Muthuswami Dikshitar’s ‘bhooloka panchalinga kriti-s’ are dedicated to the five elemental forms of LordSiva – ether, air, fire, earth and water which make up the universe. These kriti-s were composed on specific kshetra-s and temples. Ananda natana prakasam is the panchalinga kriti on akasa. It is in Kedara raga, Misra Chapu tala. The kriti describes the Ananda tandava of Lord Nataraja in Chidambaram (chitrambalam). He is identified with the dance of divine consciousness within the subtle space of the human heart. In the chittaswara for Ananda natana prakasam, Dikshitar has woven the swara-s and the sollu-s so skilfully that they conjure up visions of the dance of Siva in our mind’s eye. The raga mudra or name is incorporated in the line “Sree Kedaradi kshetradhaaram” in the charanam. The vaggeyakara’s mudra is woven into the line “Guruguha taatamadyam”.
The artist S. Rajam has beautifully visualised some attributes described by Muthuswami Dikshitar in the particular kriti. Lord Nataraja dances in ecstasy with his right leg slightly bent planted firmly on the back of the dwarf-demon Muyalaka. Nataraja’s dance is revealed to the two sages Patanjali and Vyaghrapada. The crescent moon and the Ganges adorn Nataraja’s locks. He is a connoisseur of music and musical instruments – “sangeeta vadya priyan”. As he is also the Lord of the bhoota gana-s they are playing various musical instruments. Siva’s consort Sivakami is seen at the top left of the painting. Rajam has chosen to depict the lingam with many smaller lingams on it to represent akasa or space.