Shiva Tandava Stotram is a stotra (Hindu hymn) about Lord Shiva’s power and beauty. It is traditionally attributed to Lord Ravana, the demon king of Lanka and devotee of Lord Shiva.
In the final quatrain of the poem, after tiring of rampaging across the Earth, Lord Ravana asks, “When will I be happy…?” Because of the intensity of his prayers and ascetic meditation, of which this hymn was an example, Lord Ravana received from Lord Shiva powers and a celestial sword.
When Lord Ravana was tired of rampaging across the earth, he returned to Lord Shiva to request Moksha (release from the bondage of endless rebirth). Lord Shiva replied that he had granted Lord Ravana the boon of indestructibility.
Lord Ravana was obsessed with his powers and was egoistic, and to display and prove his powers he was about to move Mount Kailash (the abode of Lord Shiva who was his ancestor God). He managed to lift the mountain but Lord Shiva immediately placed it back just by pressing his toe crushing Lord Ravana’s fingers in the process. That is when Lord Ravana sings “Tandav Stotra” and he was spared and blessed with Chandrahas (moon sword by Lord Shiva) considered one of the most powerful weapons in Hindu Mythology.
The Tandava Stotram:
Jata tavee gala jala pravaha pavithas thale
Galae..valambya lambitaam bhujanga tunga malikaam
Damad damad damad daman ninaa davad damar vayam
Chakara chanda tandavam tanotu naha shivaha shivam.
Translation: With his neck, consecrated by the flow of water flowing from the thick forest-like locks of hair, and on the neck, where the lofty snake is hanging garland, and the Damaru drum making the sound of Damat Damat Damat Damat, Lord Shiva did the auspicious dance of Tandava and may He shower prosperity on us all.
Jata kataha sambhrama bhraman nillimpa nirjharee,
Vilola veechi vallaree viraja mana moordhani,
Dhagad dhagad dhagaj jwalal lalata patta pavake,
Kishora chandra shekare ratihi pratikshanam mama.
Translation: I have a very deep interest in Lord Shiva, whose head is glorified by the rows of moving waves of the celestial river Ganga, agitating in the deep well of his hair-locks, and who has the brilliant fire flaming on the surface of his forehead, and who has the crescent moon as a jewel on his head.
Dhara dharendra nandinee vilaasa bhandhu bhandura,
Sphuraddigan tasantati pramodha maana maanase,
Krupaa kataaksha dhoranee niruddha durdharaapadi,
Kwachid digambare (kwachicchidambare) mano vinodametu vastuni.
Translation: May my mind seek happiness in Lord Shiva, in whose mind all the living beings of the glorious universe exist, who is the sportive companion of Parvati (daughter of the mountain king), who controls invincible hardships with the flow of his compassionate look, who is all-persuasive (the directions are his clothes).
Jataa bhujanga pingala sphurat phana mani prabha,
Kadambakum kumadrava pralip tadig wadhuu mukhae,
Madaandha sindhu rasphurat waguttari yamedure,
Mano vinodamaddhutam bibhartu bhoota bhartari.
Translation: May I seek wonderful pleasure in Lord Shiva, who is supporter of all life, who with his creeping snake with reddish brown hood and with the luster of his gem on it spreading out variegated colors on the beautiful faces of the maidens of directions, who is covered with a glittering upper garment made of the skin of a huge intoxicated elephant.
Sahasra lochana prabhrut yashesha lekha shekhara,
Prasoona dhooli dhoranee vidhuu sarandhri peethabhuhu,
Bhujangaraja malaya nibaddha jaata jootaka,
Shriyai chiraya jaayatam chakorabandhu shekharaha.
Translation: May Lord Shiva give us prosperity, who has the moon as his head-jewel, whose hair is tied by the red snake-garland, whose foot-stool is grayed by the flow of dust from the flowers from the rows of heads of all the Gods, Indra/Vishnu and others.
Lalaata chatwara jwalad dhananjaya sphulingabhaa,
Nipeeta pancha sayakam naman nilimpa nayakam,
Sudhaa mayookha lekhayaa virajamana shekharam,
Mahaa kapali sampade, shiroja talamastu naha.
Translation: May we get the wealth of Siddhis from Lord Shiva’s locks of hair, which devoured the God of Love with the sparks of the fire flaming in His forehead, who is bowed by all the celestial leaders, who is beautiful with a crescent moon.
Karaala bhaala pattikaa dhagad dhagad dhagaj jwala-
Ddhananjayaa hutee kruta prachanda pancha sayakae,
Dhara dharendra nandinee kuchagra chitrapatraka-
-Prakalpanaika shilpini, trilochane ratir mama.
Translation: My interest is in Lord Shiva, who has three eyes, who has offered the powerful God of Love into the fire, flaming Dhagad Dhagad on the flat surface of his forehead, and who is the sole expert artist of drawing decorative lines on the tips of breasts of Parvati, the daughter of the mountain king.
Naveena megha mandalee nirudha durdhara sphurat,
Kuhoo nisheethi neetamaha prabandha bandha kandharaha,
Nilimpa nirzaree dharstanotu krutti sindhuraha,
Kalaa nidhaana bandhuraha shriyam jagat durandharaha.
Translation: May Lord Shiva give us prosperity, who bears the burden of this universe, who is lovely with the moon, who is red wearing the skin, who has the celestial river Ganga, whose neck is dark as midnight of new moon night covered by many layers of clouds.
Praphulla neela pankaja prapancha kalima prabha-
-Valambi kanttha kandalee ruchi prabaddha kandharam,
Smarschidam puraschidham bhavaschidham makhachidham,
Gajacchidandhakacchidaam tamantakacchidam bhaje.
Translation: I pray to Lord Shiva, whose neck is tied with the luster of the temples hanging on the neck with the glory of the fully bloomed blue lotuses which looked like the blackness (sins) of the universe, who is the killer of Manmatha, who destroyed Tripuras, who destroyed the bonds of worldly life, who destroyed the sacrifice, who destroyed the demon Andhaka, the destroyer of the elephants, and who controlled the God of death, Yama.
Akharva (Agara) sarva mangalaa kalaa kadamba manjaree,
Rasa pravaha madhuri vijrumbhanaa madhu vratam,
Smaraantakam, puraantakam, bhavaantakam, makhaantakam,
Gajaantakaandhakaantakam tamantakaantakam bhaje.
Translation: I pray to Lord Shiva, who has bees flying all over because of the sweet honey from the beautiful bunch of auspicious Kadamba flowers, who is the killer of Manmatha, who destroyed Tripuras, who destroyed the bonds of worldly life, who destroyed the sacrifice, who destroyed the demon Andhaka, the killer of the elephants, and who controlled the God of death, Yama.
Jayatvadabhra vibhrama bhrama dbujanga masrhvasa-
-dvinirgamatkramasphurat karaala bhala havya vaat,
Dhimid dhimid dhimi dhvananmrudanga tunga mangala,
Dhwani krama pravartita prachanda tandavaha shivaha.
Translation: Lord Shiva, whose dance of Tandava is in tune with the series of loud sounds of drum making Dhimid Dhimid sounds, who has the fire on the great forehead, the fire that is spreading out because of the breath of the snake wandering in whirling motion in the glorious sky.
Sprushad wichitra talpayorbhujanga mouktika srajor-,
Garishtha ratna loshthayoho suhrudwi paksha pakshayoho,
Trunaara vinda chakshushoho prajaamahee mahendrayoho,
Samam pravartyanmanaha kada sadaashivam bhajamyaham.
Translation: When will I worship Lord Sadasiva (eternally auspicious God Shiva), with equal vision towards the people and an emperor, and a blade of grass and lotus-like eye, towards both friends and enemies, towards the valuable gem and some lump of dirt, towards a snake and a garland and towards varied ways of the world.
Kada nilimpa nirjari nikunja kotarae vasan,
Vimukta durmateehi sada shiraha sthamanjalim vahan,
Vilolalola lochano lalaama bhaala lagnakaha,
Shiveti mantramuccharan kada sukhee bhavamyaham.
Translation: When will I be happy, living in the hollow place near the celestial river, Ganga, carrying the folded hands on my head all the time, with my bad thinking washed away, and uttering the mantra of Lord Shiva and devoted in the God with glorious forehead with vibrating eyes.
Idam hi nityameva mukta muttamottamam stavam,
Pathan smaran bruvan naro vishuddhimeti santatam,
Hare Gurau subhaktimashu yati naanyatha gatim,
Vimohanam hi dehinaam sushankarasya chintanam.
Translation: Whoever reads, remembers and says this best stotra as it is said here, gets purified forever, and obtains devotion in the great Guru Shiva. For this devotion, there is no other way. Just the mere thought of Lord Shiva indeed removes the delusion.
Yaha shambhupoojanaparam pathati pradoshe,
Tasya sthiraam radha gajendra turanga yuktam,
Lakshmeem sadaiva sumukhim pradadaati shambhuhu.
Translation: In the evening, after sunset, at the end of Puja, whoever utters this stotra dedicated to the worship of Shiva, Lord Shiva blessed him with very stable Lakshmi (prosperity) with all the richness of chariots, elephants and horses.
Translation: Thus ends the Shiva-Tandava Stotra written by Lord Ravana.