caturdasha rAgamAlika

The following lyrics and translations are taken from the LP recording of the navagraha kritis by Prof. S. Ramanathan. I have tried to correct some typographical errors from that source (which is also very hard to read), and hope I have not introduced too many of my own. Please let me know of any errors. The transliteration scheme is that used in the notes to that recording, written by Robert Gottlieb. It is a truncated version of that which I have used on the list of compositions.

Ragas are as given for each section below. The tala is caturashra Eka (often given as Adi).

pallavI - shrI

shrIvishvanAtham bhajEham

pallavI - ArabhI

AdhyAtmikAdi tApatraya-manobhItyApaham

anupallavI - gaurI


anupallavI - nATa


anupallavI - gaula


anupallavI - mohana


viloma - mohana


viloma - gaula

viSaya-paHncaka-rahitam abhayam

viloma - nATa


viloma - gaurI

nigamasAram ishvaram-amaram

viloma - ArabhI

smaraharam paramashivam atulam

viloma - shrI


caraNa - sAma

sadAshivam sAma-gAna-vinutam

caraNa - lalita

sanmAtRam lalita-hRdaya-viditam

caraNa - bhairava

cidAkasha-bharavam puraharam
vidhi-kapAla-trishUladhara-bhairavam puraharam

caraNa - sAraHNga

citsabheshvaram sAraHNgadharam

caraNa - shaHNkarAbharaNam

cintitArtha-vitaraNam dhurINatara-mANikya-maya-shaHNkarAbharaNam

caraNa - kAmbhoji


caraNa - devakriyA


caraNa - bhUpAla


viloma - bhUpAla


viloma - devakriyA


viloma - kAmbhoji

varadam anala-ravi-shashi-nayanam

viloma - shaHNkarAbharaNam


viloma - sAraHNga

paramahamsam Anandanartanam

viloma - bhairava

patita-pAvana-kaRaNam madaharaNam

viloma - lalita

parataram parama-manolaya-jayam

viloma - sAma



I worship the Lord of the Universe
Who wears in his heart the garland of ragas which have taken the form of the 14 worlds

(I worship Him) Who destroys the fear of worldly existence[1] for those who take refuge in Him
And who destroys the mental fear arising from the three afflictions[2], such as adhyatmika and others

(I worship Him) Lord of Vishalakshi-gauri[3]
Who as Lord of white hue[4] is pure existence, consciousness and bliss[5], in both His manifested and unmanifested forms[6]

(I worship Him) Who illuminates this varied and wonderful world which is but a drama
Who radiance is like an infinite number of Suns and Moons which illuminate this eternally changing world

(I worship Him) The white-limbed Shiva who is worshipped by Govinda[7]
Whose body is besmeared with holy ashes surpassing that of milk, jasmine, the Moon, camphor, etc.

(I worship Him) Who fascinates Guruguha[8]
Who by the five-fold combinations of the elements[9] forms the plurality of the phenomenal world

Who is a combination of the forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra[10]
Who is fearless and untouched by the five senses[11]
Who alone is capable of giving unsurpassed joy
Who is the essence of all Veda doctrine[12] and is immortal
Who is the most auspicious and without peer, the slayer of Smara[13]
Who always makes his abode in hearts filled with compassion and feeling

(I worship Him) As Sadashiva[14] who is worshipped by the saman music[15]
With its seven constituent forms, prakritis[16], etc.

(I worship Him) Who is only of blissful form, and who is known by those with tender hearts
Who is known by those with tender hearts and who are devoid of lust, anger and other vices[17]

(I worship Him) As Bhairava[18] who dwells in the void of the consciousness and who has destroyed the cities[19]
And Bhairava with his trident who holds the skull of Brahma[20] and destroys the cities

(I worship Him) Who holds the saranga and who dances in our inner consciousness[21]
Who holds the saranga created by the ascetics of Daruka forest[22]

(I worship Him) Always, Who is bedecked with auspicious ornaments
Who is the bestower of all our desires, whose auspicious ornaments are embedded with emeralds of the finest hue

(I worship Him) Whose lotus-foot gives moksa[23]
Whose lotus-foot is extremely capable of conferring all purusarthas[24]

(I worship Him) Who revels in the activities of the munificent gods
Who revels in the activities of creation, preservation, destruction, dissolution and the conferring of divine grace[25]

(I worship Him) Who is the protector of Vaidyalinga
Southwest of Sripura there is a place called Gartatira

Who is the Lord of Guha[27], the Gods and Kings
Who has ordained the movements of the planets, such as Mars, Mercury
Who is the bestower of gifts, whose eyes are Fire, Sun and Moon
Whose face is like the lotus and the Moon[28]
Who is the highest bliss, and who performs the dance of ecstasy[29]
Who purifies the downtrodden and Who banishes pride
Who is the Supremest Being and Who overrules our minds
Who generates the 4 phases of speech, vak, apra, etc.[30]


  1. Belief in the transmigration of souls which wander through innumerable births and deaths seeking life's ultimate goal, moksa (liberation)
  2. ref. to the three kinds of pain; "These are: (1) the intrinsic (adhyatmika), (2) the extrinsic (adibhautika), and (3) the divine or superhuman (adhidaivika). Of these, the intrinsic is two-fold, bodily and mental. Bodily pain is caused by the disorder of the several humours, wind, bile, and phlegm; and mental pain is due to desire, wrath, avarice, affection, fear, envy, grief, and the non-perception of particular objects.... The extrinsic are caused by men, beasts, birds, reptiles, and inanimate things; and the superhuman ones are due to the evil influence of planets and the various spirits." [Samkhya-Karika, see Radhakrishnan, 1957]
  3. ref. to Shiva's consort Parvati, 'the fair one with large eyes'
  4. Shiva's body is covered with white ashes derived from having vanquished Kama, the God of desire, with his eye of fire.
  5. ref. to 'the three attributes of Brahman' in Vedanta philosophy: sat (existence), cit (consciousness), and ananda (bliss). Each of these is treated separately in the carana section: sat appears in the lalita raga, cit in the saranga raga, and ananda in saranga of the viloma section.
  6. ref. to the 'dual aspect' of Brahman, the ultimate source from which all gods and creatures eminate. Muttusvami Dikshitar was a follower of the smarta-Brahman tradition (those who do worship based on smrti) which "while believing in the fundamental truth of advaita (non-duality) and nirguna-Brahman (the non-corporeal form of Brahman), accepted also the saguna-Brahman the corporeal form as manifested in a number of deity forms. These were intended to afford suitable means or supports for worship for men with a diversity of equipment and disposition." [V. Raghavan, 1975] For smarta Brahmans one of the five deities may be selected by a family as the principle deity for home worship: Surya, Shiva, Devi (the Goddess), Vishnu, or Ganesha (the son of Shiva having the head of an elephant).
  7. The 'cow finder'; a name given to Krishna when he saved the people and cows of Ambadi
  8. The pen name of Muttusvami Dikshitar
  9. ref. to the five primordial elements: prthvi (earth), ap (water), tojas (heat/light), vayu (air) and akasha (ether, the subtle and ethereal substance pervading the whole universe) [Aitreya Upanishad III.5.3]
  10. (lit. 'formidable') The name of Shiva as one of the trinity (trimurti)
  11. "Devoid of sound, touch, sight, taste or smell, with neither beginning nor end, Brahman is imperishable." [Katha Upanishad III.15]
  12. See notes 4 & 8 for Surya
  13. Alternate name for Kama
  14. 'everlasting' or 'eternal' Shiva; one of the five aspects of parama-Shiva ('highest Shiva'); see [25]
  15. Chants of the Samaveda, the most sacred of all music
  16. prakriti (lit 'primary substance', 'original') constitutes the basic intoned verse of the Saman chant. From this seven vikriti ('alterations' or 'modifications') are realized.
  17. Various sources define these differently. The following instruction is offerred for rulers for shaking the aggregate of the 'six enemies': "restraint of the organs of sense, on which success in study and discipline depends, can be enforced by abandoning lust (kama), anger (krodha), greed (lobha), vanity (mana), infatuation (mada), and excessive pleasure (harsa)." [Kautiliya Arthashastra I.6.1]
  18. The terrible form of Shiva who takes pleasure in destruction
  19. ref. to tripura ('three cities'), the three principle regions of the world: svarga (heaven), akasha (space between heaven and earth) and prthvi (earth). Having been overrun by the demons (asuras) the gods appealed to Shiva to destroy tripura. For this purpose he armed himself: the earth became his chariot, the mountain Mandara his bow, and Vishnu his arrow. All other beings of the worlds of the gods became parts of his chariot with Brahma as charioteer. Thus Shiva destroyed tripura and all its inhabitants. [Mahabharata 8.24]
  20. As a result of an argument with Brahma, Shiva in the form of Bhairava cut off one of his five heads. Brahma then cursed Shiva that he should beg for food while carrying his skull in his hand. [Shiva Purana 3.8]
  21. Shiva is sometimes represented holding a 'deer' in his hand. This symbolizes the peace and tranquility of the hermitage, the dwelling place of the ascetics and their wives of darukavana, the Pine Forest, referred to in the second line of verse. Saranga however also means 'bow', and this interpretation is equally valid since it conforms to the alternating scheme of shruti and smriti. Saranga furthermore evokes the imagery of 'bow and arrow' which in shruti texts is associated with probing the 'inner consciousness': "Taking as bow the mighty weapon furnished by the Upanishads, fix on it the arrow rendered sharp by constant meditation. And having drawn it with the mind absorbed in His thought, penetrate the mark, the imperishable Brahman." [Mundaka Upanishad II.3]
  22. The traditional location of the Pine Forest is considered to be in the vicinity of Chidambaram, Tanjore district.
  23. The lotus is the symbol of creation. It is the source from which all beings originate. It first grew from the navel of Vishnu and from this came forth Brahma. As the same time the lotus is associated with Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, for she is the lotus goddess who worships at his feet. The foot has therefore become symbolic of the highest object of worship. Similarly with regard to the iconographical description of Shiva as the 'king of dancers' (nataraja), Heinrich Zimmer says "The fear-not gesture (abhaya-mudra), bestowing protection and peace... points downward to the uplifted foot. This foot signifies Release and is the refuge and salvation (moksa) of the devotee. It is to be worshipped for the attainment of union with the Absolute (Brahman)."
  24. The four goals of worldly existence: dharma (righteousness), artha (material wealth), kama (pleasure) and moksa (liberation)
  25. The five aspects of parama-Shiva; these are accordingly represented in their personal forms as the gods Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Aghora and Sadashiva
  26. ref. to Miradas Vaidyalinga Mudaliar, Dikshitar's patron
  27. In the context of this line the composer is referring to himself.
  28. See note 6 for Chandra
  29. Shiva is also nataraja (King of the dancers). 108 different varieties of dance are attributed to him. Some of these are gentle and calm, others are fierce and terrible. The anandanartanam referred to is the tandaya dance which is performed at the end of the cosmic cycle.
  30. ref. to the four phases of speech production; see note 9 for Brhaspati