Shiva tandava sthotram 1, 2, & 3

I am not sure how I can express the beauty of this sthotram. Each and every syllable makes a difference to the meaning. What a flow, what a meaning! Yes, it is a tongue twister to even read it. But what I find should be appreciated more is the understanding. How much should the person who wrote these sthotrams have understood the concept to put them down in such beautiful flowing words! All sthotrams have it, a presence. Each a different presence. The Kala bhairava sthotram has it’s impact, the Maha Kala bhairava sthotram has it’s impact, but this sthotram has a totally different and beautiful impact.

The first verse goes like this:

Gale-[A]valambya Lambitaam Bhujangga-Tungga-Maalikaam |
Cakaara Canndda-Taannddavam Tanotu Nah Shivah Shivam ||1||

jaTa + aTAvi + gala + jala + pravAha + pAvita + sthale 
= entangled + a place to roam in + constriction + cold + continuous + purified + place
gale + valamba = in constriction + perpendicular /orthogonal 
lambitam = suspended / hanging 
bhujangga = to bend / turn 
tungga = principal 
mAlikAm = series
Dma + Dam + Dam + Daman + ni + nAdavaD + Dmara + vayam 
= Dama sound + into + resonance + tumult + weaver
cakAra = 
caNDa = tumultuous
tANDavam = dancing 
tanotuna = stretch / continue 
shivah = shiva's shivam = shiva

The standard translations translate this verse as a description of Shiva’s dance with a knotted hair and snakes as garlands in the neck. But, it definitely does not seem that. Basically because in such a world the orthogonality or “valamba” does not make sense and yet valamba is translated as “support” instead.  The fact that a set of words can be interpreted in different ways brings out the congruence of these words. The beauty of this sthotram lies in the harmony of these words.

Instead of an entangled hair and a neck with snakes suspended, imagine an entangled set of waves constricted through a neck continuously, will this not become a space of pure waves? Now, imagine a single or more strands of this entangled set of waves, bends off perpendicular to that constriction and hanging off this constriction in a series of wavy ups and downs, woven into a resonant tumult and dancing continuously. This becomes the Shiva’s (i.e., the constricted entangled waves’) shivam (the part that broke off and became the suspended series).

So, the translation of the above verse turns out to be:

“The place in which the entangled is roaming is constricted to give a pure cold continuous place, orthogonal to this constriction bends principal series Dam sound resonates within tumult and is the weaver of this cakara, tumultuous dancing stretches into shiva’s shivam”

Now, what these waves are, I can only guess, that it possibly is the waves of thoughts, and where they exist is also something that can only be guessed, maybe a field of some sort? What causes it to bend off into a perpendicular direction? I wonder if there is something like a refractive index that changes the light waves? Why should this give out a noise of “Damak”, again I wonder! Yes, this opens up a whole lot of questions! What is “cakara” can only think it as ca + akara which is “ca” form which is what I wonder? Possible it is a circle! Moving on to the next verse:

Vilola-Viici-Vallarii-Viraajamaana-Muurdhani |
Kishora-Candra-Shekhare Ratih Pratikssannam Mama ||2||

jaTa + kaTAha + sambhrama + bhraman + nilimpa + nirJari = 
entangled + hollow + agitating + moving to and fro + super natural + cascade
vilola + vIci + vallari + virAjamAna + mUrdhani = 
unsteady + wave + twining + shining + main
dhagad + dhagad + dhagad + jala + lalATa + paTTa + pAvike = 
(dhagiti = at once / in a moment) + cold + in front + intersection + pure
kishora + candra + kshethare = 
direct light + reflected light + environment 
ratih = rest in 
prati+kshanam + mama = every + moment + in "I"

This translates to:

“This entangled hollow, agitating, moving to and fro, super natural cascade of chief, unsteady wave twining, shining, at once cold in the front at the intersection of pure, has direct and reflected light environment which is seated in every moment of “I””

The thing about this is “the entangled” is never referred to as wave! The wave is only referred once it is split from the entangled. While I automatically assumed “entangled waves” in the previous verse, it is not said so. It is just called “entangled”? But what is to think here is “how did we get the reflected light” in the first place? Till now, the sthotram only talks about the bent light splitting off from the entangled! I wonder is it circles over itself and hence the “cakara”! Yet, it does say both direct and reflected light forms the environment!

Sphurad-Diganta-Santati-Pramodamaana-Maanase |
Kvacid-Digambare Mano Vinodametu Vastuni ||3||

dharA + dhara+ indra + nanda + ni + vilAsa + bandhu + bandhura = 
supporter + supporting + senses + increase + + appearance + connecting + oscillation
sphura + diganta + santati + pramodamAna + mAnase = 
vibrating + in remote distance + stretching] + strengthen + with the manas
krp(A) + kaTAksha + dhoraNi + niruddha + dhurdhara + padi = 
appearance + look back + stopped + held + fixed / to stand fast
kavaci + digambare + mano + vinoda + metu + vastuni = 
shield + naked + of manas + diversion + reality

This translates to:

“Supporter supporting senses, increases appearance connecting to the oscillating (wave), vibrating at a remote distance stretching strengthened with the manas, appearance glance (to the entangled) stopped restrained to stand fast, the naked shielded by the manas diverted by reality”

You should really give it to the person who wrote this! Without mentioning any of the subject or the object, he seems to have described something which is a great thing!! “Supporter supporting” is what is said, yet who is the supporter is left out! Possible it is the environment from the previous verse. So it becomes that the “environment of direct and reflected light” has supported the senses which increases appearances which connects this environment to the oscillating wave that split out of the entangled, by the manas that is distracted by this reality around us!


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