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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Rudra and the Tandava

Lord Shiva has this knack of inspiring awe in most people and thats what He does to me every time I think of Him. He with his matted locks, blazing third eye and fierce temper reminds me that good too has power.In Indian mythology,Lord Shiva is considered as the supreme lord of dance. This divine art form is performed by Lord Shiva & his wife Goddess Parvathi. The Dance performd by Lord Shiva is known as Tandava, which depicts his violent nature as the distructor of the universe. The tandava performed with joy is called Ananda Tandava and performed in violent mood is called Rudra Tandava. There are 7 types of Tandava. Namely Ananda Tandava, Tripura Tandava, Sandhya Tandava, Samara Tandava, Kaali tandava, Uma Tandava and Gauri Tandava. There are few people who believa that there are 16 types of Tandava. Tandava has vigourous, brisk movements.The dance performed by Goddess Parvathi is known as Lasya, in which the movements are gentle, graceful and sometimes erotic also. Some scholars call Lasya as the feminine version of Tandava. Lasya has 2 kinds. Jarita Lasya and Yauvaka Lasya.

My main focus this time is on the Rudra Tandava. To me, the Rudra Tandava is the absolute embodiment of love. The dance is performed by Rudra carrying in his arms his lifeless wife Sati. The Rudra Tandava is the dance of destruction. It was performed then by the dread Lord, in my opinion, as a statement as if to say that a world not having his wife in it does not deserve to exist. That is love. To be precise, that is the channeling of anger into love. This, I must confess, is my ultimate goal in life - to infuse anger into everyday emotion and, at the same time, control it. It might sound weird to most people, but to those who understand what I'm trying to say, you should be feeling a warm glow inside you right about now.

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. 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 Eons, is marked by the beating and stamping of the Master's heel. But the face remains, meanwhile, in sovereign calm. 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 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 distintions 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 and sometimes, ANGRY as hell.

I've always been fascinated by the enigma that is Shiva. Though He is a God, He is probably the most human god of them all. He is the outcast one, the black sheep, sometimes called the God of Marijuana. Ridiculed by others for the majority of His existence, the Supreme Yogi takes it in His stride and continues His dance - the dance of creation; the dance of destruction - for creation and destruction are inseperable entities. And during the course of His dance He also helps those who come to Him requesting for help. Case in point is the story behind His name Neelakantha. Anyone who has ever been hurt by anyone else can identify with the Cosmic Dancer. His dance is testimony to his spirit - unyielding, resilient, arrogant, yet benevolent. I would like to end this with a simple incantation praising the name of He Who Walks Amongst Ashes. Om Namah Shivayah. May His spirit be with you.

9 comments:

SC said...

have you heard agni's album mrityunjaya? theres a very interesting song in it that i think is called tandav.

Anna said...

I have a fascination for all Hindu gods, too. And the legends. And of all the hindu gods and goddesses... Shiva is my favourite...
He is just so passionate in everything, isnt he? In his anger, in his love and even in his calm...

Priya said...

Hi!
I m very happy to see my name in a blog!Oh yes.My name is 'Lasya'.I thank my parents for calling me by this special name...And as the word means-'dance',I dance very well.I m a bharathanatyam & kathak dancer.Bye

Anonymous said...

Hi
My name is 'Lasya'.As the word means-'dance',I dance very well.I m a bharathanatyam & kathak dancer.

Anonymous said...

hello ! agian ....i wonder ive uve ever been to thiruvannamalai !!! that place is the embodiment of shiva..this place is me n my family's wekend getaway !!!! its heaven on earth esp. Ramana ashramam !!! u shld do there if u like shiva :) i recommend it :) kalpagam

Naveen George Thomas said...

@Kalpagam

Yes, I have been there. Wonderful place

Shanti said...

Where di you get the idea that incorporating anger into 'everyday' life would be in any way helpfull

Naveen George Thomas said...

@Shanti - i'm surprised it hasn't occured to you.

Anonymous said...

ha, I will test my thought, your post get me some good ideas, it's truly amazing, thanks.

- Joe