Author Topic: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012  (Read 4413 times)


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Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« on: December 28, 2012, 09:24:52 AM »
Today is the Ardra Darsanam, which is the major festival in Chidambaram. In the early morning of today, Nataraja, Sivakama
Sundari and Manikkavachagar idols are taken out from the Kanaka Sabha (Hall of Consciousness) and placed in the thousand
pillared mantapam and Nataraja is adorned as a King, Raja Alankaram. Yesterday was the Rata Yatra of the three along with
Sri Vinayakar,  Sri Subrahmanya and Chandikeswara around the four big streets of Chidambaram. Earlier for seven days, there
would have been different alankarams with different Vahanams (vehicles) like Bhoota, Vrishabha (the bull) and elephant and horse.

Tomorrow the 11th day, there will be Pearl chariot.

My father was working in Chidambaram for a year and we had seen these along with my mother. Afterwards I and my wife
could go only a few times to Chidambaram.

This festival is the only occasion when Nataraja comes out of the Hall of Consciousness, Kanaka Sabha.  On all other five occasions,
in different months, there will be oblations and adornment for Nataraja only in the Kanaka Sabha.

Chidambaram is called Koil (The Temple) by all Saivite saints. All the four major saints have sung about  this temple and Nataraja.
For Sri Vaishnavites, Srirangam is called Koil. All Azhwars have sung about Sri Rangam Ranganatha.

In Tamizh homes, this is celebrated with kaLi (a preparation with graunulated rice and jaggery) as naivedyam in the early morning.

I purchased about twenty years back, a Nataraja (pancha loka) statue from Tamizh Nadu handicrafts. I always pray to Him
everyday and this has been kept in my home altar.

People keep Nataraja as a curio item in drawing rooms. Somehow I do not like this idea.


Arunachala Siva.               


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Re: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 09:32:57 AM »
Dear Sri Subramanian sir, Very interesting to read about great festival. I always wanted to visit the Temple,because,i liked that aspect of Shiva,Cosmic Dancer. With love and prayers,


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Re: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 11:42:28 AM »
Chidambaram is called Koil (The Temple) by all Saivite saints. All the four major saints have sung about  this temple and Nataraja.
For Sri Vaishnavites, Srirangam is called Koil. All Azhwars have sung about Sri Rangam Ranganatha.
The only notable exception to this seems to be Bhagwan Ramana as he identified only with Arunachala .
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha


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Re: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 12:43:11 PM »
Dear atmavichar100,

Sri Bhagavan has mentioned this in Navamani Maalai Verse 1. She is achalai = non moving. But Siva is dancing = moving,
in Chidambaram. However this achalai = (Sakti) Sivakama Valli merges with Siva who is also now Achalam Tiruvannamalai.
Achalai merges with Achalam. This is Tiruvannamalai tattvam. People who always in duality should attain non dual.
Unless one understands Chidambaram, he cannot come to Arunachala.

Arunachala Siva.   


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Re: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 03:45:26 PM »
Ardra Darsan (Ardra is said to be the star of Nataraja) falls in Margazhi (Dhanur month) on the Ardra asterism day. After
giving darsan to devotees in thousand pillared mantapam today, Nataraja and Sivakamavali and others go for street processions.
This happens in all Siva temples. On one such Ardra Darsan day, in Tiruchuzhi,  next early morning, when Nataraja and others were returning to the Temple after night long street procession, Sri Bhagavan was born in the every early next  morning at 2.30 am. The star by that time as Punarvasu. This is the asterism of birth for Sri Bhagavan in Tiruchuzhi.

Thus Sri Bhagavan's birthday and Ardra festival come on days one after another. Sometimes, these two come on the same day.
In 2010, it was on the same day. We went to Asramam at 4 a,m., in Tiruvannamlai Asramam,.to see the abhishekam of Nataraja (that is in Mother's Temple) in the early morning and then attended the Jayanti celebrations in Samadhi Hall.           

This was on 01.01.2010. On that day only Smt. T.R. Kanakammal came to the Samadhi Hall, prostrated and then discarded her
mortal coil and merged with Sri Bhagavan. It was in the presence of hundreds of devotees.

Arunachala Siva.


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Re: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 04:08:37 PM »
Sir, Chidambaram is the place which gives us the medival tamizh village flavor. Traditional families always dress in the traditional way, even today we get to see that rich culture.

Tirumoolar sang:

மானுடராக்கை வடிவு சிவலிங்கம்
மானுடராக்கை வடிவு சிதம்பரம்
மானுடராக்கை வடிவு சதாசிவம்
மானுடராக்கை வடிவு திருக்கூத்தே

mAnudarAkkai vadivu sivalingam
mAnudarAkkai vadivu chidambaram
mAnudarAkkai vadivu sadAsivam
mAnudarAkkai vadivu thirukkoothe

Sivalingam is of the form of the human body;
So is Chidambaram ; So is Sadasivam ;
And so is his divine dance


Lord Shiva dances here in Chidambaram. Before we speak of the Dance , we will explore the stage that is Chidambaram.

A temple is called ‘Kovil’ in Tamil. It literally means( Ko- il) the abode of the Lord. Whenever the mere name ‘kovil’ is mentioned, it specially means Chidambaram which is split as Chit( gnana or wisdom) + Ambaram ( akasa or space) .

Structure of a typical Siva Temple

A classical Siva temple as per Agama rules will have five prakaras or circuits each separated by walls one within the other. The outer prakaras will be open to the sky except the innermost one. The innermost one will house the main deity as well as other deities. There will be a massive wooden or stone flag post exactly in line with the main deity.

The innermost prakara houses the sanctum sanctorum ( karuvarai in Tamil). In it sits Shiva, the supreme Lord.

Symbolism behind the structure of a Shiva Temple

1. The temple is so constructed as to resemble the human body with all its subtleties.

2. The five walls encircling one another are the kosas ( sheaths) of human existence .

    a. The outermost is the Annamaya kosa , symbolizing the material body.
    b. The second is Pranamaya kosa , symbolizing the sheath of vital force or prana.
    c. The third is Manomaya kosa, symbolizing the sheath of the thoughts, the mana
    d. The fouth is the Vignyana maya kosa, symbolizing, the sheath of the intellect
    e. The fifth and innermost is the Ananda maya kosa, symbolizing the sheath of Bliss.

3. The sanctum which is in the prakara symbolizing the Ananda Maya Kosa sheath ,
    houses the lord, seated as the Jiva within us. It is to be noted that the sanctum is an
    unlit space, just as if within the heart closed on all sides.

4. The entry Gopuras are likened to the feet, as resembling a person who is lying on the
    back with the toe up.

5. The flag post depicts the sushumna nadi which raises from the Mooladhar (base of the
    spine ) to the sahasrar ( vertex in the head).

6. Some temples will have three prakarams. There they represent the stoola, sukshma
    and karana sareeras (bodies) of a human being Some temples have only one and they
    represent all the five.

  • The temple has the above five prakaras resembling the sheaths.
  • Nataraja gives dharshan from the sanctum called Chit Sabha with a golden roof.
  • The roof has 26,000 golden tiles (see picture), denoting the number of breaths of a person in a day.
  • These tiles are fixed to the wooden roof with the help of 72,000 nails depicting the number of nadis (the invisible ducts carrying     energy to various parts of the body)
  • As the heart is to the left of the body, the sanctum in Chidambaram is also aligned slightly leftward.
  • On top of the Chit sabha roof, we find nine kalasas (made of copper) depicting the nine shaktis (powers)
  • The roof has 64 cross wooden reapers denoting the 64 arts.
  • The artha mandapa has six pillars denoting the six shastras
  • The mantapa next to the artha mantapa has eighteen pillars symbolizing the eighteen puranas.
  • There are five steps leading to the Chit sabha from the Kanaka sabha depicting the five lettered Panchakshara mantra (Na ma chi vA ya)
  • The Chit sabha roof is supported by four pillars symbolic of the four Vedas.

Symbolism of Nataraja Swamy

1. Nataraja’s dance is said to indicate the five divine acts which are

    a. Creation . Nataraja dances with a small drum called damarukam in one of his
        right hands. Easwra is nada brahmam. He is the origin of all sounds (nadam).This is
        the seed (vindu) from which the tree of the Universe emanated.

    b. Protection (Operation)- In another of the right hands, he shows the ‘Abhaya
        Mudra’, meaning he is the kind protector .

    c. Destruction; He has fire in one of his left hands , symbolizing destruction.
        When everything is destroyed by fire, only the ash will remain which the Lord has
        smeared on his body.

    d. The foot which is planted shows the act of hiding

    e. The raised foot shows the act of bestowing

2. Nataraja swamy has the Vigraha ( icon) of Devi Sivakama Sundari to his left . This symbolizes Ardhanareeswara , ‘ the Lord who has 
    the female as his left half’. To his right there is a screen. When the deeparadhana – showing lamps takes place to the swamy and to     
    the left side , the screen is removed and we see five vertical long hangings of golden vilva leaves. We see nothing behind it. Sivakami
    shows the Saguna Brahman (the God with a form) that is Nataraja . The Saguna Brahman leads us to the Nirguna Brahman (the God
    without form or the God who has formlessness as his form). This is told as ‘Chidambara Rahasyam’ by the Dikshitars , who are the
    traditional pujaris in the temple.

3. Shiva’s dance is called the cosmic dance by many scholars. In Chidambaram, this dance is called ‘Ananda Tandava’

4. Lord Maha Vishnu also saw the Divine dance. In a nearby mantapa called Chitrakoota, Maha Vishnu, gives us dharshan in his fully   
    reclining Yoga Nidra pose on the snake bed. If one stands on a small lotus sculpted on the floor slab in front of Narayana, one can at   
    the same time see Nataraja in his right side.

5. Sages Patanjali and Thirumoolar also saw Nataraja’s dance in Chidambaram. Their figures are embossed on the Silver doors of the
    Chit Sabha.


॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta


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Re: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 04:20:57 PM »
Dear Nagaraj,

Wonderful further information about Chidambaram Nataraja. The golden roof was done by one Chozha King (Kulottungan II?)
who is called Pon Veintha Chozhan, the Chozha who had placed roof in gold for the temple.

Earlier Govindaraja Perumal and Nataraja and Sivakama Sundari were all in Kanaka Sabha. This Kulotthungan took a vow
and fasted for 48 days and after fasting removed the Govindraja Perumal (in sleeping pose, a long stone structure), single
handedly and placed it in front of Nataraja's Kanaka Sabha, to the left, in a separate sanctum. This is called Tiru Chitra Koodam
one of the 108 temples of Sri Vaishnavites. Many Azhwars have sung about Tiru Chitrakoodam, Govindaraja Perumal.

There are three steps on the left side as you climb the Kanaka Sabha. These steps are called Tiruk KaLiRRu padiyAr. Here is where
Tiruvachakam as told by Manikkavachagar was written down by the brahmin (Siva) and kept on. (these steps).

There is a beautiful book by Ananda Kumara Swami on Nataraja Temple. There is a poem collection called Kunchtanghri Stavam
by Umapati Sivam in Sanskrit about the raised foot of Nataraja, which is called Kunchidapadam.  I had written about these verses
in David's blog.

Arunachala Siva.   


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Re: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 05:11:20 PM »
Kunjitanghri stavam - Umapati Sivam:

Keeping Agni on the left upper hand and damaru (hand-drum) on the right upper hand, keeping the left lower hand as a abhaya
mudra, and keeping right  handed extended like a trunk of an elephant (Gaja Hastam) as vara mudra and showing the raised
left foot as the Source or Moksha, I pray to that form and the left raised foot, which cannot be fathomed even by Upanishads.

(Verse 64.)     

Arunachala Siva.


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Re: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 05:24:27 PM »
This is a group of ten songs called Nataraja Pathu, by one Muniswami Mudaliar of Chidambaram. This must have been
composed in early 19th century. I am giving one song.

மானாட மழுவாட மதியாட புனலாட மங்கை
மாலாட நூலாட மறையாட திறையாட
மறைதந்த பிரம்மனாட,
கோனாட வானுலகு கூட்டமெல்லாமாட,
குஞ்சர முகத்தனாட,
குண்டலமிரண்டாட தண்டைபுலியுடையாட
குழந்தை முருகேசனாட,
ஞானசம்பந்தரொடு யிந்திராதி பதினெட்டு
முனியட்ட பாலகருமாட,
நரை தும்பை யறுகாட நந்திவாகனமாட
நாட்டியப் பெண்களாட,
வினையோட உனைப்பாட யெனைநாடியிதுவேளை
விருதோடு ஆடிவருவாய்
ஈசனே சிவகாமி நேசனே யெனையீன்ற
தில்லைவாழ் நடராசனே. 2
This is the great dance of Nataraja. The deer on the hand is dancing. The axe is dancing. The moon on the forehead is dancing.
Ganga is dancing.  Sivakami is dancing. Vishnu with his drum (mathalam) is dancing!  The sacred thread is dancing!  The Vedas
are dancing! The waves from Ganga are dancing!  The Brahma who gave Vedas is dancing! All devas are dancing! The elephant faced
Vinayaka is dancing! The ear lobes are dancing!  The tiger's skin is also dancing in the waist. The young boy Muruga is dancing!
Jnana Sambandha is dancing!  Indra and 18 Rishis are dancing! The Ashta bhalakas are dancing!  The white arugam grass is dancing
from in head.  Nandi the Bull is also dancing! All girls of heavens are dancing! When I sing your glory, my karmas will run away.
Please come to me dancing! O Lord, lover of Sivakami, who gave me birth, O Nataraja, the god of Thillai!


Arunachala Siva.       


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Re: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2012, 05:45:27 PM »
We have seen Nataraja dancing by Nataraja, let us see Muruga dancing with all others from Tiruppugazh:

 அதல சேட னாராட அகில மேரு மீதாட
     அபின காளி தானாட ...... அவளோடன்

றதிர வீசி வாதாடும் விடையி லேறு வாராட
     அருகு பூத வேதாள ...... மவையாட

மதுர வாணி தானாட மலரில் வேத னாராட
     மருவு வானு ளோராட ...... மதியாட

வனச மாமி யாராட நெடிய மாம னாராட
     மயிலு மாடி நீயாடி ...... வரவேணும்

கதைவி டாத தோள்வீம னெதிர்கொள் வாளி யால்நீடு
     கருத லார்கள் மாசேனை ...... பொடியாகக்

கதறு காலி போய்மீள விஜய னேறு தேர்மீது
     கனக வேத கோடூதி ...... அலைமோதும்

உததி மீதி லேசாயு முலக மூடு சீர்பாத
     உவண மூர்தி மாமாயன் ...... மருகோனே

உதய தாம மார்பான ப்ரபுட தேவ மாராஜ
     னுளமு மாட வாழ்தேவர் ...... பெருமாளே.

......... சொல் விளக்கம் .........

அதல சேடனார் ... (பூமிக்கு கீழேயுள்ள) அதலத்தில் இருக்கும் ஆதிஸேஷன்

ஆட ... நடனம் ஆடவும்,

அகில மேரு மீதாட ... பூமி மீதுள்ள மேருமலை அசைந்தாடவும்,

அபின (அபின்ன) ... மாறுபாடு இன்றி (சிவதாண்டவத்துக்கு) ஒற்றுமையாக

காளி தானாட ... காளி தான் ஆடவும்,

அவளோ (டு) அன்(று) அதிர ... அக்காளியோடு அன்று அவள் அதிர்ந்து நடுங்கும்படி

வீசி வாதாடும் ... (காலை ஊர்த்துவகோலத்தில்) வீசி போட்டியிட்டவரும்

விடையில் ஏறுவார் ஆட ... ரிஷபத்தில் ஏறுவாரும் ஆகிய சிவனும் ஆடவும்,

அருகு பூத வேதாளம் அவையாட ... அருகில் பூதங்களும் பேய்களும் ஆடவும்,

மதுர வாணி தானாட ... இனிமை மிக்க ஸரஸ்வதியும் ஆடவும்,

மலரில் வேதனார் ஆட ... தாமரை மலரில் அமரும் பிரமனும் ஆடவும்,

மருவு வானு ளோராட ... அருகில் பொருந்திய தேவர்கள் எல்லாம் ஆடவும்,

மதியாட ... சந்திரன் ஆடவும்,

வனஜ மாமி யாராட ... தாமரையாள் நின் மாமியார் லக்ஷ்மியும் ஆடவும்,

நெடிய மாம னாராட ... விஸ்வரூபம் எடுத்த நின் மாமனார் விஷ்ணுவும் ஆடவும்,

மயிலும் ஆடி ... நீ ஏறிவரும் மயிலும் ஆடி,

நீ ஆடி வரவேணும் ... நீ நடனம் ஆடி என்முன்னே வரவேண்டும்*

கதை விடாத தோள் வீமன் ... கதாயுதத்தை தன் தோளினின்று அகற்றாத வீமன்

எதிர்கொள் வாளியால் ... எதிர்த்துச் செலுத்திய அம்பு மழையில்

நீடு கருதுலார்கள் ... பெரும் பகைவர்களின் (கெளரவர்கள்)

மாசேனை பொடியாக ... பெரிய சேனை பொடிபட (உதவியவரும்),

கதறு காலி போய்மீள ... கதறிச் சென்ற பசுக்கள் மீண்டுவரக் (குழலை ஊதியவரும்),

விஜயன் ஏறு தேர்மீது ... அர்ச்சுனன் ஏறிய தேரின் பாகனாயிருந்து,

கனக வேத கோடூதி ... தங்க மயமானதும், வேத ஒலியைத் தரும்சங்கை ஊதியவரும்,

அலைமோதும் உததி மீதிலே ... அலை வீசும் பாற்கடல் மீதிலே

சாயும் ... (பாம்பணையில்) பள்ளி கொண்டவரும்,

உலக மூடு சீர்பாத ... (வாமனாவதாரத்தில்) உலகத்தை அளந்து மூடிய பாதத்தாரும்,

உவணம் ஊர்தி ... கருடனை வாகனமாகக் கொண்டவரும்,

மாமாயன் மருகோனே ... ஆன மாமாயன் திருமாலின் மருமகனே

உதய தாம மார்பான ... அன்றலர்ந்த மலர் மாலையை அணிமார்பனாகிய

ப்ரபுடதேவ மாராஜ ... (திருவண்ணாமலையை ஆண்ட) ப்ரபுட தேவ மஹாராஜனின்

உளமும் ஆட ... உள்ளமும் மகிழ்ச்சியில் ஆடும் வண்ணம்

வாழ் தேவர் பெருமாளே. ... அவனது நெஞ்சிலே வாழும் தேவர் பெருமாளே.

* இப்பாடல் அருணகிரியார் வாழ்வில் மகத்தானது. சம்பந்தாண்டான் என்பவனோடு வாது செய்தபோது முருகனை திருவண்ணாமலை அரசன் ப்ரபுட தேவராஜனின் சபையில் வரவழைக்கப் பாடிய பாட்டு இது. இந்த வரியைப் பாடும்போது, முருகன் வேலும் மயிலும் விளங்க நடனக் கோலத்திலேயே சபையில் தோன்றி தரிசனம் தந்தான்.

Let us also see the English version also with meaning:

Arunachala Siva. 


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Re: Ardra Darsanam - 28.12.2012
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2012, 05:48:35 PM »
The same Tirupugzh song in English version and meaning:
Song 1053 - adhala sEdanArAda (common)

adhala sEda nArAda akila mEru meedhAda
     abina kALi thAnAda ...... avaLOd andru

adhira veesi vAdhAdum vidaiyil Eru vAr Ada
     arugu bUtha vEthALam ...... avaiyAda

madhura vANi thAnAda malaril vEdha nAr Ada
     maruvu vAnu LOrAda ...... madhiyAda

vanaja mAmi yArAda nediya mAma nArAda
     mayilum Adi nee Adi ...... varavENum

gadhai vidAdha thOL veeman edhirkoL vALi yAlneedu
     karudha lArgaL mAsEnai ...... podiyAga

kadhaRu kAli pOymeeLa vijayan Eru thErmeedhu
     kanaka vEdha kOdUdhi ...... alaimOdhum

udhadhi meedhilE sAyum ulaga mUdu seerpAdha
     uvaNa mUrdhi mAmAyan ...... marugOnE

udhaya dhAma mArbAna prabuda dhEva mArAjan
     uLamum Ada vAzh dhEvar ...... perumALE.

......... Meaning .........

adhala sEda nArAda: As AdhisEshan (the 1000-headed Serpent) danced in the netherworld,

akila mEru meedhAda: Mount Meru (Sri KailAsh) on the earth also danced,

abina kALi thAnAda: in unison with SivA's Dance, Kali also danced,

avaLOd andru adhira: along with Her, making Her shiver,

veesi vAdhAdum: raising His leg up in competition,

vidaiyil Eru vAr Ada: SivA, who mounts on the Bull (Nandi), also danced,

arugu bUtha vEthALam avaiyAda: and nearby, the BUthaganas and ghosts also danced,

madhura vANi thAnAda: Saraswathi of sweet voice also danced,

malaril vEdha nAr Ada: BrahmA on the Lotus also joined in the dance,

maruvu vAnu LOrAda madhiyAda: all the Celestials and Moon also danced,

vanaja mAmi yArAda: Lakshmi on Lotus, Your mother-in-law, danced,

nediya mAma nArAda: Vishnu, the tall one (who assumed ViswarUpam) Your father-in-law,

mayilum Adi nee Adi: Your peacock should also dance and You too, dancing,

varavENum: should appear before me dancing!*

gadhai vidAdha thOL veeman: Bhima, who never parted with his mace (gadha), from his shoulder,

edhirkoL vALi yAl: shot a series of arrows (in MahAbhArathA War)

needu karudhalArgaL mAsEnai: at the large army of his mighty opponents and

podiyAga: decimated them (with the help of Krishna);

kadhaRu kAli pOymeeLa: herds of sobbing cows came rushing to (Brindhavanam) (hearing the magical flute of Krishna);

vijayan Eru thErmeedhu: as the charioteer on Vijayan (Arjuna)'s chariot,

kanaka vEdha kOdUdhi: the golden and vedic victory-conch shell was blown (by Krishna);

alaimOdhum udhadhi meedhilE sAyum: on the milky ocean with waves tossing about, He (Krishna) reclined on a serpent-bed;

ulaga mUdu seerpAdha: (in Vamana Avatharam) he measured the entire world with one foot (that foot-bearer, Krishna)

uvaNa mUrdhi mAmAyan: He, the Great Mystic, with Garuda for vehicle.

marugOnE: You are His favourite nephew!

udhaya dhAma mArbAna: Fresh garland adorning His chest,

prabuda dhEva mArAjan: is the great King Praputa DEvA (of ThiruvaNNAmalai);

uLamum Ada vAzh: Your presence made the King's heart dance with joy

dhEvar perumALE.: Oh the Greatest One of all Gods!


* This song by AruNagirinAthar has a unique significance. When challenged by SampanthAndAn in the Court of King Prapuda DhEvarAjan at ThiruvaNNAmalai, AruNagiri sang this song describing the dances of the entire universe and the Gods. At the utterance of this line, Lord Murugan appeared before him in the Court, in a dancing form, with dancing peacock and His Spear to the delight of the King and all those present.


Arunachala Siva.