10.07.2006

A magical dance with Chidambaram Nataraja


















The temple courtyard
my floor
The pillared halls
echo the rhythm
The calling, a beat
the mridangam
resounding into the air
The grand theater of Chidambaram
My dancing hall in gold.

The nature of dance
pure emotion
The art of Bharata
The expression in abhinaya
A language unknown
yet felt within
The lord awaits in silence
All i see are the birds
The sky, nothingness
pure space
Chidambaram Nataraja

I know no dance
no such expression
yet the body moves
in every action
every thought
every mudra
a natural so unborn
that i do not know
what is right from wrong
I just flow

The world around
appreciates the aesthetics
A high form of expression
felt but not understood
touched but not analysed
witnessed but not experienced
A natural am I
that even i do not know

The performer I am
in the dance of life
overflowing from within
unknown to myself
for I do not see
that which I emote
I just perform
the dance of life!

A call to the Lord
to dance with me
the twist in the hand
the wish fulfilled
He descends to the floor
for me to see
in silent space
the air moves
the vigor around
the dust shaken
the leaves fly
the flames dance
the mridangam in rhythm
gives the beat
the sound reverberates
the Lord touches the floor
the earth shakes

Together we move
Together the expression
Together the power of dance
Together the emotion
Together the abhinaya
Complete mano laya
Complete conciusness
The world stops
the air freezes
time halts
nothing moves
just two forms
displaying the beauty
of life within.

The meaning of Chidambaram

Chi- refers to the purifying of the consciousness,
dam – the rhythm of the Bharata Shastra, the basis of which is given by Patanjali here at this sthala
ba – the lifting of the leg in the rhythm of Tandava Nataraja in all 8 directions of the Ashtadikapalas,
ram – the Na Ma Shi Va Ya Panchakshara mantra as taught by Lord Shiva to the Sanahadimunivargal, the desciples of Dakshinamurthy Shiva.

21 comments:

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, a good attempt at visualizing the Formless within…
I would like to express the logic part as follows…trying to read the mind of the ancients…

‘Amber’ refers to the sky or cloth, ‘dig’ refers to direction, and Shiva is also called 'Digamber’, indicating the one who is covered only by directions - as a form is covered with cloth (Jain Munis who ever remain in the natural form, as at the time of their birth, are called Digamber Munis)…Digamber Shiva, perhaps therefore refers to the Formless Being within the infinite sky / the universal space (whose model earth believably is)…

Similarly, the word ‘chit’ has been derived from ‘chetna’ or consciousness…thus Chidambaram could perhaps refer to the Formless Shiva, a being having no form and yet having super consciousness, like animals too believably have it, but a portion of it in a dormant state depending on the Yuga concerned, locked up at the “Mooladhar” (75% to nearly 100% in Kaliyuga or the ‘present’)…leading to the saying, “Bagal mein bachha shahar dhindhora,” in common parlance, i.e., “(The mother) searching for the child (all over the world) while it is (all the time) by her side only!”

anil joshi said...

Kavita,Another interpretation of the word"chidambar".Chit+ ambar.One who is having a soul(chit)like Ambar{the sky}

JC Joshi said...

The (believably illusory)‘Earth’ has only the ‘Sky’/ space to cover its form and it also holds within itself ‘Air’, ‘Water’ & ‘Fire’ or energy that form the ‘Panchbhoota’ or the ’five ghosts’ as represented in “Na-mah shi-va-ya”, the ‘Panchakshari (beeja)Mantra’ or the five lettered ‘seeds-of-creation’ of the physical forms…

‘Ashtadikapalas’ or “Dig-gaja (eight elephants)” refer to the essences of eight [‘saguna’ or all having positive & negative characteristic property] planetary forms which go into the formation of earth , each believably acting as the controller of one of the eight directions, which is sometimes also referred as eight hands of Ma Durga while (neutral or ‘nirguna’) itself taks care of the upward and downward directions…

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, it is well known that the movement of earth at the time of earthquake within a particular effective zone is quite complicated as it shakes in all directions …And, it was generally believed by the ancients as an indication of Shiva’s anger through His ‘Tandava Nritya’…perhaps accepting it as a reminder of the saying, “Beware of the fury of a patient man (or God!)” For, Shiva the Bhootnath, or the ‘Lord of Ghosts’, believably also is “Bholanath” or a “Simple God” who, after tolerating ‘its enemies’ for long, viz. demon Bhasmasur who tried to turn Shiva to ashes after receiving such power as a boon from Himself only - eventually to react at the appropriate time to get rid of the in-fructuous one(s), as the stories indicate it generally happens towards the end of a particular Yuga or even at some other times during a Yuga according to the need of the hour…for continuity of earth and useful life upon it...

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, we have earlier also seen how the components of the entire ‘Nature’ are dynamic or are ever in constant motion. For example, the heavier earth and the relatively lighter moon - each rotating around their own respective axis apparently independently - make each other relatively go around one another in one month while they both together also revolve around the Sun in one year…

Although we, terrestrials, are also moving along with the earth, (as astronauts inside a space ship), we appear to be immobile, like passengers seated inside a moving train who only have the freedom of movement within the different compartments (countries) or perhaps jump/ get pushed out of one of those to land again on earth!

Earth was therefore also described as similar to a ship moving in water and humans as birds traveling on it, who have the option of flying over the sea on their own power for some distance according to their physical capacities - eventually obliged to return to the ship only!

And, hence the statement, “Satyam Shivam Sunderam,” i.e., the realization of the beautiful earth as the ‘Truth’ - as a physical representation of the ‘Absolute Truth’ or the one and only Formless Creator (whose relatively inferior reflections all of us are)!

JC Joshi said...

With the movements of earth-moon, described above, in mind, “Hindus” apparently visualized that as a “cosmic dance” or “the dance of the Nataraja”, and in the west one could perhaps see its reflection in the movements of different couples while they glide in a revolving motion all over the floor performing a ballroom dance, waltz - though perhaps unaware that they might only be copying earth-moon!

Soo said...

hey i like your blog. I've seen this temple (Chidambaram) but I never knew the story behind the name!

JC Joshi said...

Although I am repeating it, the “Hindu Thoughts”, carried forth through time immemorial, indicate Shiva to have appeared in the beginning as “Ardhanarishwara”, literally the ‘half male and half female’ or Androgynous God, with His original abode at Kashi. And, after the death of His female half or Sati, His original consort, He believably, subsequently, remarried Parvati who believably was yet another form of Sati Herself and thereafter shifted His abode to Mount Kailash with the charge of control of earth handed over to their son Ganesha (planet Mars, linked with the Formless Creator)! In geological terms, the phenomenon could perhaps be visuallized as evolution of Moon from original Earth-Moon itself, say through eruption of a volcano (as some astronomers also believe it to have happened at some stage in the past)…

If seen without prejudice, one could perhaps visualize how ‘Nature’ or the Formless Creator has been viewing the evolution of movements or animation of the apparent innumerable physical forms also as they multiplied with passage of time, starting perhaps from one, i.e., Hydrogen gas atom that alone has a positively charged proton in its nucleus and a negatively charged electron that orbits it in its outer shell (say, like earth-moon as its prototype)…In the Solar system – although the central figure, our Sun, mainly contains Hydrogen gas in its core together with inert Helium gas as its outer cover - it has innumerable planets, planetoids, meteors etc., i.e., more evolved Heavenly Bodies that go around it in different orbits, as electrons to a certain extent also do in higher elements, with presence of Neutrons together with Protons in their nuclei…Whereas, in the galaxy as a whole, all Heavenly Bodies similarly revolve around a much powerful force, compared to Sun, at its centre… Perhaps, one can thus see the representation of the Heavenly Body movements as human models - varying from solo dance performance to group-dance performances, which have become more common in Indian cinema these days…

JC Joshi said...

We have earlier seen how events related with time are perhaps being seen by the Formless in a reverse order, from Satyuga to Kaliyuga over 1080 sets of Mahayugas, again and again, from the stage of reaching a stage of balance between the ‘material’ and the ‘spiritual’, to a purely spiritual or energy stage from where advancement had apparently started at the beginning of the Kaliyuga…

Thus the four stages, in 1080 cycles to cover 360 degrees of the entire space, could be visualized as follows: Kaliyuga as the duration each of 432,000 ‘human-years’ during which preliminary tests of various Heavenly Bodies - created in no time or ‘zero time’ - were made for achieving a perfect galaxy during the next duration of 864,000 years of Dwaperyuga, whose hero was “Krishna”, (centre of galaxy/ a reincarnation in human form of the “Formless-Vishnu”). The next 1,292,000 years of Tretayuga relate to Sun achieving perfection, through another reincarnation, “Rama”, as the hero. The next duration of 1,728,000 years or Satyuga are related with “Shiva” or Earth, the true model of the Formless Creator Himself, achieving perfection at the end of it after 1080 such cycles of Mahayuga to cover the entire space…

JC Joshi said...

It is because of the apparently mischievous nature of the Formless Creator that humans have referred to God as HE/ SHE or IT at will – as mother, father, brother, friend, knowledge, money, and, in fact, everything!!! In the ‘East’, the ‘wise’ realized human being to be a model of the illusory universe, which was expressed in the ancient ‘West’ as ‘an image of God’…

The ancient “Hindus” believed life to be ‘leela’ or drama (as also realized by Shakespeare) of different incarnations of the Creator in different human forms at different times…

The Gita indicates only purpose of man to seek the God with forms and without forms too…the Yogis realized the Formless or ‘Chidambaram Shiva’ to be united internally with each of His Own hierarchical images!

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, many interesting events are taking place around us today: A few of those, e.g., Ganesha, the favourite son of Parvati is called “Vighna-harta” or the “Trouble-shooter”. However, in Prabhadevi, Mumbai, the Siddhi Vinayaka temple has become a source of hindrance or ‘vighna’ for the residents in the close vicinity on account of the wall reportedly erected on the pavement/ road (?) and regulation of traffic in other nearby streets also because of security concern for the visitors who come in thousands from different places daily (There is a saying, “Chirag tale andhera, or ‘it is dark under the lamp (only)’!”…

North Korea has become the eighth country to have nuke power…and therefore believably has become a source of risk to human life! One knows that our Sun is the believable source of life on earth – and it is so because of the trillions of Hydrogen Bombs that ‘naturally explode’ per second in its core! And, the ancient “Hindus” cautioned everyone to be prepared for the “pralaya” or “Shiva’s Tandava Nritya” as it could happen any moment, like the "thousand year flood" could occur any moment (and not after thousand years from the 'present' date)!

JC Joshi said...

The ancient “Hindu” realization, of human being as ‘a model of the universe’, helps in visualizing how the “sudershan-chakra-dhari-Krishna”, the eighth and only living son of Devaki who was brought up by Ma Yashoda, could perhaps represent the “black hole” with super-gravity - that believably is housed at the centre of our galaxy of innumerable stars and other Heavenly Bodies - with the background knowledge about its formation as a result of implosion of a star, which is relatively much more massive than our sun, towards the end of its life-span…Read together with the realization of formation of human body with the essences of the selected eight members of the solar system, it also becomes easier to understand Krishna’s statement in Gita that it (linked with the essence of planet Mars at the ‘mooladhar’) illuminates the Sun (its essence at Solar plexus) and the Moon (essence at the top of human head as ‘Ma Durga’ while the essence of the inert Earth or Bholanath Shiva lies at the ‘Mind’s eye’ or ‘Ajna chakra’…

JC Joshi said...

Sant Tulsidas, an ardent devotee of Rama said, to the effect, that based on one’s inclination of mind each apparently saw God in the particular form, which one believed Him to have… In common parlance, it was believed that God (as an ‘avatar’ or reincarnation of the Formless Creator) can appear in any form at any time and at any place…

The yogis or ‘siddhas’, i.e., the ancient all rounder ‘scientists’, although realizing ‘life’ as illusion that is ‘Maya’, after in-depth studies, appear to have reached the logic of the thoughts or the scripts of drama or ‘leela’ of the one and only Creator. They correlated it with the apparent behaviour of the Heavenly Bodies - their growing in larger numbers, with apparent variety and hierarchy in all aspects, with the passage of apparent time (in the reverse order of advancement or the falling limb, from Satyuga to Kaliyuga, i.e., from ‘Perfect One’ or ‘Shiva’ to ‘Imperfect Infinity’ and back to ‘Nothing’ or ‘Perfect Zero’ or “Chidambarm Shiva”!) - as reflections of one and only Formless Creator, each form apparently reflecting different movements of Earth, or the dance of “Chidambaram Shiva”, as its physical model... Each individual thus might find his ‘mind’ to behave like a cart stuck in some particular groove, one’s personality having been developed - as one grows up - based on the various experiences one gathers in the various fields of activity in the environment in which one is born and passes through as one matures with the apparent time…

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, for a change, talking of illusion and mischievous nature of the Formless, I would like to recount a personal experience, likes of which superficially are commonly encountered in India…

Although I am not very keen to see Hindi films, for the family’s sake we had gone to a cinema hall in Guwahati to see one in the early eighties…As it generally happens in small towns in India, the window at the counter for Current Booking opened for a short while only, and the “House full” sign was almost immediately put up to my wife’s disappointment…

I then told her that if the price in “black” was reasonably okay, I would buy the needed five tickets…
However, I found that the Rs.3/= ticket was being sold for Rs.20/=, which to my pleasure my wife too felt wasn’t worth spending and thought she would prefer having a nice lunch in a restaurant instead…In the meanwhile some girls, also five in numbers, known to my children in our old neighborhood - who had thought that we had booked our ticket in advance - had been exchanging thoughts with the ladies, till it was time for the film to start…

Call it the mischievous nature of the script writer that, “luckily” for us, their leader expressed that they were in a fix because they didn’t know which ones they should dispose of as they had tickets for the ‘Balcony’ as well as for the ‘Dress Circle’! I solved their problem by virtually snatching from her hand the ones’ for the Dress Circle, as my wife, who suffered from arthritis, wouldn’t be required to walk up the painful stairs!

Later, I pondered over the depth up to which the Creator had thought and made us happy even apparently through a petty incident, but first making us ‘surrender’ and remain cool(as advised in Gita also)!

JC Joshi said...

It is so strange, or rather marvellous, that many phenomena remain unrealized till one’s attention gets drawn to those apparently accidentally or by some other individual(s)…For example, once one gets tuned to the thought of union or Yoga of each of the innumerable forms and the Formless within a particular individual, one might start seeing this kind of relationship even in. say, a scabbard & a sword that remains dormant unless it is pulled out for action and put back in again like a snake back in its basket/ hole after striking its victim…and in the evolved form, the same relationship exists between the holster and the gun…

JC Joshi said...

The existence of apparently dormant or untapped unlimited energy within humans has obviously been realized as an evolutionary process, in steps over long duration of ‘time’ – as seen at any stage, similarly, starting even with almost nil ‘muscle power’ in every individual human child - till we have apparently jointly reached the present ‘Atomic Age’ with ‘advancement in technology’. Of course, consequently generating fear in the minds of humans…whereas such realization reached inwardly, say, by The Buddha, had resulted in realization of the ‘Truth’ and world wide peace – though temporarily! War and Peace on the globe are thus like ‘two sides of the same coin’…The believably detached and illusory globe, as a model of the ‘Absolute Truth’ or ‘Chidambaram Shiva’, making the ‘third’ or the blank side…

The “Hindu mythology”, however, indicates utilization of the already-naturally-existing-potential-spiritual-energy-within, say, even by ‘child Krishna’ without recourse to any external tool! Krishna also came to be known as Yogiraj or the King of the Yogis or Siddhas or the then all rounder ‘scientists’. He believably lifted the Mount Goverdhan on His little finger (an expression used today also to indicate someone making a difficult task appear simple)! Of course, there have been examples of many such ‘spiritual’ personalities all over the world from time to time - viz. Jesus Christ - who reportedly performed ‘miracles’ at certain stages in the ‘past’…

JC Joshi said...

Everyone knows that for a sound superstructure a good foundation is necessary…Krishna, a reincarnation of the Formless Creator and the hero in the Dwaperyuga, provided exactly that after Himself having achieved perfection during hte Kaliyuga... He cultivated friendship with one of the Pandavas, Arjuna, a sun-like expert archer in the making under the charge of Sage Dronacharya during that Yuga, a hero being cultivated, as indicated by the trend in the mythological stories, for the future or Tretayuga, who was named Rama the ideal king during that Yuga, who was assited by earth-like character, Lakshamana… Arjuna’s elder brother was named Yudhister, literally the one who remains unmoved during a battle - like earth. He was simple and truthful, like Shiva, a hero in the Satyuga as a model of Gangadhar Earth, which believably is the perfect model of the Formless Creator, or Chidambaram Nataraja!

Badhri said...

Unless otherwise stated, please assume that "You post is awesome!" Honestly, it bores to me tell the same thing every time I visit your blog!

Hey, I have a quick, typo-ridden post about Srivilliputtur up in my Droplets. Do read when you find time!

JC Joshi said...

In Dwaperyuga, out of the five sons of Mother Kunti, who loved her sons equally, it was sun-like Arjuna, who actually had won the hand of Draupadi in marriage, by striking the arrow right in the middle of the fish’s eye that revolved within a bowl near the ceiling by looking only at its reflection at the floor level (which in reality indicates her to be a model of moon that reflects the sunrays) – a tough job no other archer could perform! But, due to decision taken by Kunti, without knowing what Arjuna had won that day, she ordered the brothers to share her equally between all the five! And, Arjuna being the number two son, she lived with Yudhister first, his elder earth-like brother!
In Tretayuga, however, sun-like Rama is indicated as being elder to earth-like brother Lakshamana (who, during Rama’s exile, along with Rama’s wife Sita who was similarly won by Rama in the competition between many other competitors, accompanied him and spent most of his time with her. And when Sita was kidnapped by Ravana he told Rama that he had seen only her feet! Thus, the aforesaid cryptically communicates the relationship between Lakshamana & Sita as that of models of earth and moon respectively, as we terrestrials can see only one side of the moon!)…

தி. ரா. ச.(T.R.C.) said...

Kavitha can u give the meaning of CHITH SAPESAM in chithamparam

JC Joshi said...

Shri t.r.c...

My guess is that it perhaps refers to the word, “Sapeksha” meaning “dependence on one another”, which perhaps refers to the interdependence of the form and the formless - for example, the physical Earth and the related gravitational force, or Shiva & Shakti…