Shiva Tandava Stotra

Shiva Tandava Stotra (Sanskrit: शिवताण्डवस्तोत्र, romanizedśiva-tāṇḍava-stotra) is a Sanskrit stotra (hymn) that describes Shiva's power and beauty. It is traditionally attributed to Ravana, the King of Lanka, who is considered to be a great devotee of Shiva.[1] It is believed that Ravana composed the hymn in praise for Shiva, and pleading for moksha.[2]

Ravana sings the Shiva Tandava Stotra as he lifts Mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva.


The stotra has 16 syllables per line of the quatrain, with laghu (short syllable) and guru (long syllable) characters alternating; the poetic meter is iambic octameter by definition. There are 16 quatrains in total.[3]

Both the ninth and tenth quatrains of this hymn conclude with lists of Shiva's epithets as destroyer, even the destroyer of death itself. Alliteration and onomatopoeia create rolling waves of resounding beauty in this example of Hindu devotional poetry.[4]

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 powers and a celestial sword called Chandrahas.[5][6][7]

Origin of word TandavaEdit

The word Tandava in Shiva Tandava is derived from the word 'Tandul' which means to jump. Tandava is a type of dance that is performed with great energy and strength. Bouncing with vigor makes the mind and brain powerful. Normally men perform the Tandava.


The Uttara Kanda of the Hindu epic Ramayana records: the ten-headed, twenty-armed mighty King Ravana defeated and looted Alaka – the city of his step-brother and god of wealth Kubera, situated near Mount Kailash. After the victory, Ravana was returning to Lanka in the Pushpaka Vimana (the flying chariot stolen from Kubera), when he spotted a beautiful place. However, the chariot could not fly over it. Ravana met Shiva's bull-faced dwarf attendant Nandi (Nandisha, Nandikeshvara) at the place and asked the reason behind his chariot's inability to pass over the place. Nandi informed Ravana that Lord Shiva and Parvati were enjoying dalliance on the mountain and no one was allowed to pass. Ravana mocked Shiva and Nandi. Enraged by the insult to his lord, Nandi cursed Ravana that monkeys would destroy him. In turn, Ravana decided to uproot Kailash, infuriated by Nandi's curse and his inability to proceed further. He put all his twenty arms under Kailash and started lifting it. As Kailash began to shake, a terrified Parvati embraced Shiva. However, the omniscient Shiva realized that Ravana was behind the menace and pressed the mountain into place with his big toe, trapping Ravana beneath it. Ravana gave a loud cry in pain. Advised by his ministers, Ravana sang hymns in praise of Shiva for a thousand years. Finally, Shiva not only forgave Ravana but also granted him an invincible sword called the Chandrahasa. Since Ravana cried, he was given the name "Ravana" – one who cried. The verses that Ravana sang were collected and became known as the Shiva Tandava Stotra.[8]

Media adaptationsEdit

Parts of the stotra was recreated as a song in the following Indian films:


  1. ^ Vālmīki; Menon, Ramesh (2004-05-26). The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-86547-695-0.
  2. ^ Ayres, Elizabeth (2005). Know the Way: A Journey in Poetry and Prose. Infinity Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 9780741428257.
  3. ^ "Shivatandavastotra". Full text at Wikisource. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  4. ^ Ramachander, P. R. "Shiva Thandava Stotram". Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  5. ^ Bennett, James (7 June 2017). Beneath the Winds: Masterpieces of Southeast Asian Art from the Art Gallery of South Australia. Australia: Art Gallery of South Australia. p. 251. ISBN 978-1921668074.
  6. ^ Cakrabartī, Bishṇupada (24 July 2008). The Penguin Companion to the Ramayana. Penguin. p. 91. ISBN 978-0143100461. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  7. ^ Social, Daily. "12 Of The Most Powerful Divine Weapons From Hindu Mythology". Daily Social. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Shiv Tandav Stotra". Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  9. ^ Times, Hindstan (Jul 31, 2015). "Singing Baahubali's Shiv Stotram gave me goosebumps: Kailash Kher". HIndustan Times. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  10. ^ Team, Indicine. "Maula Maula Lyrics – The Attacks of 26/11". Indicine. Retrieved 23 July 2018.