A verse on the sabhānāyakasvāmi of cidambara: naṭarāja

A couple of months ago, the following verses appeared in the cidākāśa of my heart as I meditated on the deity of cidambaram. I had shared this with a few earlier but thought of making it public.

தாமரை நாணச் செய்யும் செய்யத்திருமகள் நாணச் செய்யும்

தாமரைக்கண்னோவ நச்சுயிர்கும் சிரமாயிரத்தான் பழிவீழ

தாமரைமகனார்க்கு நான்மறை ஈத்த ஐந்தலை முதல்வன்

தாமரையில் கூத்தாடி கண்ணுக்கு மருந்தானானே

 

saṃskṛta and ISO transliterations for anyone who does not read tamiḻ but yet desires to read this modest attempt at poetry:

 

तामरै नाणच् चॆय्युम् चॆय्यत्तिरुमगळ् नाणच् चॆय्युम्

तामरैक्कण्ऩोव नच्चुयिर्कुम् सिरमायिरत्ताऩ् पऴिवीऴ

तामरैमगऩार्क्कु नाऩ्मऱै ईत्त ऐन्तलै मुदल्वऩ्

तामरैयिल् कूत्ताडि कण्णुक्कु मरुन्दाऩाऩे

tāmarai nāṇac ceyyum ceyyattirumagaḷ nāṇac ceyyum

tāmaraikkaṇṉōva naccuyirkum siramāyirattāṉ paḻivīḻa

tāmaraimagaṉārkku nāṉmaṟai ītta aintalai mudalvaṉ

tāmaraiyil kūttāḍi kaṇṇukku marundāṉāṉē

Meaning: To remove the blame of the thousand-headed one (ādiśeṣa) breathing the toxic [breaths] that have pained the lotus-like eye of viṣṇu that makes the red[-complexioned] lakṣmī shy, who makes the lotus shy; [to remove that blame] the five-headed chief (sadāśiva) who gave the four veda-s to the lotus-born son (brahma); he (sadāśiva) danced in the lotus and became a medicine to that eye [of viṣṇu]!

Notes:

1. The word, ‘செய்ய’ in ‘செய்யத்திருமகள்’ (चॆय्य in चॆय्यत्तिरुमगळ् or ceyya in ceyyattirumagaḷ) means red in this context. Interested readers can see an example of such an usage in song no. 255 of ainkurunūru here: https://sangamtranslationsbyvaidehi.com/ettuthokai-ainkurunuru/ as well as in song no. 323 of aganānūru here: https://sangamtranslationsbyvaidehi.com/ettuthokai-akananuru-301-400/

 

2. The shyness of lakṣmī can be understood in two, distinct ways:

a. When she saw the lotus eye of hari looking at her, she became overcome with bashfulness.

b. She saw the lotus eye and felt shy due to the beauty of his two eyes easily rivaling that of her entire form.

In either case, the shyness of lakṣmī results in her acquiring a reddish complexion so beautiful that it embarrasses the lotus, causing the lotus to feel shy.

3. The reference to śiva (sadāśiva is the special name given to śiva; sadāśiva is the highest deity of the siddhānta system) giving the four veda-s to brahma is a reference to śvetāśvatara upaniṣat 6.18. In this upaniṣat, it is quite clear that brahman is identified as śiva-rudra.

yo brahmāṇaṃ vidadhāti pūrvaṃ yo vai vedāṃś ca prahiṇoti tasmai…

4. Finally, the last lotus is a reference to both the temple of cidambaram, where sadāśiva performs the peerless dance as well as the lotus of the heart referred to in the daharavidyā chapter of cāndogyopaniṣat. In that lotus of the heart is a small space called the cidākāśa.  cidākāśa is, thus, the space in the lotus of the heart, where the self is visualized as dwelling; the self (ātman) which is the very embodiment of consciousness (cit). Both cidākāśa and cidambara are semantically the same.

atha yad idam asmin brahmapure daharaṃ puṇḍarīkaṃ veśma daharo ‘sminn antarākāsaḥ |
tasmin yad antas tad anveṣṭavyaṃ tad vāva vijijñāsitavyam iti || cāndogyopaniṣat 8.1.1 ||

5. Something I learnt only after I composed this verse: The cidambara mahātmya composed by umāpati śivācārya (a famous śaiva teacher who was one of the priests at the great temple of cidambaram) in its fifteenth chapter has a narrative of śiva explaining to ādiśeṣa how he performs the dance at cidambaram, which is to earth what the heart is to the body! (A direct reference to the daharavidyā explained in point 3 above). In hindsight, this modest composition of mine becomes elevated to a meaningful and divine coincidence.

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