My Hindu Name, Tandava

Having completed the first year of the Himalayan Academy Master Course, I have decided that the Nandinatha sampradaya is right for me spiritually. I asked Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami to choose a Hindu name for me. He gave me a choice of suitable names. I don’t feel it would be right to post about the names I did not choose, as they were all good names and for some people a different one would be the right choice. The name Tandava stood out though.

Tandava means the divine dance of Shiva, the eternal cosmic cycle of creation, sustainment, and destruction. It is written as ताण्डव in devanagari and transliterated as Tāṇḍava in IAST (the International Alphabet for Sanskrit Transliteration). The first “a” sounds like the “a” in father, and the second and third “a” sound like the “u” in mud is pronounced in Southern England and the USA. The “d” is prominently pronounced which is the normal way for British English speakers.

This wonderful name has special meaning for me, as it was the Image of the Nataraja with its Shakti and symbolism that started me on the Hindu path. I should emphasise that Hinduism has no rule about  choosing a Hindu name, but the Himalayan Academy recommends it as part of the spiritual journey.

Aum Shivaya


17 responses to “My Hindu Name, Tandava

  1. Namaste Tandava,

    Beautiful name indeed. Hearty congratulations.

    It helped to remember and chant for a moment the Lord Rudra’ holy name. Thank you for the post.

    May you spiritual journey progress peacefully always with Lord Rudra’ blessings.

    ॐ नमः शिवाय

    Aum Namah Shivaya

    Very best wishes


  2. Wonderful name! Congratulations 🙂

  3. Tandava,
    Great name and hearty congratulations to you, and this name is in south india(Tamilnadu)named “Thandavarayan’.
    Sure you will get Lord shiva’s blessings.

  4. Hi

    I am a fan of your honest and open website. It is extremely good and insightful. Is it possible for you to sometime write about bhakti too as I feel that bhakti is the biggest treasure from hinduism that is can be aspired for in this age. I have not read all your posts (yet) but if you have covered it, my apologies.

    A small reference that may bring joy to you (If you have not already seen it!). Search “Sant Tukaram Proceeding to Vaikunta” on youtube and click on the black and white video. Its extremely moving. It is not about Lord Shiva but from an old Indian Marathi movie about the modern Panduranga bhakt -Tukaram. I think you will like it.

    Please keep up the good work!

  5. Tandav Ji,

    Aum Namah Shivaaya,
    Jay Shri Radhe! Shyam!!

    I am very glad to hear that you have taken up the tradition as disseminated through the Himalayan Academy at the Kauai Aadheenam.

    Guruji (Swami Gopal Sharan Devacharya) and myself both found that the Swamis at the Aadheenam are indeed like family – and they are a great representation of our Sanatan Dharma.

    I wish you well on your journey back to the Lord Almighty!
    Hopefully, we will catch up one day when I am back visiting the Bradford Mandir.

    Jay Shri Radhe Shyam,
    Aum Namah Shivaaya.

  6. Pingback: New theme and underlying URL « Western Hindu

  7. I have read a little bit about the Himalayan Academy process for getting a Hindu name. I’m very curious whether you have followed the directive to legally change your given name to the Indian one and/or having friends, family and co-workers call you by the new name. I’d love to hear more about that experience.

    • Amaba,
      The Nandinatha Sampradaya (Himalayan Academy) process of changing name has various stages. You are not given a name until you complete the first stage of the Master Course . Some Western students decide to use an Hindu name of their own choosing during this period, but I just used my own name “Chris”. If you want to progress with the Nandinatha Sampradaya you can ask Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami to choose a Hindu name for you. First I was given a list of first names, and asked if any of those seemed right. After this the Satguru will give a list of suitable second names if necessary, and I will be able to select one from those he proposes. This has to be done in stages, as the choice of a second name will depend on the first. (Obviously if someone already has a Saivite Hindu second name then the list of first names will all suit it). Bodhinatha is currently busy on trips, but I look forward to him giving me this choice.

      There is a long period between being given a name and the eventual legal adoption. During this period you would normally use it increasingly. At the moment I use it among the Hindus at our Mandir and on my blogs and lists. The Hindus at the Mandir have shortened this to Tandav as an everyday name. I have told my family and close work colleagues but have not asked them to start using it yet. I decided to wait until I have my second name before I do this, though thinking about it that is not the only reason. I have a reluctance to do it, part of which is not wanting to stand out and part a feeling that I don’t live up to a Hindu name yet and I’m not worthy of it. I certainly would not want anyone to judge Hindus based on me. I will have to discuss this on the online forum for Master Course students.
      Aum Shivaya

  8. Thank you so much for answering that question. I look forward to posts in the future about your experiences using a new name. I know having a new name is a very unusual experience for a man.

    I hope you will soon feel worthy of the name. Just think of all the people born with Hindu names who are not living up to theirs! 🙂

    I would also love to see some posts about your wife’s experience and thoughts about all this, if she would be willing to share.

  9. pandiarajan

    Dear sir,
    I bow my head before you for God SHIVA has chosen you.

  10. Hi Tandava,
    remember me?

    I recently stumbled across this website Stephen Knapp. It made me think of you. You may know of him or his writings, if not you may find it interesting.

  11. Pingback: I now have a complete Hindu name | Western Hindu

  12. I would like to add a little bit more information, Tandava is a furious dance. If u see the form of Natraja ( made from two words -nat- raja = King of dance) He is surrounded by flames, his hair is flying in the air. And his hand pointing down at the Demon of Ignorance on which he dances.

    It depicts a time, when the world is completely under the control of Maya ( illussion) He dances upon the dark demon of ignorance and the people of the world receive the power of Knowledge.

    His wife ” Goddess Shakti” dose a calming dance along side. She has a more graceful form, and she gently looks at him while she dances to calm him down.

    Enlightened people of Sanatan Dharma who used to be professional dancers of bharatnatyam, used to perform the same tandav dance in the remembrance of the Universal event of the Tandav dance.

  13. Pingback: New theme and underlying URL | Tandava's Technical Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s