Awakening at the Chit Sabha, Chidambaram

I have reached a strange feeling in my journey in Shiva realization. A series of thoughts just hit me one one after another. I feel a strange futility in writing. How can I explain my experience of the divine formless Lord in words when I realize I cant really communicate the intensity or its essence in entirety?

I have realized the different layers of learning. I am excited about my finds but I am unable to share it with anyone...not that they wont listen but they may not realize the real beauty in it. How do you tell a blind man the color of bright orange flowers that grows and blooms on the tree in front of him? I feel alone, I feel some where from here my journey is that of a lone one, and no amount of explaining is going to get my thought across to anyone. And yet for some strange reason... I write.

Oh Lord Shiva, I stand speechless again at the door of your divine hall. The Vishnudharmottara says that the Supreme Brahman is formless, yet Agastyar created Urvashi by drawing her form out of mango juice, redifining the essence of beauty to all in heaven. He brought life to her character, he brought power to her form by just drawing a few lines to describe her. Such was the beauty of the divine apsara, who danced her way into the hearts of all the devas at Indra's court. Such was the power of painting and art that it gave life to imagination. This is the real power of art in expression.

Even more mystifying is the divine hall of dance on earth, the chit sabha at Chidambaram. The Golden hall in which Lord Shiva performs. In this grand venue, the Natya Raja's presence is felt, his formless self takes life within the lines of grace at this power center and he lights up the floor that gave birth to the Akasha linga.

I stand here spell bound, staring at the hall, where no one stands, where nothing moves. I look on into the sanctum, far inside surrounded by a door of flickering lamps. No flowers adorn his being, but just pure jewellery covers his self. He is Lord Nataraja, the Lord of dance, of expression, of life.

This is divine illusion, this is divine reality as the Lord awakens the rhythm into the air and the bells resound. The lamps rise, various flames light up this interior as the priest performs Arti. This is a dream, where in this chamber he raises his leg with grace. Its a delight, its a heavy feeling in the heart as one breaks down to absorb this amazingly unique form of the lord.

Within his chamber, shrouded by the deep backness of ignorance, the flames of enlightenment are lit. Within the resounding echo of mantras that wash the floor, he steps on Apasmara purusha. As the divine light of Arti rise he blesses us in Abhaya. How expressive is he, how handsome his face, how lavish his appearance in the glow of gold, and how his presence lights up the floor of dark ignorance. Indeed what a divine illusion, brought so magneficiently to life, indeed the light of enlightenment appears to be a figment of Lord Shiva's imagination, one that he makes us want, while we suffer in the blackness of its ignorance.

Imagination is a talent, it is the power to imagine, to describe beauty and attributes, to describe form and color, to describe action and rules and give it life... isnt this world just Lord Natarja's imagination, one even greater than that of Agastya?

I am speechless, I realize why most of the adorations written are in poetry. There is no better form to explain or express HIM in any better way. Language is limited to those who dont know how to use it, sound is powerful to those who know how to. Its so beautiful when we realize that this post in English is all powerless while just a single word "Hrim" can encapsulate the very energy of the Goddess Durga. How hopeless I am, that I dont even know how to craft the beauty of the Lord that i see within my limited imagination.

I simply stare at his divine form dance, silhoutted by the rising flames that gracefully dance around him. Speechless, silent, awakened.

Courtesy: Raja Deekshitar A heartfelt thanks to him for granting me this divine vision at Chidambaram.

Stella Kramrisch - Vishnudharmpttara Part 3
mattavilasa's photostream
guygharvey's photostream


Aswin Kini said...

Are you speaking about the Akasha Linga at Chidambaram??? Could you throw more light on the origins of this linga. We would love to know its significance.

One more question: What is Vishnudhamottara?

kavitha said...


I was referrng to Nataraja and not Akasha linga. And throwing more light on the origin of that which never had an end or a start... how do answer that?

Akasha is what is, ether, consciousness. Its all around you, it is what you are made of. The Akasha linga is represented by the spatika linga which was installed by Adi Shankaracharya to this temple.

The Vishnudharmottara is the treatise that explains the art of painting. Its meaing, value, rules and execution.


Dr.Anil Joshi said...

Lord Shiva is worshipped as 5 elements at 5 different places in South India.1.Akash Linga(Ether):Chidambaram2.Water:Jambukeshwar.Trichy3.Fire:Arunachaleshwar,Tiruwannamalai4.Earth:Kanchipuram5.Air:Shri Kalahasti.This is just for record..As Kavitha has very rightly pointed out we try to fathom the divine ocean by our imagination & try to give form to the formless just like the proverbial blind men trying to describe an elephant!

Dr.Anil Joshi said...

sorry somehow missed 2!4.Earth:prithvi linga:Kanchipuram5.fire:Arunachaleshwar:Tiruvannamalai

kavitha said...

Hi Anilji

The order of the panchabhoota lingas is as follows.

Akasha linga - Chidambaram
Prithvi linga - Kanchipuram
Vayu linga - Kalahasti
Jambukeshwara linga - Thiruvanaikkaval on the island of Srirangam near Trichy
Agni Lingam - Thiruvannamalai

I realize how blind we all are and it disheartens me to see how much we want to remain blind.


Aswin Kini said...

Hi Dr. Anil Joshi and Kavitha, thanks for the information on the lingas based on the five forms of nature. I wanted to know the origin of the lingas only because the lord creates each Shrine for a specific reason. If you study the stories behind the origin of each temple, you get to learn some hidden moral which needs to be realised. When people want to know something, it is not that they are spiritually blind, it just means they want to know the hidden meaning that each temple conveys.
Sanathana Dharma is an ocean, temples and scriptures were created only because the layman can understand it only when it is given to him/ her in tangible form.

kavitha said...

Hi Aswin

Am not sure how much that theory works, though there is a lot of sense is what you said. Each temple does have a meaning for its existence but some might just be the fulfillment of a parigaram. Its to remove evil forces from affecting us or to be benefitted no matter how much we already possess.

We need to drop this ideology of wanting things and asking god to grant it and move to complete yunconditional adoration and then the answers will come forward to teh questions you have raised.

Answers that only you will udnerstand out of sheer bhakti that you cannot explain to anyone because language will cease to be the right medium for it.


parrot ck3100 said...

Hi Kavitha
You have given very accurate information though I am not aware of all this but always enjoys spritual discussion especially of hindu god. I never pray but only know that god is with those who live for others. Thats all. Still I want to know from you that though i have never performed any spritual ceremony, bhajans, etc then also my heart is constantly filled with only one word that save animals, plants and poor people. Why so ? Even i can bear the situation when I see anything wrong happen with them. I can't stop myself. Please tell me what is this ?

JC said...

Hi all, 'I' would like to point out that 'Hindu' believed in God to exist in some energy form - that is He/ It/ She is formless immortal who resides within all physical forms. It is for this reason, since time immemorial, in India one finds that traditionally almost all forms are worshipped in some corner or other, be it plant life or human life or even an idol.

In view of the above, the basic idea was to attempt to reach the apparently unreachable Creator in any manner that pleases you!