When I was small we used to go to my Periamma's house in Tanjore and that is
where I saw Lord nataraja for the first time. My brother was a great devotee and had nataraja photos all over the house. I also learnt that all artists performing dances like Bharatanatyam always rever Lord Nataraja first before starting a performance. I was thrilled to do this when I learnt dance from maestro Chokkalingam pillai. This form of Shiva is worshipped on Thiruvadari. I share with you all what I know.
Thiruvadari-Arudra Darshanam -January 10th
Thiruvaadhirai is one of the famous vradhas celebrated. This is the thiruvaadhirai nakshaththram in the month of Maarkazi (Maargasira). Thiruvaadhirai is considered as the nakshaththram of Lord Nataraja(Shiva's Cosmic Dance form) and is observed in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December – January). It is essentially a Shaivite festival and celebrates the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, which is represented by the Nataraja form. Arudhra signifies the golden red flame and Shiva performs in the form this red-flamed light.
The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva represents five activities – Creation, Protection, Destruction, Embodiment and Release. In essence, it represents the continuous cycle of creation and destruction. This cosmic dance takes place in every particle and is the source of all energy. Arudra Darshan celebrates this ecstatic dance of Lord Shiva.
It takes place on the full moon night in the month of Margazhi and this is also the longest night in a year. The festival is mainly observed in the Tamil speaking world.
The most important Arudhra Darshan festival takes place at the Chidambaram Shiva Temple in Tamil Nadu. The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva is enacted on the day. Most of the temples around the world with Lord Nataraja as deity perform the Arudhra Darshan
The Story:Once when Mahaa Vishnu was lying down on the great serpent Adhi seesha, Adhi seesha felt Mahaa Vishnu was quite heavy that time. He asked Mahaa Vishnu what was the reason. Mahaa Vishnu said that he was remembering and enjoying the Dance of Lord Shiva. The answer developed the desire in Adhi seesha to see the Great Dance of Lord Shiva. He asked Mahaa Vishnu how his desire could be fulfilled. Mahaa Vishnu asked him to go to Chithamparam and do "tapas". Adhi seesha came to Chithamparam and prayed the Lord for a long time.There was another muni and devotee of Lord Shiva in that place, called viyaagra paadha. He prayed to God to get the legs of tiger, so that he can pluck flowers early in the morning to offer to the God, before any bee touches the flower. He was also praying God to see His Great Dance for a long time.Pleased with their prayer the God appeared on the Thiruvaadhirai day and danced in Chithamparam. The Nataraaja image of the Lord is prayed with great devotion this day. In Chithamparam and other temples it is celebrated as Arudraa dharshanam. In this festival abhisheeka (holy anointing) of Lord Nataraaja takes place early in the morning and then He comes around the town. A sweet called kaLi and multi vegetable thALakam are offered and eaten to celebrate this great joy of seeing the dance of the Lord.
Way of observing:In the morning of thiruvAdhirai one gets up early in the morning and salutes the Dancing Lord. After bathing goes to the abode of Lord shiva and there worshiping the Lord by abhishekam and offerings, lights up the ghee lamps to illuminate the abode. Fasting for the whole day, the next day saluting the Three-eyed Lord serving food for the devotees one has the food.
Kali-IngredientsRaw rice – 1 measureMung Dal – 1/4th measureJaggery - 1 to 1 ½ measureGrated Coconut – 1/8th measureKaju – few piecesKismis – two tablespoonElaichiGhee – ¼ th measureWaterProcedureRaw rice is washed nicely and dried in a shadow on a tray. This is to be roasted till light brownMung dal is to be roasted (not to wet it).Powder the above two items to fine rawa size.Mix little ghee to this fine rawa mixture to avoid lump formation when it is added to boiling waterTake a thick kadai, take 3 measures of water and boil it. Add the rawa mixture and keep stirring till it is cooked well.Take equal quantity of jaggery and water and boil it together and strain it to remove unwanted stuff and then reheat it to a thick consistency.Add this to the cooked rawa mixture and mix it well.Fry kismis,kaju, in ghee and add elaichi powder to it.Add the remaining ghee to the ‘Thiruvadirai Kali’and yes it is ready .
Vegetables in odd numbers are taken. Minimum 7 or more.(Broad beans, Mochai(Vaal),Red pumpkin,White pumpkin, Arbi-Cheppankizhangu,Yam-chenai,clusterbeans – kothhavarangai)Tamarind – Orange size,Tuvar Dal-1/2 a cupGrated coconut – half coconut.Dhaniya -3 tablespoonBengal gram – 1 table spoonUdid Dal-1 tablespoonTil – 1 tablespoonDried red Chillies – 4-5,Hing powder Roast above and powder it.Boil the dal in pressure cooker.Cook the vegetables in water and when half cooked, add tamarind pulp add powdered masala and salt.Boil it well then add dal and grated and ground coconut and season it with mustard, fenugreek powder, green dhaniya, curry leaves and green chillies. I add a bit of Gud too.