An Interpretation by Swami Muni Nrayana Prasad

CIDAMBARASTAKAM
(Eight Verses on Cidambaram or Consciousness-space)

Linga is the phallus symbol, the form Siva is traditionally worshipped in. It literally means any ‘mark’ or ‘sign’.
         Cidambaram is the name of the town in the state of Tamilnadu in India. The only temple where Siva is worshipped as the chief deity in a human form, as Nataraj (The king of Dance).
         ‘Cidambaram’ literally means ‘Consciousness-space’ or ‘mental space’. Consciousness in essence, Siva constantly dances on the stage or space that is himself. This dance appears as the ever-changing world.
           Cidambara linga means “The symbolic sign worshipped at cidambaram” or “The symbolic sign conceived in the mental space”.
            Similar in all respects to the lingashtakam of sankara, this work in Sanskrit in the Dodhakam metre.
            Guru, once, at the request of his disciple Sivalinga swami made a visit to cidambara temple. The piece was dictated to the disciple just after the visit. The date could be between 1887 and’97.

                         1
The linga adored even by Brahma and other gods,
The linga that puts an end to birth, old-age and death.
The linga that brings in happiness and rids us of all karmas
May that Cidambara-linga benignly protect us!
                         
                        2
The linga well-installed at the bottom of the Kalpaka1 tree;
The linga that stands firm in the battle to destroy Eros;
The linga that puts an end to the entire host of the evil-natured-
May that Cidambara-linga benignly protect us!

                         3
The linga constantly meditated on by both Skanda2 and
Ganesvara:
The linga always sung in praise of by Kinnars3 and caranas:
The linga well-beautiful by snakes-
May that Cidambara-linga benignly protect us!

                         4
The linga that manifests as Samba, Sadasiva and Sankara4
The charming linga that gives all desirable boons
The benevolent linga that is incomparable-
May that Cidambara-linga benignly protect us!

                          5

The linga that becomes the fire to burn up
The filthy forest of the (Age of Kali):
The linga that has water-waves for ornaments:
The linga that lends brightness to the evening sun-
May that Cidambara-linga benignly protect us!

                           6
The linga that shines visibly with eight manifest forms;
The ever-growing linga of the lord of the Worlds;
The linga that habitually protects the virtuous-
May that Cidambara-linga benignly protect us!

                            7

The linga that, while killing the god of death, appears lovably
Pleasing;
The linga that splinters the body of Eros in to pieces;
The linga that exists as liveliness in living beings-
May that Cidambara-linga benignly protect us!

                            8
Those of matured understanding,
Perceiving thus this Cidambara linga,
Contemplatively ponder on these eight verses
Ineffable and unimaginable,
And they attain the Eight-bodied one (Siva)!

Notes

1. Kalpaka is the mythological wish-fulfilling tree in the garden of Indra, the chief of gods, the inhabitants of heaven.
2. Skanda and Ganesvara are the other names of subrahmanya and ganpati, the two sons of Siva and Parvati.
3. Kinnaras and caranas are mythological beings inhabiting heaven. They are celestial singers. The former have a human figure and a horse’s head.
4. Samba, Sadasiva and Sankara are three different forms in which Siva is conceived. Samba means ‘always united with the mother or Devi’, sadasiva means ‘always auspicious’; Ankara means’ the one who brings in calmness’.