Sonia Sumitra Thakar
You may find it hard to believe that the Shiv Tandav Stotra—one of the most powerful prayers to Lord Shiva—was composed by the ten-headed demon king, Ravana. The King of Lanka is notorious in Hindu mythology as the villain in the Ramayana for kidnapping Mother Sita. But few know that Ravana was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva, the most learned and accomplished scholar of his time and possessed unmatchable power and strength. The story of how he composed the Shiv Tandav Stotra is as follows.
Origin of Shiv Tandav Stotra
Legend has it that Ravana, a fierce devotee of Lord Shiva, was once advised by Narad Muni to bring Mount Kailasha, the abode of Shiva and Parvati, back to Lanka with him. Arrogance and ego clouded his wisdom and he started to lift the mountain. Lord Shiva decided to teach Ravana a lesson and pressed his toe down on the mountain. Ravana's hand was crushed by the weight of Mount Kailasha and he let out an agonising cry or 'raav'. So great was his cry that it is said to have shaken up the entire universe. All the three worlds trembled.
Ravana realised his mistake and attempted to placate Lord Shiva by singing his praises and begging him for forgiveness. He spontaneously composed and sang the Shiv Tandav Stotram. On listening to this musical and devotional chant, Mahadev was immensely pleased, lifted his toe and blessed Ravana with the indestructible 'Chandrahaas' sword and several boons. In fact, Lord Shiva then gave Ravana his name which means the ‘one with a terrifying roar’.
Significance and Benefits
This eloquently written prayer not only describes the physical attributes and appearance of Lord Shiva, his qualities and his Tandav dance, but also gives a deeper understanding of Mahadev. The Shiv Tandav Stotra is extremely soothing to the ear with its rhythmic flow and beautiful diction and mere listening to it can bring on an almost transcendental-like experience to a devotee.
Chanting it regularly with devotion after mastering the correct pronunciation can have immense benefits in our lives. It is recommended that we listen to this stotra several times to become familiar with the diction before attempting to recite it ourselves. The scriptures expound that this stuti can be chanted by anyone without restriction and anywhere, at any time. However, Ravana was forgiven by Shiva in the Pradosha Kaal (the time period spanning one hour before and after sunset), and chanting the Shiva Tandav Stotra at this time is most efficacious.
The only qualification that one must have to worship Lord Shiva is that of bhakti or devotion. One who chants the Shiv Tandav Stotra with full faith and while concentrating on the form of Lord Shiva or on one's third eye (in the middle of the forehead), will reap tremendous physical, mental and spiritual benefits.
- Creates powerful vibrations that clear the air of negative energies and sanctify the atmosphere.
- Brings happiness and mental peace to those who chant it regularly and piously.
- Bestows the blessings of prosperity and fulfilment of all ones' needs and wants.
- Confers good physical health, great mental strength and power on a true bhakta.
- Leads to professional growth and help eliminate work-related problems.
- Reciting the Shiv Tandav Stotra at the time of an eclipse is believed to nullify the ill-effects of the planets.
- It can be chanted by childless couples to be blessed with progeny.
More than for attaining these boons, one should chant the Shiv Tandav Stotra, religiously and with devotion, to attain the infinite blessings of Lord Shiva.
Make this chant part of your daily spiritual practice and enjoy the divine blessings that it will bring to your life. Click here to see our compilation of the most powerful Shiva prayers that can be chanted everyday by anyone, anywhere.