Date: Tuesday, 17-July-2018, 9:54 AM | Message # 2
Manoranjan M Published on Aug 30, 2013
A beautiful, elegant, richly rhythmic with sumptuous onomatopoeia and alliteration, grammatically well structured, tongue twisting Hindu devotional poetry ever written on God Shiva praising his eternal beauty and power... written by a Rakshasa (demon - once a Brahmin belonging to a great lineage of sages, but took the path of Adharma and became a demon) king Ravana, son of a great Rishi (sage) Vishrava... supposedly written tens of hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Poetic and Lyrical Quality of the Stotra:
The Stotra’s first 14 quatrains are in Panchachaamara Chhanda, which has 16 Varna-s (syllables) per line, with Laghu (unstressed, short syllable) and Guru (stressed, long syllable) characters (syllables) alternating. So there are eight Laghu-Guru pairs, making up 16 syllables of each line. Its rhythmic pattern is comparable to its Western counterpart iambic meter, where an iambus is a metrical foot consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable. So the poetic meter could be called as an iambic octameter.
The final and 15th quatrain is set in Vasanta-Tilakaa, a 14 Varna (syllable) meter, which is in the form of (in triad sequence) GGL/GLL/LGL/LGL/GG. Most of the Suprabhaataas are composed in this meter.
Replete with Alliteration and Onomatopoeia, this poem rolls out of the pages and roils against the tongue and eardrum in waves of resounding lyrical beauty.
Ravana, the son of Rishi Vishrava, grandson of Rishi Pulastya and great-grandson of God Brahma (Pulastya is one of the ten Prajapatis or mind-born sons of Brahma and one of the Saptarishi (Seven Great Sages) in the first Manvantara), is depicted in the Ramayana as a great scholar of the Vedas with erudition in Sanskrit poetry only second to Maharishi Valmiki himself.
His genius is reflected in the masterful impromptu composition of the Shiva Tandava Stotram while he had his hands crushed under the Mount Kailash, home to God Shiva. In his arrogance to display his indestructible powers, he audaciously demanded God Shiva for Moksha (liberation from birth-death cycle and being one with the divine), failing the grant of which he threatened to move the Mount Kailash itself.
Unperturbed, God Shiva allowed Ravana to lift the Mountain on his hands and opportunely pressed it back to its original position by placing just one toe on its peak and crushing Ravana's forearms in the process. Immediately humbled, Ravana accepts his folly and starts singing in praise of Shiva which rolls off his tongue in the immaculate poetry of The Shiva Tandava Stotram. So pleased is the Great God by this panegyric that not only does he restore Ravana to his complete form, but also blesses him with the Chandra Hasa (Moon Sword), a nigh indestructible weapon much revered throughout the Hindu Mythology. Finally he also advices him how to achieve Moksha, not directly by him, but through death at the hands of Rama, which is the story of entire Ramayana.
Song taken from Track 07, Album "Vedic Chants - Mantras & Melodies" by Shankar Mahadevan, Bombay S Jayashri