Dakshinamurti and Nataraja

Venkatraman Iyer venkatraman_iyer at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 28 23:23:18 UTC 1999

In  http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucgadkw/members/palaniappan-patanjali.html,
we find an essay, Madurai and Chidambaram:
The Tamil Cities that created Important Sanskrit Myths.

 >competition between Pandyas of Madurai and the Pallavas/Cholas
 >associated with Chidambaram, [...]
 >The fact that they chose pataJjali means that they were not looking
 >for a grammarian, but rather an authority on yoga. This will make
 >sense if one compares the dancing god of Chidambaram with
 >dakSiNAmUrti of Madurai. dakSiNAmUrt is the ultimate teacher-yogi.
 >By recruiting pataJjali as naTarAja's devotee, the dancing god
 >becomes a master of yoga too. [...]
 >Thus the legend of the dancing god at Chidambaram who originally
 >could not have had the yogic and grammatical wherewithal to compete
 >against the teacher-yogi dakSiNAmUrti of Madurai was complemented by
 >the addition of a grammarian and a yogi as disciples.

  The competition between Dakshinamurti myth of Potiyil/Maturai
  region of Pandyas and Nataraja cult from Chidambaram of
  Pallava-Cholas is narrated in kUrmapurANam also. In the KP, the
  four Rishis associated with Dakshinamurti watch the
  Ananda tANDava dance at Chidambaram.

  C. Sivaramamurti, Nataraja, 1974, p. 159
  " Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanaatana, SanatkumAra and others are
  mentioned, as witnessing his dance: kRitArtham menire
  santaH .... sanatkumAras sanako  bhRiGgis cha sanAtanas chaiva
  sanandanas cha (KUrmapurANa, Part 2, 5,17).
    This description of 'Siva's dance, witnessed by Sanaka, Sanandana,
  Sanaatana, SanatkumAra and other sages, is clearly answered in
  the elaborate representation in paintings in Kerala.
  The dance of 'Siva in the sky, famous in Chidambaram, and the dance
  of bliss, AnandatANDava, is also clear in the lines: pazyAmas
  tvAm paramAkAzamadhye nRityantam te mahimAnam smarAmaH
  sarvAtmAnAm bahudhA sannivishTam brahmAnandam chAnubhUyAnubhUya
  (KP, Part 2,5,27).
    That he dances in the heart is also very clearly stated here:
  pazyAmas tvAm jagato hetubhUtam nRityantam sve hRidaye sannivishTam
  (KP, Part 2, 5, 25). "

  Recently, Muthuswamy Dikshitar has two krithis:
  a)'SivakAmi patim cintayAmyaham  ...
  navapurandarAdi sanakAdi sannuta ..
  b) kanaka sabhApatim bhajare mAnasa ...
  sanaka sanandanAdi vinuta padam
  zivakAmezvari manollAsa karam

 >It was not that Chidambaram alone tried to emulate Madurai. Madurai
 >did reverse too. The ziva myths of Madurai include stories of the
 >Pandyan king learning to dance and begging ziva to switch his legs
 >so that ziva will be more comfortable. The result is of course, the
 >right leg is lifted and left leg is planted , just the opposite of
 >the pose in Chidambaram. In ziva's wedding at Madurai, pataJjali
 >and vyAghrapAda participate and ziva dances for their sake. Of
 >course, it so happens that the author of the first text of Madurai
 >stories is perumparRRap puliyUr nampi named after Chidambaram.

       See the 9-10th century Chola bronze from PoruppumETTupaTTi
       in Madurai district. A beautiful masterpiece of NaTarAja
       where the *right* leg is lifted up (kunchita pAdam).
       Even though Cholas were in control of Pandyan Madurai then,
       they pay respects to the native tradition by casting NaTarAja
       in the local tradition, opposite of the Chidambaram mode.

       Additionally, the five sabhas where Nataraja dances -
       there is only one in Pallava area (AlaGkADu),
       only the Chidambaram in Chola terrain, But *three*
       dance halls in Pandya country! - silver hall at Madurai,
       copper hall in Nelveli, and citra hall at Potiyil (kuRRAlam)
       shows adapting Dance motifs of Chidambaram.

V. Iyer

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