Arti at Chidambaram Nataraja Temple
When you walk into the Chidambaram Nataraja temple as a non entity, the feeling of divinity doesn't cover you half as strongly, as much as when you are guided into the temple by someone who knows the life in every stone in the wall.
Chidambaram temple might be a different world to the average devotee who comes there, but when you are guided into the temple, by one of the most passionate human beings, who sings nothing but the praise of the Lord, this temple has a different tune to play.
I am really blessed to have finally had the opportinity to meet this very passionate soul, a very learned man to whome Lord Shiva Nataraja is sublime poetry, music to the ears and rhythm to the feet. In his words one can hear the music of the ancients, the potency of the divine and the superiority of Hindiusm as a science. Every sanskrit verse he sang out were like a new pearl of wisdom, one that you connect with or want to keep listening to.
He walked us though the temple, circling at every shrine with adoration, through each prakara that we could access explaining each sculptural panel, defining each mural and giving me the freedom to click away. It was close to a dream come true. We sailed through the temple, breathed its calm fresh air, free from present day turmoil and corruption.
We entered the zone of the main sanctum, where the temple stood so grand, even in all the hussling crowd, one could hear the ghunguru sounds of the Lord as he danced in the central chamber. I was guided to ascend the steps to view the Lord up close, decked in flower and jewellery with the twinkling moon on his brow. The Lord danced gracefully at His seat in the Universe, the land of ether, within a ring of fire that glowed and brought His dance to life. This is where the Ananda Tandava can be felt, as the flames rise with the 6.00p.m. puja arti.
The drums resound, the bells ring and the sound of OM can be heard in every hit of the gong, the Universe awakens and the churn starts, the air reverberates and the flames of Arti rise in adoration. Fire, an element of purity, that burns out our egos, and merges us to this divine form, as the Lord swirls in Anandam.
As Raja Deekshithar describes it, when one reaches the sublime state of poetry, of beauty and bliss, of devotion... when nothing in the world matters anymore, you can feel the Lord dance, you can hear His divine feet in rhythm, you can see the grace in the ring of flames that cover Him, and then, history doesn't matter, living doesn't matter, its just beauty from within. Waves of grace, a veil of sound and music brings the Lord alive, its an experience to witness this through Chidambaram Nataraja.
Video courtesy: Raja Deekshithar