतमः प्रबन्धबद्धकन्धरः |
         new moon-midnight-darkness-tightly-tied-neck 
     िनिलम्पिनर्झरीधरस्तनोतु कृत्ितिसन्धुरः
     celestial-river-wearing-may he bless-skin-red 
         कलानिधानबन्धुरः श्रियं जगद्धुरंधरः ||८||
         moon-lovely-prosperity-universe-bearer of the burden 

May Lord Siva give us prosperity, who bears the burden of this universe, who is lovely with the moon, who is red wearing the skin, who has the celestial river Ganga, whose neck is dark as midnight of new moon night covered by many layers of clouds.

         - वलम्िबकण्ठकन्दलीरुचिप्रबद्धकन्धरम् |
     स्मरच्छिदं पुरच्छिदं भवच्छिदं मखच्छिदं
     Manmatha-killer-city-destroyer-mundane life -destroyer-sacrifice destroyer 
         गजच्छिदांधकिछदं तमंतकच्छिदं भजे ||९||
         elephant-killer-demon-killer-him-destroyer of Lord Yama-I worship 

I pray to Lord Siva, whose neck is tied with the luster of the temples hanging on the neck with the glory of the fully-bloomed blue lotuses which looked like the blackness (sins) of the universe, who is the killer of Manmatha, who destroyed Tripuras, who destroyed the bonds of worldly life, who destroyed the sacrifice, who destroyed the demon Andhaka, the destroyer of the elephants, and who controlled the God of death, Yama.

         रसप्रवाहमाधुरी विजृंभणामधुव्रतम् |
         enjoyment-flow-sweetness-flaring up-bees 
     स्मरान्तकं पुरान्तकं भवान्तकं मखान्तकं
     Manmatha-destroyer-city-destroyer-worldly bond-destroyer -sacrifice-destroyer 
         गजान्तकान्धकान्तकं तमन्तकान्तकं भजे ||१०||
         elephant-killer-Andhaka-demon-killer-him-Yama-controller-I worship 

I pray to Lord Siva, who has bees flying all over because of the sweet honey from the beautiful bunch of auspicious Kadamba flowers, who is the killer of Manmatha, who destroyed Tripuras, who destroyed the bonds of worldly life, who destroyed the sacrifice, who destroyed the demon Andhaka, the killer of the elephants, and who controlled the God of death, Yama.

         - द्विनर्गमत्क्रमस्फुरत्करालफालहव्यवाट् |
         coming out-shaking-evident-dreadful-forehead-fire 
         ध्विनक्रमप्रवर्ितत प्रचण्डताण्डवः शिवः ||११||
         sound-series-caused-fierce-Tandava dance-Siva 

Lord Siva, whose dance of Tandava is in tune with the series of loud sounds of drum making Dhimid Dhimid sounds, who has the fire on the great forehead, the fire that is spreading out because of the breath of the snake wandering in whirling motion in the glorious sky.

         - गिरष्ठरत्नलोष्ठयोः सुहृद्विपक्षपक्षयोः |
         most precious-gems-brilliance-friends-enemies-two wings 
     तृष्णारिवन्दचक्षुषोः प्रजामहीमहेन्द्रयोः
     grass-lotus-eyes people and the great emperor 
         समप्रवृत्तिकः (समं प्रवर्तयन्मनः) कदा सदाशिवं भजे ||१२||
         equal-behaviour-always-Lord Siva-worship-I 

When will I worship Lord Sadasiva (eternally auspicious) God, with equal vision towards the people and an emperor, and a blade of grass and lotus-like eye, towards both friends and enemies, towards the valuable gem and some lump of dirt, towards a snake and a garland and towards varied ways of the world

     कदा निलम्पिनर्झरीनिकुञ्जकोटरे वसन्
     when-celestial river-bush-hollow place(in)-living 
         िवमुक्तदुर्मितः सदा िशरःस्थमञ्जिलं वहन् |
         released-bad mind-always-on the head-folded hands- 
     िवमुक्तलोललोचनो (विलोललोललोचनो) ललामफाललग्नकः
     agitation-shaking-eyes-the best-forehead-interested 
         िशवेित मंत्रमुच्चरन् कदा सुखी भवाम्यहम् ||१३||

When will I be happy, living in the hollow place near the celestial river, Ganga, carrying the folded hands on my head all the time, with my bad thinking washed away, and uttering the mantra of Lord Siva and devoted in the God with glorious forehead with vibrating eyes.

     इदम् हि नित्यमेवमुक्तमुत्तमोत्तमं स्तवं
     This-indeed-daily-thus-said-the best of the best-stotra 
         पठन्स्मरन्ब्रुवन्नरो विशुद्धिमेतिसंततम् |
         reading-remembering-saying-a person-sanctity-gets-always 
     हरे गुरौ सुभक्तिमाशु याति नान्यथा गितं
     in Siva-in Guru-deep devotion-quickly-gets-no-other-way 
         िवमोचनं िह देिहनां सुशङ्करस्य िचंतनम् ||१४||
         removal of delusion-indeed-for the people-blessed Siva's thought 

Whoever reads, remembers and says this best stotra as it is said here, gets purified for ever, and obtains devotion in the great Guru Siva. For this devotion, there is no other way. Just the mere thought of Lord Siva indeed removes the delusion.

     पूजावसानसमये दशवक्त्रगीतं यः
         शंभुपूजनपरं पठित प्रदोषे |
         he-who-Siva-worship-dedicated-reads-early in the morning 
     तस्य स्थिरां रथगजेन्द्रतुरङ्गयुक्तां
     to him-stable-chariot-elephant-horse-having 
         लक्ष्मीं सदैव सुमुखिं प्रददाति शंभुः || १५||

Early morning, at the end of Puja, whoever utters this stotra dedicated to the worship of Siva, Lord Siva blessed him with very stable Lakshmi (prosperity) with all the richness of chariots, elephants and horses.

     इति श्री रावणकृतम् शिवताण्डवस्तोत्रम् सम्पूर्णम्
     thus sri Ravana-done Siva-tandava-stotra ends. 

Thus ends the auspicious Siva-Tandava Stotra written by Ravana.

External links

Also see :

(Original Authentic Siva-Tandava Verses)

hi:ताण्डव स्तोत

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