Samhāra Tāndava

Loaned Artwork

Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 2018
58 × 84 cm

Artist’s Collection

About the Art

The word “Tāṇḍava” originates from the Sanskrit language and can be translated as “violent” or “fiery.” It is believed that Lord Shiva may perform the Tāṇḍava dance in a variety of distinct forms, each of which represents a particular facet of his personality. These characteristics include both the kind and the ferocious sides of his character. The Tāṇḍava dance is typically thought of as having 7 distinct elements, which are referred to as “Ānanda Tāṇḍava”, “Rudra Tāṇḍava” and “Saṃhāra Tāṇḍava” and they contain a wide range of feelings as well as cosmic movements. These facets are supposed to embody a variety of dispositions and acts, ranging from mild and graceful to strong and awe-inspiring, depending on how they are interpreted. In many depictions of the dance, Lord Śiva is shown flanked by his celestial consort, Goddess Pārvatī, while he is represented holding a variety of qualities. 

The Śiva Tāṇḍava holds great significance as it serves as a representation of the eternal cycles of creation, destruction, and transformation that manifest across the vast expanse of the cosmos. It acts as a symbolic manifestation of the ever-changing interplay between the constructive and destructive forces, hence serving as a perpetual symbol of the impermanence inherent in the realm of nature. The Tāṇḍava is said to possess a profound cosmic influence through its rhythmic and dynamic movements, purportedly affecting the equilibrium of energy inside the universe. The aforementioned conviction arises from the historical evidence that the Tāṇḍava  dance holds ancient origins.

Within the realm of Hindu mythology, a plethora of narratives and customs exist, elucidating several instances whereby Lord Shiva is portrayed engaging in the Tāṇḍava dance. The Saṃhāra Tāṇḍava is a specific manifestation of the divine dance performed by Lord Shiva, which is said to have transpired subsequent to the annihilation of Tripurāsura. This formidable being consisted of three Asuras known as Vidyunmālī, Tārakākṣa, and Veeryavan. Shiva mounted his sacred vehicle, a bull known as Nandi, and proceeded to pursue the airborne city, Tripura. Utilizing the celestial armament known as the Pāśupatāstra, the protagonist emerged triumphant subsequent to an intense conflict, effectively obliterating the malevolent entities.

© Copyright 2024 Museum of Nepal Arts. All Rights Reserved.