Page views

Ananda Marga Forum

All the letters on this blog are directly related with the teachings of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti ji Baba.To communicate with the editors of this forum or receive postings of this blog, email us at:



Just a reminder to be sure to subscribe to our two new blogsites:

For latest news click here Ananda Marga Universal

For latest news click here Ananda Marga News Bulletin

Or email us at:

And we will be sure to add you to the list.

In Him,


Why Red Dress

Date: Mon, 09 July 2012, 22:43:52
Subject: Why Red Dress




Baba says, "Ta'n'd'ava is a heroic dance, showing the fight between life and death. The knife represents life, represents your vital stamina, and the skull represents the death that wants to destroy you. You are fighting against death with your weapon, be it a knife or a trishula (trident). And as per the rule, during the day, if one so desires, one may use a live snake in place of the skull; and at night one may use a fire masha'la [torch] or a d'ambaru [small drum]. This is the rule. So ta'n'd'ava represents the eternal fight, the fight for survival, the fight to maintain existence, the fight to establish oneself as a man in this world." (Ananda Vacanamrtam - 6, The Cosmic Father Has a Special Responsibility)


By Baba's above guideline, we can delineate the system for doing tandava. During the daytime, in the left hand the tandava dancer may hold either (1) a skull, or (2) a live snake. When doing tandava during the nighttime, then in the left hand the dancer can hold either (3) a fire torch (masha'la) or (4) a d'ambaru, which is a small (approximately 1 litre in size), hand-held, double-sided drum. This type of drum has a string and two knots attached to it which twist around and create a beautiful sound when they strike against either face of the drum. Lord Shiva would use this type of drum.

So the point is that during tandava, depending on the time of day or night, any one of these four items (skull, live snake, fire torch, or d'ambaru) are held in the dancer's left hand. And all four items symbolize the force of death and destruction.

Then in the dancer's right hand he will hold a dagger or a trishula (trident). In AM, a dagger is a knife where both edges of the knife are perfectly straight and angle towards each other to create a distinct point at the end. So a dagger is a pin-pointed, dual-edged knife; not any ordinary type of knife is a dagger. The second option for the right hand is the trishul (trident). This is similar to the western "pitch-fork". It is a three-pronged, pointed iron tool attached to a bamboo handle of variable length, 3 to 6 feet long.


By Baba's grace, I was also present at that special darshan on 20 April 1979 in Kolkata where Baba revealed the secret why tandava dancers wear a red-coloured outfit. In Ananda Marga, it is a commonly known fact that tandava dancers always wear that unique read uniform when dancing. Everyone who attended DMC, DMS, or any of Baba's darshans saw this. And on that special day in April '79, Baba explained that red is the color of rajoguna (the mutative factor), and that by wearing red the tandava dancers are expressing the idea that they are above the mutative factor. Their red dress signifies that they are not controlled by rajoguna. Rather they are established in the sattvaguna (sentient sphere), by Baba's grace. So the red uniform has this unique meaning which Baba Himself beautifully described in His darshan of 20 April 1979.

Baba says, "So the animal skin or the red garment means, “I am using it as my cloth by annihilating the brute force.” A red garment means that I am sitting on the mutative force and I am using the mutative quality as my outer clothing. The red colour is indicative of the mutative quality." (Táńd́ava Dance – What and Why?, 20 April 1979, Kolkata)

Although that is how it was published in the English edition, this translation is off the mark. It does not properly convey Baba's stated idea. The original Bengali - as spoken by Baba - carries a slightly different meaning: He clearly tells that the red dress signifies being "above" rajoguna (the mutative factor), not enmeshed in rajoguna . The translator then should have expressed this type of idea:

The red garment means, "I am established above rajoguna [the mutative factor];
rajoguna is my outer clothing;
I am not rajogunii." The red color is indicative of rajoguna.

This is the essence and overall thrust of what Baba is explaining in that discourse. Kindly make a note of it in your copies of this discourse - "Táńd́ava Dance – What and Why?" - which has been printed in Ananda Vacanartam part 10.


Those doing kapalik sadhana also use a red mark on their forehead when practicing this meditation. And the meaning behind that red mark is the same as tandava. Namely, that red mark signifies that the kapalika is above the mutative sphere of life - above rajoguna.



Baba says, "The inner motivation of ta'n'd'ava is the following:  'Destruction is inevitable, but I will continue to fight against destruction through struggle'. So there is a skull [snake, torch or dambaru] in one hand and a dagger [or trident] in the other. The skull represents destruction, and the dagger represents fight. The underlying feeling is 'I will not surrender to destruction or death. I will continue the struggle with this dagger'." (9 Nov 1978 Kolkata)

Usually in this materialistic world, people are terrified of death. Tandava, and other tantric practices of Ananda Marga, are the solution.


"Ma'nus' saba'i a', Ekai marme gentha' saba'r hiya..."  (PS #1090)


All human beings are my own. We are all part of the same human family. Nobody can be regarded as an outsider. All our heart's are threaded together with His divine love. We all share that single common goal. Indeed, all human beings are my own; all are my brothers and sisters. Marching together in unison we are collectively singing the tune of His divine glory...

Policy on Comments

Spam and unparliamentary language not to be used.

folders: Ananda Marga related articles on hundreds of niche issues


To receive postings of this blog, email us at:

Baba nam kevalam