TÁŃD́AVA{corrected from another source}


Date & Place unknown

You are already aware of the cultural differences among the aryans and the Non-aryans.

The instrument which is utilized to husk paddy or some other food grains cultivated on non-aryan land is called “Dhenki”(wooden husking machine).

Whereas among the Aryans the instrument which is used to husk something is called “Udukhal”, “Kupri” in Hindi.

The word “Dhenki” has no Saḿskrta equivalent, it is purely an indigenous word.

So we see that the Aryans would use “Udukhal” while husking something. Its use involves tremendous physical labour. It needs strength of wrist while husking with this, whereas while using “Dhenki” not the hands but the legs will have to be utilized.

Now while husking either or with an “Udukhal” or with a “Dhenki”, the articles being husked tend to jump.

Rice while being husked does a lot of jumping and we cannot think of making rice without jumping.

That’s why one of the Samskrta for rice is “tańd́ula”, i.e., whose very nature is to jump.

The word “tańd́ula” is derived from Tańd́u and “La”(root verb) and “Da”(suffix).

The word “Táńd́ava - tańd́u + suffix- śńa” ordinarily means “Pertaining to jumping”(lamphana).

Any process involving jumping off the ground (Ullamphana) is known as “”Tandava”“tańd́ula”.

Now what is the difference between “Lamphana” and “Ullamphana”?

Lamphana means jumping but at the same time maintaining contact with the earth.

One can continue jumping even while keeping contact with the ground and while one jumps above the ground, that is called, “Ullamphana”.

In this sense, Táńd́ava dance is more “Ullamphana” than “Lamphana”.

Sadáshiva was the first to introduce the Táńd́ava dance.

What prompted Him to do this?

How did HE introduce it?

Now the fact is that the human body consists of various lymphatic glands. From these lymphatic glands, various types of hormones are secreted.

Now at the time of Táńd́ava dance, the hormone that is secreted increase the vigor or manliness in human beings. That is why those who practice Táńd́ava regularly derive the benefits of a greater degree of hormone secretion from their lymphatic glands which results in the development of their strength and vigor.

As the practice of this dance, develops manliness in the practitioners, this dance is forbidden for women.

What are the other benefits that a practitioners can derive from the practice of Táńd́ava?

The upper cakras, the pineal gland(Sahasrára cakra) and the pituitary gland (Ájiṋá Cakra) get invigorate and its natural consequence is considerable improvement of memory, because thereby the ectoplasmic stuff of brain will get nourished and strengthened.

There are very few exercises for the human brain, the Táńd́ava dance is the best exercise of human brain.

Considering all those factors, Shiva introduced the Táńd́ava Dance.

But what are those objects held by the dancer in his both hands?

Human life, attains fulfillment through clashes and conflicts. A person who welcome struggle will have to pass through struggle.

One who is keen to avoid clashes will also have to pass through inevitable clashes. One cannot avoid clashes in life.

One cannot say “I don’t want struggle, I abhor it, I want to avoid it.”

Now when the same person is confronted with heavy blows of hammers, what will he do in those circumstances? Will he not approach those persons who welcome struggles for protection?

Will it not be more dignified on their part to remain prepared themselves for impending struggle?

You are always moving forward through clash and cohesion. In case of dire necessity to expedite the collective welfare, sometimes application of force becomes a necessity.

Tantra advocates all the three paths – the rightist, leftist and the centralist.

The rightist and leftist paths are not supported in Buddhist Philosophy. Only the centralist or middle path is accepted.

Coming to our point, we see that the dancer holds a skull in his left hand and a dagger in his right.

If he so wants during the day time he may hold a snake in his left hand and at night may hold a drum or a lighted torch in his right.

People will easily locate the dancer in the light of the torch or by the sound of the drum.

At night the people cannot see the skull or snake.

The left hand wields a skull or snake symbolizing death or destruction.

How do the jiivas(microcosm) move forward?

On one side there is Hari, on the other side, Hara – on the one side there is progress, and on the other side, destruction.

Hari symbolizes the aspect of construction, the aspect of steady growth, while Hara represents the aspect of destruction.

The world keeps moving through the clash of Hari and Hara.

We notice in our day-to-day life that a tiny beautiful bud emerges, ….. then it blooms ….. and finally it becomes a full-blown flower.

Thus far the role of Hari was predominant, next follows the role of Hara, – the petals of the flower begin to wither and finally fall off one after another.

The phase of creation is followed closely on the heels by the phase of destruction.

Sometimes the microcosm live and grow, and at other times they decay and die.

They will have to advance through struggle. They will move on fearlessly.

Why should they be afraid of anything, even death?

Rather, they will conquer death by struggle. This is the Sádhaná of the living being.

Human beings are ever moving forward with tremendous speed aided by the Cosmic inspiration and strength.

Why should they heed any obstacle on the way?

Even if the mountain-high obstacles try to generate fear in them, they will remain undaunted.

Even if the God of terror wants to thwart their progress, yet they will remain unafraid. Rather, the fear itself being afraid of them will fast retreat.

Sadáshiva the God of struggle is the veritable God of Death, that is, HE is the most dreadful entity.

Thus, the dancer will struggle, he will continuously struggle. He will never cease to struggle.

The dagger used, in the right hand stands as a practical instrument symbolizing the spirit of perpetual struggle. It stands to signify the spirit of ceaseless struggle against all sorts of obstacles or hindrances that tend to towards the progress of a spiritual aspirant.

And next what about the dress of the dancer?

Usually the dancer wears tiger skin or red cloth around his waist.

These days people use deer skin(Mrga carma) instead of tiger skin.

In Saḿskrta, “Mrga, means all the animals living in the forest.

For instance monkeys are called Shakha Mrga because they live in the branches of trees.

In the olden days, the king used to go out for hunting (mrgaya’) certainly not only for deer, but other animals as well.

Now this animal skin being worn as cover symbolizes the spirit to destroy the animal instincts – so the dancer uses the animal skin to cover his body.

Red cloth symbolizes the preponderance over Rajaguna(mutative principle).

So the dancer uses the red-cloth – Rajaguna – as a cover for his body. (Red color is a recognized symbol of mutative principle).

“Mrtyu tore dibe ha’na’

Ba’re ba’re pa’bi ma’na’

Ei tor navavars’er a’shiirva’da

Ei tor Rudrera prasa’da.”

(Remember that death will frequently visit you. Obstacles will beset your path again and again. This is your New Years blessing. This is the favor from your merciful Lord, “Rudra’”)

[From Ananda Vancanamritan Part 10 in Bengali]