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We have already seen the interesting post of the Tiger legged saint Vyagrapadhar. Today we are going to see his contemporary - The snake bodied saint - Patanjali. There are many versions and legends associated with this interesting person again liked to Chidambaram and the Dance of Shiva.
( Thanks to Mrs. Geetha Sambasivam for the excellent narration in tamil and Picasa contributor Ms. Komilla for the stunning pictures)

The dating of his time is difficult - some say its from time primordial. Legends associate him as an incarnation of Adhi Sesha, the mount of Vishnu with an interesting anecdote. Some say when Vishnu took the different incarnations, Adhi Sesha took to the earth as a Rishi- as he fell, he was found as though prostrating at the feet of a pious women and hence the name - Paadha - feet, anjali - oferring salutation. There is another interesting anecdoate - Once Vishnu was resting on Adhi sesha he was able to visualise the cosmic dance of Shiva in his dreams. As he smiled in his sleep, Adhi Sesha also realised the weight of the Lord increasing. When He asked the Lord for reasons for the same, Vishnu beautifully explained the delightful dance of Lord Shiva, hearing this Aadhi Sesha was filled with desire to personally witness the dance of Shiva, and hence Vishnu directed him to go to Chidambaram to wait to see the performance! I due course Adhi Seshan was born as the son of Rishi Athirki and Anusuya.

His contemporary is said to be Pusha Mitra ascertained to BC 3 rd C, so he is also dated to that period by some. Others ascertian him to be a contemporary of noted Siddhar Tirumoolar - one of the 18 Siddhars. Some others opine that Tirumoolar’s Tirumanthiram is the translation of the sanskrit work Maha Bhasyam of Patanjali. All these are theories and its very difficult to pass judgements on them. Lets see what Tirumoolar writes about him

Patanjali was born to Athiri maharishi and Anusuya. The Rishi had desired to have the three main gods of the Hindu trinity - and hence were born Thatatreyar, Durvasar and Patanjali. Also was born Arundathi who later married Vashistar. About 100 kms from Coimbatore is a place called tirumurthi hills, is ascertained as his birthplace ( in days of yore this area was referrred to as Southern Kailash). Athiri Rishi prayed to the Amanilingeshvaram shrine there and he counts Patanjali as one of the 18 Siddhars.

He also mentions that Patanjali along with his 7 friends learnt Yoga under the direct tutelage of Nandhi.

One of Siddhar, Bogar 7000 writes thus about Patanjali. In his quest for ultimate enlightenment through Yoga, he is led to the right part of Kundalini Yoga and asked to study the path set by Patanjali, Vyagrapadhar, sivayogi Munivar. There are many more references to patanjali in Bogar’s 7000.

The Patanajli who authored the dance scriptures and the one who authored Yoga scriptures along with the one who wrote the Maha Bhasyam - are they one and the same or different individuals. Is a questions that is difficult to answer.

It is said that since Patanjali’s very breath was toxic, he always tutored his pupils from behind a screen. However, one day, one of pupils had just left to answer natures call outside his class, when the rest got the best of human curiosity and lifted the veil - and were all destroyed. The only surviving pupil was the one who had gone out and he brought out the texts and since he missed part of the lecture there are missing infos!!

patanjali 3
patanjali thillai

Here is an interesting anecdote on him: The very first people who witnessed the cosmic dance of Shiva are Patanjali , vyagrapathar but nandhi always claimed that he was the foremost to witness the divine spectacle. He had watched it standing by the side and it got to his head. Similarly Vyagrapahar also felt a bit heady that the feet of the tiger that the Lord gave him to fetch the fresh blooms even before the sun rose, made him resemble the lord who wore the Tiger skin as his garment. Further the tiger legs also gave him swifter speed to match the dancing steps of the Lord. So both of had great pride in themselves and looked down at Patanjali.

Further during the special days of Pradhosham, the Lord danced within the two horns of Nandhi - Nandhi visualised this eternally and even heard the ringing of his ankle bells and rhythmically shook his head often to keep the beat. Oneday, Shiva decided to introduce a new form of dance and there was a huge audience gathered comprising of Devas, Patanjali, Vyagrapadhar - Nandhi was standing with his Drum.

Nandhi started talking to Patanjali and Vyagrapadhar on he witnessing the Lord cosmic dance in Chidambaram. Vyagrapadhar sang the praise of his tiger legs and how with their benefit he too could match the Lord, and hence he is the one who enjoyed the dance more. And since he was watching, the Lord too showed his entrordinary prowess in dance on that day ! Hearing this Nandhi laughed, dismissing Vyagrapadhar claims, he talked of the special dance of shiva during Pradhosa days, for he dances specially for him. so saying both of them look down at Patanjali - belittling him, for he has no horns or tiger legs. Patanjali felt really sad and for once tought that maybe since he had a snakes body and a human head he could not fully appreciate the dance of Shiva.

patanajali 2

Just at that time Shiva entered with tremendous fanfare, having known of the banter of Nandhi and Vyagrapadha, and wanting to teach them a lesson, he tells Patanjali - that he should set the rhythm and the song for his new dance. The specialty would be that there would be no horns or legs in the song ( pun - in tamil - the long vowels are written with additional marks - which are called horns and legs) - so Patanjali was filled with joy and gleefully composed a song without any long vowels. Thereby teaching both his learned friends a lesson in humility

We now see an interesting mural from Tanjore big temple corridor - The Lord of dance blissfully dancing away with Vyagrapadhar and Patanjali in rapt attention.

patanajali tanjore mural
vyagrapadhar and patanjai tanjore big temple
vyagrapadhar tanjore mural

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21 Comments so far

தமிழ்த்தேனீ
  1  

அதி அற்புதமான விளக்கங்கள்
அந்தப் பாடலைப் படித்துப் பார்த்தேன்
அடடா என்ன ஒரு நடன பதம்,
நடனமாடும் இறைவனின் பாதம் கண் முன்னே தெரிய வைக்கக் கூடிய பதம்
இந்தப் பதத்துக்கு இறைவன் ஆடிய நடனத்தை கண்டவர்கள் புண்ணியவான்கள்
அதைவிட அந்த நிகழ்ச்சியை வர்ணித்து எல்லோரையுமே அந்தக் காட்சியைக் காண வைத்த நீர் அதி புண்ணியவான்

அன்புடன்
தமிழ்த்தேனீ

January 21st, 2009 at 15:32
  2  

மிக அருமையான கட்டுரை வடிவத்தில் கொண்டு வந்தமைக்கும், ஒருங்கிணைப்புக்கும், அதைக் கூறும் அழகான சித்திரங்களின் படங்களுக்கும் ஆத்மார்த்தமான நன்றி. வாழ்த்துகளும்.

January 21st, 2009 at 16:02
  3  

திரு வெங்கட்ராம் திவாகருக்கும் என் நன்றி.

January 21st, 2009 at 16:03
நினா.கண்ணன்
  4  

அரிய பல தொகுப்புகளை ஒரே வலையில் அமைத்துள்ளீர்கள்! மென்மேலும் வளர என் மனமார்ந்த வாழ்த்துக்கள்

January 21st, 2009 at 17:36
  5  

பதஞ்சலி என்று சொல்லி, நந்தியையும், போகரையும், திருமூலரையும் கண் முன்னே கொண்டு வந்துவிட்டீர்களே, அற்புதம்! தங்களின் பங்களிப்பு தொடரவும் பல செய்திகளை எங்களோடு பகிர்ந்து கொள்ளவும் வேண்டி வாழ்த்துகிறேன். நன்றி!
ஒரு சிறிய சந்தேகம், பாடலின் முடிவில் பஜே என்று இரட்டை கொம்பு வருகிறதே அது சரிதானா?

January 21st, 2009 at 21:58
  6  

Geetha Amma
Super!

January 22nd, 2009 at 14:38
  7  

Very interesting. In so far as Patanjali is concerned, there is not much of a difference in the stories told in the North.

January 22nd, 2009 at 18:57
Satish Kumar
  8  

Beautiful narration Vijay. Learning a lot through your website.
Wondering, when vyagrapadar is shown with pulikaal, why patanjali is shown with normal legs and snake in his head, in the tanjavur murals? only the artist can tell us.
Thanks for the post.

January 22nd, 2009 at 21:27
  9  

//ஹ்ருதி பஜே!”//

இது தப்பாய் எழுதியது நான் தான். ஸ்லோகத்தில் “பஜ” என்றுதான் வருகின்றது. தீட்சிதர் ஒருவரிடமும் கேட்டு உறுதி செய்து கொண்டேன். முழு ஸ்லோகமும் கிடைத்து விட்டது. ஸ்லோகம் முழுமையும், கொம்பெழுத்தோ, காலெழுத்தோ கிடையாது என்பதே இதன் சிறப்பு!

January 28th, 2009 at 13:56
  10  

//why patanjali is shown with normal legs and snake in his head, in the tanjavur murals? //

ம்ம்ம்ம்ம்ம்ம்????? என்னனு கண்டு பிடிக்கிறேன், தஞ்சைச் சித்திரம் எதிலே இருக்கு, அவ்வாறுனு குறிப்பாய்ச் சொல்லுங்க! தஞ்சைக் கோயிலிலேயா? அல்லது நடராஜர் சித்திரங்கள் வீடுகளிலே இருக்குமே அவற்றிலா???

January 28th, 2009 at 14:01
S.Muruganandam
  11  

//கோவையில்ல் இருந்து 100 கி.மீ. தள்ளி இருக்கும் “திருமூர்த்தி மலக்குன்றுகள்”//

தவறாக நினைக்க வேண்டாம், அது மலக்குன்றுகள் அல்ல திருமூர்த்தி மலை. (Typing error) ஆகவும் இருக்கலாம்.

அனுசுயாவின் கற்பின் மேனமையை உலகத்தவர்களுக்கு உணர்த்த மும்மூர்த்திகளும் வந்து அனுசுயையிடம் தங்களுக்கு பால் கொடுக்க வேண்டும் என்று கேட்க தன் கற்பின் வலிமையால் அவர்கள் மூவரையும் குழந்தைகளாக மாற்றிய மாபெரும் கற்புக்கரசி அனுசுயை என்பது ஐதீகம். இவ்வாறு மும்மூர்த்திகளும் இனைந்த உருவமே தத்தாத்ரேயர் என்று வட நாட்டில் வணங்கப்ப்டும் திருமுர்த்தி.

அமணலிங்கேஸ்வரர் திருமூர்த்தி என்றே அழைக்கப்படுகின்றார்.

அடியேன் ஊருக்கு (உடுமலைப்பேட்டை)அருகில் உள்ள திருமூர்த்தி மலையைப் ப்ற்றி திருமூலர் தென் கைலாயம் என்று கூறியுள்ளார் என்ற அருமையான தகவலையும், பதஞ்சலி முனிவரைப் பற்றிய பல தகவல்களையும் அளித்ததற்க்கு நன்றி கீதாம்மா. படங்களுக்கு நன்றி கோமில்லா, மற்றும் இவ்வளவு அருமையான தளத்தை உருவாக்கி அனைவரையும் இறை பணியில் ஈடுபடுத்தும் விஜய்க்கும் நன்றிகள்.

February 6th, 2009 at 16:43
SARAVANAN, CHENNAI
  12  

superb , god bless you

June 25th, 2009 at 15:24
  13  

there is one temple near tiruvarur Manogar pathanjal temple. From here Panthanjali and viyakarapathar comes to Sri thyagaraja temple on Thiruvadiraiday and Pagguni uthiramday to have pathdarsham of Sri Thyagaraja.(Only on these two days you can see Thyagaraja padham other day s you can see only His face.anandhi

July 5th, 2009 at 7:13
சிவனடியான்
  14  

நம் உடலில் உள்ள சூக்ஷும நாடியை இட நாடியின் உதவியோடும், பிங்கள நாடியின் உதவியோடும் மெதுவாய் மேலே எழுப்பிக் கொண்டு போய் நெற்றிப் பொட்டில் இருக்கும் சஹஸ்ராரச் சக்கரத்தில் சேர்த்தால் உள்ளொளி தெரியும்.

” சஹஸ்ராரம் அல்ல அது அக்ஞ சக்கரம் ” …

“திருமூர்த்தி மலக்குன்றுகள்” இருக்கும் இடத்தில் இவர் பிறந்ததாயும், முன் காலத்தில் தென் இந்தியாவின் இந்தப் பகுதியைத் “தென் கைலாயம்” என்று அழைப்பதுண்டு என்றும் சொல்கிறார் திரு மூலர்.

எனது தாத்தன் திருமூலர் கூறும் ” தென் கைலாயம் என்று அழைக்கப்படும் இடம் யாதெனில் அது தென் தமிழகத்தில் உள்ள ” சதுரகிரி மலை “. இன்றும் யாத்திரை செல்லும் பக்தர்கள் அத்ரி மஹரிஷி வனத்தைக் காணலாம்.

- சிவனடியான்

August 20th, 2009 at 15:47
Deepa
  15  

Thirupatturil - Siddhar Pathanjali matrum Pullikaal Munivar jeeva samadhi ullathu.

Pathanjali jeeva samadhi Brahmapureeswarar koiluku ulle ullathu. Pullikaal munivarin jeeva samadhi koilluku aruge ullathu.

Thirupattur, Tiruchirapalliyil irunthu 18 km thoorathil ullathu ( Trichy - Chennai Highway)

Serpent body is an alchemical reference to the person who attained the neutral state or enlightenment. So it is not surprising Saint Pathanjali is depicted as a serpent being.

September 7th, 2009 at 12:39
  16  

Hmm sivanadiyaan & Deepa, that was really estoric. Thanks for sharing

rgds
vj

September 11th, 2009 at 7:30
  17  

I heard a news about Patanjali Siddhar Seeva Samathi. In Thiruppattur (Near Trichy) one Bramma Temple is there. In that temple Patanjali Siddhar Jeeva Samathi is there. If it is true please reply me.

July 3rd, 2010 at 22:32
T.MUNI BALAJI
  18  

EXCELLENT

December 28th, 2011 at 21:03
RATHINAM.NN
  19  

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I AM GOING THRO THIS SITE. WONDERFUL THANK GOD FOR SEEING THIS AND COMING TO KNOW SOME IMPORTANT INFO.RMATIONS. I AM NATIVE OF TRICHY BUT I CAME TO KNOW ONLY TO-DAY THAT MAHAN PATHANJALI MUNIVAR JEEVA SAMADHI IS THERE AT TIRUPATTUR. I AM FOLLOWING PATHANJALI MAHAN’S SOONYA DHYANAM AND PRANAYAMAA THRO SWAMIJI JAGGI VASUDEV

June 7th, 2012 at 23:13
Suresh Reddy
  20  

Want to know about the Rulers at the time of Pathanjali

October 19th, 2014 at 21:29
சு.வெற்றிவேல்வீரன்
  21  

என் பாதம் கணிந்த நன்றிகள்

July 25th, 2015 at 20:17

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