Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions.

In the early Indian scriptures, the Tandava dance has been recorded as cosmic dance. The concept of the cosmic dance is very old in Indian mythology as well as philosophy. Cosmic dance, as described in Rig-Veda, is the vigorous dance of the particles on the stage of the cosmic field. Similarly, Brahma-sutra speaks of the cosmic vibration.
The Natyashashtra speaks about the pair of Tandava and Lasya in context with the classical dance. While Power and Force are typical of Tandava, grace and delicacy are typical of Lasya. Lasya was the dance performed by Goddess Parvati in response to the male energy of the cosmic dance of Tandava performed by Lord Shiva.
Tandava dance of Nataraja represents and symbolises five divine actions viz. Shristi, Sthati, Samhar, Tirobhava and Anugraha.  When Nataraja dances, the earth trembles; sky and stars are disturbed by the movement of his powerful hands, at the impact of his whirling matted locks of hair heaven shudders, such is its majesty. The ancient scriptures discuss about seven types of Tandava Dances viz. Sandhya Tandava, Kalika Tandava, Ananda Tandava, Tripura Tandava, Gauri Tandava, Samhara Tandava and Uma Tandava.
Another majestic example of Tandava dance is mentioned in Mahabharata when Krishna subdued Kalia Nag in Yamuna River, though at the intercession and prayer of Kalia’s serpent-wife he spared the nag’s life. He danced the tandava dance on Kalia’s head and played on flute.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions.

Published: May 1, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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