Ananda Natam Aduvar Thillai

Happy Shivaratri everybody! As music lovers, our worship is music, our prayer is music and our blessing is music, is it not? And so here I am, offering a song of the Dancing Lord in worship and in prayer, praying that I shall evermore have the blessing of a heart fulfilled by music.


Cosmic Microwave Map, can you spot the S and H?

It might seem strange to you but I always associate Lord Shiva with Cosmology! You see, the image I have in my mind is of Him dancing, galaxies streaming around Him, the background sound of OM keeping sruthi like a tanpura, His ascetical beautiful face blissful, His matted hair flying, the snakes on His neck swaying, the drum in Hand beating the beat of the world, His movements ecstatic, His contemplation the existence of the universe, His pulse its rhythm. So yes, I think of Cosmology when I think of Him. Knowing that Shivaratri was coming up, I picked a lecture to see from the Oxford University podcasts. I only understood parts of it but there was something there which made me laugh! Check out what the speaker shows at the 22nd minute. The letters ‘S’ and ‘H’ show up in the microwave map (see above), a cosmological message from the time the Universe was created! I wonder when they are going to find the ‘I’, ‘V’, and ‘A’!!! Lord Shiva’s signature on his handiwork, don’t you think? 🙂

There was something else which sparked my interest. The model which I had read before said that the universe was expanding like a balloon, but that the rate of expansion reduces as time passes. I had imagined that it would then attain some kind of stability. Instead, I understand (and I may be well have misunderstood!) that the expansion is in fact accelerating, and that the model that emerges is that of a universe which will expand faster and faster until it collapses into itself to become what it was before the Big Bang. And then perhaps it would start a new cycle again? Is that the cycle of destruction and creation which we ascribe to Lord Shiva? I must read up a bit more on this subject….

To remember Lord Shiva’s dance today, I have chosen a lovely song composed by Neelakanta Sivan in the raga Purvikalyani. I listened to many a rendition but this week, I couldn’t get past the old timers.. So first up is K.V.Narayanaswamy with a gorgeous rendition below.

Alternative Link : Click here and select song 3 (Free membership of Sangeethapriya required)

For a slightly longer version with an alapanai, here are the Hyderabad Brothers. I do like their singing, I should listen to them more often!

Alternate Link : Click here and select song 10 (free membership of Sangeethapriya required)

Footnote (Lyrics and Translation) :

Composer : Neelakanta Sivan
Raga : Purvikalyani
Language : Tamil

ஆனந்த நடம் ஆடுவார் தில்லை
அம்பலம் தன்னில் அடி பணிபவர்க்(கு)-அபஜெயமில்லை (ஆனந்த)

தானந்தம் இல்லாத ரூபன்
தஜ்ஜம் தகஜம் தகதிமி
தளாங்கு தக  தத்திங்கிணதோம்
தளாங்கு தக  தத்திங்கிணதோம்
தக திமி(alt:திகு) தக தத்திங்கிணதோம் (ஆனந்த)

பாதி மதி ஜோதி பளீர் பளீர் என
பாதச் சிலம்பொலி  கலீர் கலீர் என
ஆதிக் கறை உண்ட நீலகண்டம் மின்ன

(மத்தியம காலம் )
ஹரபுர ஹரசிவ சங்கர
அருள் வர குருபர சுந்தர (alt: அருள் குருபர சிவ சுந்தர )
அண்டமும் பிண்டமும் ஆடிட
எண்திசையும் புகழ் பாடிட

Ananda naTam ADuvAr tillai
ambalam tannil aDi paNIbavark-apajayam illai (Ananda)

tAnantam* illAda rUpan
tajjam takajam takadimi
taLAngu taka tatingiNatOm
taLAngu taka tatingiNatOm
taka dimi (alt: diku) taka tatingiNatOm (Ananda)

pAdi madi jyOti paLIr paLIr ena
pAda silamboli galIr galIr ena
Adi kaRai uNDa nIlakaNTam minna

(madhyama kAlam)
harapura hara shiva shankara
aruL vara gurupara sundara (alt: aruL gurupara shiva sundara)
aNDamum piNDamum ADiDa
eNdisaiyum pugazh pADiDa

*Note : தானந்தம் is pronounced as tAnandam by most singers, however as it is derived from Sanskrit word अन्त meaning end, the correct pronunciation would be tAnatam in my humble opinion.


The Lord (implied) will dance (ADuvAr) his Dance of Ecstacy (Ananda naTam) in the (tannil) temple (ambalam, normally hall or court) in Chidambaram (tillai) where, for those who worship (paNibavarkku) at His feet (aDi), there is no defeat (apajayam).

With an infinite/endless (tAnantam illAda) form (rUpan), with a beat (implied by the solkattu or beat-words) like (ena) tajjam-takajam…tatingiNatOm (..the Lord will dance)

With light (jyOti) flashing brilliantly (paLIr paLIr ena) from the crescent moon (pAdi = half, madi = moon), the sound (oli) of ankle-bells (silambu) on his feet (pAda) ringing sharply (galIr galIr ena), His (implied) blue-hued (nIla) throat (kanTam) which swallowed (uNDa) the primeval/ancient (Adi) impurity (kaRai) glittering (minna) (reference: Shiva drinking poison from the churning of the ocean).

‘O Auspicious One (shankara)!! O Benign One (shiva)!! O Destroyer (hara)!! (Not sure what harapura indicates here…) O Beautiful One (sundara)! O Benevolent One (aruL vara)!  O Ultimate (vara) Preceptor (guru)!! Thus do (implied) all eight directions (eNdisaiyum) sing (pADiDa) His praise (pugazh) while the whole globe (piNDam) and universe (aNDam) dance (ADiDa).


Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Tamil, Hyderabad Brothers, K.V.Narayanaswamy, Neelakanta Sivan

12 responses to “Ananda Natam Aduvar Thillai

  1. Happy Shivarathiri to you too. The Shiva temples here thronged with crowds yesterday and the usual shops and trinket sellers were there too. It all looked very “festivalish” in typical Indian style.

    There’s a Shivarathiri series of concerts going on here in Bangalore, but they gave it a break yesterday on Shivarathiri day – all night Divyanama sangeerthanam instead, which of course I went nowhere near.

    Nice classic you have featured here. The Hyderabad brothers don’t seem to be performing together much any more. Last year in our annual festival it was only Seshachary. This year too, its just him. I think Raghavachari is sort of retiring.

    There was a nice touch in one of the earlier seasons when the duo were performing. When the organisers were presenting bouquets, they came to Seshachary first and he politely asked them to give it to Raghavachari first. Raghavachari accepted it, but then said “Agewise I am the elder, but music wise he is the master” !!

    • Hi Ramesh! That’s such a nice anecdote you recount! I always wonder about these brothers and sisters who sing together. There are always differences, aren’t they..a better voice here, a better musicality there, a stronger stage presence in still another..I notice these differences and wonder how it effects the dynamics.

      Aren’t you lucky, having access to so many live concerts! Enjoy!
      Cheers. Suja

  2. Padma Ramani

    Shiva the cosmic dancer .. your description of his dance in the cosmos is interesting . Beautiful krithi .. enjoyed KVN s rendition . Thanks Suja

  3. Srini

    Here is a version by MLV, equally captivating

  4. Ananda natam aduvar with its special jatis, is a concert-brightener. I refer you to the countless hours of youtube lecture by Prof. Susskind on cosmology. There is not one model but several about the eternal “fate” of the expanding, accelerating universe. I can testify that he is probably the best there is pedagogically. For all manner of lay audiences.

    • Thank you for the recommendation. I shall certainly browse his lectures and listen to the ones which spark my interest.
      I do like Purvikalyani and this song with its brisk movements is a pleasure to listen to!
      Cheers. Suja

  5. This composition has two additional charanams that are just as exquisite but no one sings them:

    vancakam illAda aDiyAr kuvikka vAnavar munivar Anavar tudikka cancala vizhi
    mAdumaiyAL madikkat-takkiTa tarikiTa tongiTa dhittimi dhimi taka tatingiNa takatOm
    takatOm takatOm taka dhimi taka tatingiNatOmen

    bhAgya muyalagan mIdoru kAl tAkkip bhaktar tozha maTra oTraikkAlum tUkki
    Akki aLippOrai mELakArar Akki ambara nAtha cidambara shambhu sadAshiva sundara
    Arai maNi shala shalavena aNi paNi khala khala vena

    Would be great if you could include them in your post for the sake of completeness.

    • Thank you for details of the extra charanams. Indeed, I will add them to the post as soon as I get a few minutes to do it. Your help is much appreciated.
      Cheers, Suja

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