Nandan Charithram Translation
  • Dear Friends,
    For the past six months I have been trying to collect the Keerthanas constituting " Nandanar Charithram", possibly the greatest work of one of the greatest musicologist of Tamil Nadu, Sri Gopalakrishna Bharathi. This great music composer was a contemporary of the musical trinity of Thiruvayyaru. He was trained both in Carnatic music as well as Hindusthani music. Apart from handling classic ragas , he was also an adept in handling folk meters. He wrote in Tamil and one of his master pieces was a musical composition called "Nandanar Charithram". Nandanar was a slave to a Brahmin land lord but a great devotee of Shiva. Once he visited a shiva temple at Thiruppunkur. Since as a dalit, he was not supposed to go inside the temple, he was not able to see the God, because a big Nandi statue that was hiding it. As per his prayer the Lord asked his Nandi to move so that Nandanar can see him. After this incident , Nandanar heard a lot about The great Nataraja temple in Chidambaram. His master wanted him to complete his job of ploughing and then think of going to Chidambaram. That night , Lord Ganesa, dug a lake in that village and also completed the ploughing of his master's fields. The master was more than convinced of greatness of Nandanar and even requested him to be his Guru. Nandanar was received by the Chidambaram Deekshithars and merged with god, in that temple. Long search revealed that Nandanar Charithram was available in the web in . Unfortunately there were lot of songs in this collection , which did not belong to the Nandanar Charithram and also, they were not in proper sequence. My further search took me to a book on notations to the "Nandan Charitham" by Sangeetha Kalanidhi Prof.Srinivasan. I understand that even here in many cases the full songs are not given. There is a reference to a" Nandanar Charithram" published in two volumes by Annamalai University. I could not get it. So there would be several omissions and commissions in the translation that I have given. I would be grateful, if some of you who are far more learned musicians, would make whatever I have done as a basis and bring out a more correct and more authentic book so that this great treasure is not lost to us. You can read my translation in
  • Dear Sir,
    Fantastic work.Gopalakrishna Bharathi's biography by Tamil Thatha U.Ve.Sa is currently out of print.U.Ve.Sa also mentions about Ganam Krishnaiyer who keerthanas were so beautiful that all the contemporary musicians stood in awe of him.How and why we lost all this Tamil Keerthanas is itself an interest subject.Great job by you sir.Thanks for sharing the link.
  • Dr U Ve Sa's Gopalakrishna Bharathiyar (Keerthanaigaludan) was published in 2006 by Saami books(98414 49529) in Chennai. I got it in Jan this year at the book fair. The book is 95 pages long including some complete songs (recollected or collected by U Ve Sa).

    Incidentally, for those of you who remember the movie Sivagangai Seemai, there is a great song that begins "Saanthu pottu thala thalenna" which is an adapatation of Bharathiyar's song (Chidambara Kummi) recounted in full in this book.

    Note that the complete Nandhanar Charitram collected and edited by Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr S Ramanathan was available at the Carnatic Music Book Center ( I purchased a copy several years ago. Other editions exist and were available at the book fair.

  • My dear History Lovers,
    I do have one question regarding the Nandanar Charithram.  
    I assume the literary works on Nandanar were based on a true incident, regardless of the exaggerated (as per his prayer the Lord asked his Nandi to move so that Nandanar can see him etc..etc..) descriptions.  
    If anyone can estimate the period of the first appearance of this Nandanar story line in Tamil literature history, please share your thoughts.  
    ..... themozhi 

  • My dear friend,

    “செம்மையே திருநாளைப் போவார்க்கு அடியேன்”- by Sundarar around 8th century so he knows
    about Nandhanar history around 8th century itslef.

    Tiruttondar Tiruvandhadhi- by Nambiaandar Nambi 10th century record information about Nandhan.

    Peria puraanam- by Sekizhar 12th century about Nandhan.

    Nandhanar Charithram- GopalakrishnaBharathi 19th century.
  • Moderators Note :-

    We are watching this thread for any personal bashing or community.


    First reference of 60 Nayanmars is by Sundarar in his Thirutondar thogai
    which Nambiandar Nambi and later Sekkizhar referred.

    First detailed account of the nayanmars was by Sekkizhar in Periya puranam
    is totaly based on Sundarar and Nambiandar Nambi.

    Gopala Krishna Bharati's work is a lot different from Periya puranam. The
    story differs with respect to Nandanar not entering the temples. Periya
    puranam says that he refused to enter the temple, because he belongs to the
    community which handles and cleans hides of animals and he feels inferior
    and unclean to enter temple. (inferirority complex).

    Inspite of Siva telling him in the dream to enter thillai temple and
    telling the Thillai vaazh anthanar to recive Nandanar with all respect,
    Nandanar refuses to enter the temple, though Thillai vaazh anthanars are
    ready to receive him.

    Thats when Siva tells Nandara, to make him feel comforable, to enter the
    agni by which he can become a brahmin (or getting rid of his
    perceived impurities) and then he can enter the temple, which Nandanar
    readily accepts. Thillai anthanars only execute the instructions of Siva as
    per Nandanars wish. Refer Periya puranam for more details.

    Gopla Krishna Bharati's account is totally different, where he villifys the
    Thillai anthanar. This we have to see with the perspective when he wrote
    this. The period was seeing a lot fo upliftment of downtrodden and to
    capitalize this, he could have modified the story to suit the time period.
    And later the vested interest made good use of this.
  • That is one reason Maha vidwaan Meenakshi sundaram Pillai did not accept Gopalakrishna Bharathi's Nanadan Charithram work.

    Morale of Nandan Story:

    The outer appearance can be obtained just like that by any one. Nandanar attained the outer symbols of Thillai Moovayiravar - just in a minute. Where as attaining the lord is possible only for the one who have the inner attachment. That is why the Thillai Moovayiravar who were always at the service could not attain what Nandanar attained.

    In other words Nandanar attained both What Thillai 3000 had and Much more than that.

    That is how the story should be taken.
  • Dear friends,
    Thanks for your kindness in sharing the details regarding Nandanaar in a historical perspective.
    There is a parallel/identicalstory-linealso in the “ThivyaPrabandham” literature.
    Here the person who faced the hurdles to enter the temple was “Thiruppanaazhvaar” and this incident was based on Trichy (Uraiyoor and ShrizRangam).
    See for more details at
    Somehow this story is not that much talked about as Nandhanaar’s story.
    Thanks again.
    ….. themozhi
  • where does thirupungur come into all this?
    even there we have the nandi moved.


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