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Nataraja Stotra


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    This hymn is by Sage Patanjali, the author and compiler of the famous yogasuutra. Once upon a time, as the story of the origin of the hymn goes, Nandi, Shiva's carrier would not allow Patanjali Muni to have Darshan of the Lord Shiva (Nataraja of Chidambaram). In order to reach Lord Shiva, Patanjali, with his mastery over grammatical forms, spontaneously composed this prayer in praise of the Lord without using any extended (`diirgham') syllable, (without `charaNa' and `shR\^{}iN\^{}ga' i.e. leg and horn) to tease Nandi. Shiva was quickly pleased, gave Darshan to the devotee, and danced to the lilting tune of this song. The place where this incidence is said to have happened is Chidambaram (also known as Thillai), located about a hundred miles from Madras, Tamilnadu, India. It is considered to be one of the holiest places in India. In this temple, which has a gold covered roof, Lord Nataraja is present in a cosmic-dancing form. Many books have been written on the greatness of the temple and its deity and can also be inferred from various hymns composed in praise of the Lord by the Shaiva Siddhanta Saints. (Please refer to https://Shaivam.org for more information and detailed description of Shaiva Siddhanta.)

    atha charaNashR^iN^garahita naTaraajastotram.h

    sadaJNchita mudaJNchita nikuJNchita padaM jhalajhalaJNchalita maJNju kaTakam.h
    pataJNjali dR^igaJNjana manaJNjana machaJNchalapadaM janana bhaJNjana karam.h |
    kadambaruchimambaravasaM paramambuda kadamba kaviDambaka kagalam.h
    chidambudhi maNiM budha hR^idambuja raviM para chidambara naTaM hR^idi bhaja || 1||

    Heartily resort to the great dancer Shiva, residing in the holy place, Chidambaram. He is called Hara (the destroyer) who smashed the three cities (of demon tripura). He is worshipped by good people. While dancing he has lifted one foot which is bent. His lovely bracelets are set in motion of dance movements and hence are making a jingling sound. He is like ointment to the eyes of Patanjali by whose application the vision gets clear for receiving knowledge. However, he is free from contamination of any kind. He destroys the cycle of birth (and death). He possesses the loveliness of Kadamba tree; wears the sky as garment . His throat is dark like the multitude of rainy clouds. He is the jewel in the ocean of consciousness. He is the the Sun blossoming the lotus- heart of wise persons.

    haraM tripura bhaJNjanaM anantakR^itakaN^kaNaM akhaNDadaya mantarahitaM
    viriJNchisurasaMhatipurandhara vichintitapadaM taruNachandramakuTam.h |
    paraM pada vikhaNDitayamaM bhasita maNDitatanuM madanavaJNchana paraM
    chirantanamamuM praNavasaJNchitanidhiM para chidambara naTaM hR^idi bhaja || 2||

    Heartily resort to the great dancer, Shiva, residing in the holy place, Chidambaram. He is the destroyer of the world, who destroys sin and grants emancipation. He has destroyed the three cities of demon tripura, representing the three types of sorrows. He is wearing the great serpent, ananta, like a bracelet. He is incessantly showering compassion and is endless. "God Brahma, Indra and the other devatas meditate upon his feet. The crescent moon adorns his crown."

    The great one has crushed yama by his feet. His body is decorated with ash. He is inclined to brush aside cupid. His preciousness is saturated in the syllable - AUM.

    avantamakhilaM jagadabhaN^ga guNatuN^gamamataM dhR^itavidhuM surasarit.h\-
    taraN^ga nikuramba dhR^iti lampaTa jaTaM shamanadambhasuharaM bhavaharam.h |
    shivaM dashadigantara vijR^imbhitakaraM karalasanmR^igashishuM pashupatiM
    haraM shashidhanaJNjayapataN^ganayanaM parachidambara naTaM hR^idi bhaja || 3||

    Heartily resort to the great dancer, Lord Shiva, residing in the holy place, Chidambaram, who protects all the world. His lofty place is due to the indestructible good qualities. It is difficult to grasp his nature. He has held crescent moon in his forehead. His matted hair is covetous of holding the multitude of waves of the divine river, Ganga. He has dispelled the vanity of Yama and is capable of delivering men from the pangs of worldly life. The Lord of creatures, the auspicious God, in whose hand a young deer is dancing, has spread his hands in all ten quarters. The great destroyer has moon, fire and sun as his eyes.

    anantanavaratnavilasatkaTakakiN^kiNijhalaM jhalajhalaM jhalaravaM
    mukundavidhi hastagatamaddala layadhvanidhimiddhimita nartana padam.h |
    shakuntaratha barhiratha nandimukha shR^iN^giriTibhR^iN^gigaNasaN^ghanikaTam.h
    sanandasanaka pramukha vandita padaM parachidambara naTaM hR^idi bhaja || 4||

    Heartily resort to the great dancer, Shiva residing in the holy place, Chidambaram. The tiny bells attached to his bracelets which are shining with innumerable gems of nine kinds are making a sweet jingling sound. The dancing movements of his feet are accompanied by the drum in the hands of Mukunda (vishnu) and vidhi (brahma). He is closely surrounded by Vishnu, riding a chariot to which a bird (Garuda) is yoked, by kartikeya, riding a charior to which a peacock is yoked, by a troupe of Gana-s consisting of Srngi, Riti, Bhrngi etc headed by Nandi. Prominent sages like Sananda and Sanaka are saluting his feet.

    anantamahasaM tridashavandya charaNaM muni hR^idantara vasantamamalam.h
    kabandha viyadindvavani gandhavaha vahnimakha bandhuravimaJNju vapushham.h |
    anantavibhavaM trijagantara maNiM trinayanaM tripura khaNDana param.h
    sananda muni vandita padaM sakaruNaM para chidambara naTaM hR^idi bhaja || 5||

    Heartily resort to the great dancer, Lord Shiva, residing in the holy place called Chidambaram. His lustre is beginningless and endless. His feet are revered by the gods. The pure one who is free from all blemishes resides in the interior of sages hearts. He wields a lovely body made up of the following components - water, sky, moon, earth, wind, fire, sacrificer (atman) and Sun. His riches are infinite; he is the jewel of the three worlds having three eyes, he is incline to smash the three cities of Tripura. The god who takes pity (on the distressed) is saluted by Sage Sananda.

    achintyamalivR^inda ruchi bandhuragalaM kurita kunda nikuramba dhavalam.h
    mukunda sura vR^inda bala hantR^i kR^ita vandana lasantamahikuNDala dharam.h |
    akampamanukampita ratiM sujana maN^galanidhiM gajaharaM pashupatim.h
    dhanaJNjaya nutaM praNata raJNjanaparaM para chidambara naTaM hR^idi bhaja || 6||

    Heartily resort to the great dancer, Shiva, residing in the holy place, Chidambaram. He is not capable of being understood by the faculty of thinking. His dark colored throat is attractive with its resemblance to the colour of a multitude of bees. His complexion is white like a bunch of blooming Kunda flowers. He wears a glittering appearance when saluted by Vishnu, gods, and Indra, the killer of balasyre. His ear ornament consists of serpent. He is free from fear and hence unmoved. However, he took pity on Rati. He is a reservoir of all auspicious things for good persons. The destroyer of Gajasure is the Lord of creatures, praised by Arjuna. He is inclined to be delightful to persons who bow down to Him.

    paraM suravaraM puraharaM pashupatiM janita dantimukha shhaNmukhamamuM
    mR^iDaM kanaka piN^gala jaTaM sanakapaN^kaja raviM sumanasaM himaruchim.h |
    asaN^ghamanasaM jaladhi janmakaralaM kavalayanta matulaM guNanidhim.h
    sananda varadaM shamitamindu vadanaM para chidambara naTaM hR^idi bhaja || 7||

    Heartily resort to the great dancer Shiva residing in the holy place Chidambaram. He is the best among gods, destroyer of the three cities for the benefit of the world. That Lord of creatures has given birth to elephant-headed Ganesha for warding off obstacles and to six-faced Kartikeya for leading divine army. The benevolent god has hair that is brownish like gold. He is like Sun who causes the blooming of the lotus in the form of sage Sanaka. Having a mind kind to all, he weilds the lustre of snow. His mind is not attached to anything, even to Parvati. He has swallowed poison arising out of ocean in order to save the world from its adverse effects. He is a store-house of quailities, not comparable to anyone else. He has given boons to sage, Sananda. Having a face which is delightful like the moon, he has attained the blissful state.

    ajaM kshitirathaM bhujagapuN^gavaguNaM kanaka shR^iN^gi dhanushhaM karalasat.h
    kuraN^ga pR^ithu TaN^ka parashuM ruchira kuN^kuma ruchiM DamarukaM cha dadhatamaM |
    mukunda vishikhaM namadavandhya phaladaM nigama vR^inda turagaM nirupamaM
    sachaNDikamamuM jhaTiti saMhR^itapuraM parachidambara naTaM hR^idi bhaja || 8||

    Heartily resort to the great dancer, Lord Shiva, who resides in the holy place, Chidambaram, and He is without birth. The earth itself is his chariot. The great serpent, Vasuki is his bowstring. The golden peaked Meru is His bow. In His hands shines a deer, a big sword and an axe. He weilds a damaru (drum) which has the color of lovely kumkuma. Mukunda himself is his arrow. He effectively grants the desire to those who salute him. The multitude of Vedic texts are his horses (or mind). The incomparable God accompanied by Chandika has quickly destroyed the cities of demon tripura.

    anaN^gaparipanthinamajaM kshiti dhurandharamalaM karuNayantamakhilaM
    jvalantamanalaM dadhatamantakaripuM satatamindramukhavanditapadam.h |
    udaJNchadaravindakula bandhushata bimbaruchi saMhati sugandhi vapushhaM
    pataJNjalinutaM praNavapaJNchara shukaMpara chidambara naTaM hR^idi bhaja || 9||

    Heartily resort to the great dancer, Lord Shiva, who resides in the holy place, Chidambaram. Birthless, he is an enemy of Cupid. He bears the burden of the earth, He is intensely compassionate to all. The killer of demon Andhaka is capable of holding buring fire. Gods headed by Indra are constantly falling at His feet. He is having a body which has got the lustre of a group of hundred rising suns and is fragrant. He is praised by Patanjali and is like a parrot in the cage of the syllable Omkara.

    iti stavamamuM bhujagapuN^gava kR^itaM pratidinaM paThati yaH kR^itamukhaH
    sadaH prabhupada dvitayadarshanapadaM sulalitaM charaNa shR^iN^ga rahitam.h |
    saraHprabhava sambhava haritpati haripramukha divyanuta shaN^karapadaM
    sa gachchhati paraM na tu janurjalanidhiM paramaduHkhajanakaM duritadam.h || 10||

    Here ends the praise song composed by Patanjali who is an incarnation of the great serpent Shesha. One who learns it by heart and recites it will find a seat in the assembly of Gods. The praise song is charming. The words in it lead to the perception of the the Lord's pair of feet. It flows on, being beginningless and endless (composed of the meter charaNashri.ngarahita). It contains the description of Shankara praised by the divine beings headed by Brahmadeva, Lords of the Quarters and Vishnu. One who recites this hymn,quickly reaches the highest goal and does not steep into the ocean of worldly existence which causes great sorrow and sinfulness.

    || iti shriipataJNjalimunipraNiitaM charaNashR^iN^garahita naTaraajastotraM saMpUrNam.h ||

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