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Ananda Tandava Dance Story – Reason For Shiva Dancing

Shiva performed Ananda Tandava (dance of bliss) in the Nataraja form at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. It is believed that Shiva performed this dance at the center of the universe. The story of Ananda Tandava dance is associated with a group of Rishis who were blinded by rituals. The reason for Shiva dancing is also associated with Adi Shesha.

In the forest of Tarangam, there lived a group of heretical saints who followed the doctrine of Mimamsa, the system that set much store by rituals. Shiva wanted to confute them but the saints sought to destroy Shiva through various ways – first by means of incantations, then by setting a tiger created from sacrificial fire on Him, by hurling on a Him a monstrous serpent, and by rushing upon him a monster in the shape of a malignant dwarf called Muyalaka.

Mahadev Shiva effortlessly stripped the tiger of its skin and wrapped it around his waist, put the snake around his neck as a garland, pressed the dwarf under his foot and breaking its back, made it writhe in pain.

Then Shiva began to dance the Ananda Tandava – the dance of bliss.

Adi Shesha wanted to see the mystic dance once again and Shiva told him to see it at Chidambaram (Tillai).