Chidambaram(Chitrambalam) Thillai Natarajar Temple.
Thiru-Chitrambalam(Sree-Small Shaba)-Thillai(Milky Mangrove Tree ) Ambalathar(Head of Shabha)-Koothan(Dancer) kovil(Temple) -is famously called as Chidambaram Natarajar Temple .Chidambaram is foremost temple for all the Shiv temples in TAmilNadu .Where the Lord here is in the Form Of Both "AHkasha Lingam"(Sky , Formless form ,Divine Ether Space as Linga ) one identified by Yogi's and Natarajar with his divine enchantress "Devi Sivakama Sundari" for normal human vision .
According to Chidambaram Mahatmayam (Recorded Scared history of this temple with is mentioned in Skanda Purana too
) Once in the forest of Thillai (Near the present Pichavaram Wetlands in Eastern coast of Bey of Bengal,Tamil Nadu
) there lived a group of sages who believe in black Magics and started experimenting them in all demi gods to defeat them with their powers . Hence all the demi gods surrendered Lord Shiva for help.Lord shiv called Lord Vishnu hence he came in MOhini Form to help him.LOrd shiv took the most enchanting lusterious "Bhikshandar" Avator (simple mendicant seeking alms
) with Mohini (Vishnu in disguise )
as his wife (May be living together who knows )
and entered the Thillai forest where the sages are residing .The Rishi Patnis became mad at the sight of Bhikshandar and began to follow him where ever he goes and the Young Disciples are mad at the sight of Mohini and followed her all her way .This angered their Masters and they commanded a black snake to kill Bhikshandar .But to their surprise LOrd used the snake as a garland around his neck and the Masters commanded a wild tiger to kill him ,secondly Lord used its skin as a Waist cloth for him.Masters out of peak anger formed a demon with all their ignorance and commanded him to kill Bhikshandar . when the demon(Muyalagan
) arrived Bhikshander defeated him to the land and began to dance over him .Thus the Cosmic dance is delivered by LOrd with the world reverberating to his steps ,which makes the Rishi's and co to realize their ignorance that God is out all magics and powers of this world . Hence the ignorance of the sages got vanished and they surrendered to the foot of lord .Lord accepted to consize himself and perform the Cosmic dance as Ahnanda Thandav for ever in that place .
Apart from all the crap activities of the Sages One couple remained constraint in all rituals and habits according to dharma ,They are Sage Vasista and his wife Arundathi ,even they are not attracted by Mohini and Bhishandars Charisma 's . So Lord gave them a special place in Shapta Rishi Mandal of Stars in Sky .
Adjacent to Lord Natarajar (King Of Dance) ,there resides Lord Govinda Raja Swami ,its is because that ,Once when LOrd shiv was performing Ahnanda Thandav which was experienced by Lord Vishnu in the form of vibirations in his body . The weight of the body is varies from second to second and became unbearable to SheshNag .SO Adhi Sheshan the serpent bed of Lord vishnu Questions him for the reason behind his Constant Vibrating Body. Lord Vishnu in his blissful state explains the shutra's of Cosmic Dance delivered by LOrd shiv,being his Ahrdanari (Shankara Narayan form) ,he is also enjoying the same bliss and vision of Lord Shiv 's Dance . By hearing this ,Shesh Nag desired the vision of Lord Shiv's Ahnanda Thandav for himself .So Lord Vishnu advised him to take the form of Rishi Patanjali and mediate on Lord Shiv for his Vision of Cosmic Dance. Engrossed in love and devotion Shesh Nag descended on Earth as Rishi Patanjali and traveled towards Chidambaram as directed by Lord Vishnu ,he meditated there and enlightened with the vision of Lord Shiv's Cosmic dance .
Hence Lord Govindha Raja Swamy is believed to be eternally enjoying Shiva's Cosmic dance forever in that Temple residing adjacent to him .
World knows MA kali is the Queen Goddess for all Black magicians ,so Thillai KAli was worshipped by all locals and Rishivars on that time ,so she felt the Disturbance ,that Lord shiv is dancing inside her domain area (Pitchavaram wetlands ).So she Opponents the Decision of Lord Residing there Forever . Lord Shiva therefore challenged Her to a dance competition on condition that if He won then She would be banished from that area. The competition began. While Naradha played the veena, Nandikeswara played the drums and other celestial musicians accompanied with their instruments Lord Shiva danced with his hair flung in all directions. With the 'vedas' as his anklets, the serpent as his waist band, the tiger skin as his attire with Ganga and the crescent moon on his crest, He performed the 'Ananda thandavam'. At one stage Lord Shiva took a pose with His left foot raised above His head but modesty prevented Goddess Kali can't match the same pose. Thus She lost the competition and had taken residence in the northern end of Chidambaram in the Thillaiamman temple. Hence Ma kali remembered her true self as Parvati and became his consort in the name Of Sivakama sundari by joining his Nirtiya of Cosmic dance .
Patanjali , VyagraPathar And Other Sages.
Lord Shiva is pleased by the Penance of Rishi Patanjali and Blessed him to prophet the Benefits Yoga Sastra through written records by him.Hence Rishi Patanjali stayed there for a long time by enjoying the vision of Cosmic Dance of lord every day.
It is said that Rishi Madyandinar had a son . He, under the direction of his father, came to the forest of Thillai and worshipped the 'Lingam', which had self appeared there. He usually got up early before daybreak to collect flowers with which to perform his pooja. One morning he could not collect the flowers early as it was dark and cloudy and he could not see the flowers. After daybreak he went to collect the flowers and found that the flowers had been polluted by the bees and was grief stricken. Lord Shiva on seeing his devotee grief stricken took pity on him and gave him the eyes and limbs of a tiger so that he could see in the dark and climb trees easily to collect the flowers. Thus he came to be known as 'Vyagrapadar' and the forest where he lived as 'Vyagrapuram' or 'Puliyoor' (city of Tiger) .Both Patanjali and Vyagrapathar is envisioned by Lord till their Samadhi state .
There are Said to be 18 Siddas in TamilNadu where most of them are from Various parts of World even from Java,China etc ...Where Siddar Thiru Mular is crown among them is said to be in samadhi here (Chidambaram temple).
so i would like to share the story of Thirumular which less known to common people beyond Tamilnadu...
A Shiva saint named Sundaranathan, a vedha scholar from Kailash, wanted to visit and stay with sage Agasthyar at the podhikai mountains which is modern day Tamil Nadu(India). He started on his journey southwards, praying at holy temples - Kedar, Shirshailam, Thirukkalththi, Alavanam, Kanchi taking holy bath in sacred rivers like Ganga, reached river Cauvery. After taking bath in the holy river and praying at the temple Thiruvavaduthurai, continued his journey southwards and then went back his destination Podhikai Hills where Sage Agasthyar still residing . Nearing the outskirts of the village Chaththanur of Cholanadu, he saw a herd of cows in great distress. Their herdsman (Idayan) by name Moolan has died on the banks of the river and the cows were in grief. The Yogi realizing that the cows would be consoled only if Moolan comes alive, a splendid sidhdha through his yogic powers transmigrated his Atma to the body of Moolan through air, hid his own body nearby and he rose as thirumoolar.The relieved cows grazed happily on the riverbanks and went back to the village in the evening cared by Thirumoolar. Thirumoolar waited there till all the cows entered their respective houses.Then he searched his Original body ,but to his surprise ,that disappeared ,so he took this as god's wish to stay in a Tamilian Body ,hence returned .Moolan's wife saw him going to a mut (a place where bhakthas or saintly personalities live) instead of their house. To her laments,the learned elderly people of the town told the girl that Moolar has entered the shivayoga. Then he Started mediating for nearly 3000 years and recorded the text in palm leaves every year ,when he wake ups from deep maditation .Which is later called Thirumandiram .
Thirumandiram, is indeed a spiritual encyclopaedia. It contains a synthesis of all knowledge right from the Upanishad times down to the then-modern days of devotional revival, goes through all the maze and mystery of yoga and tantra, contains very strong criticisms of idol worships, condemns external gymnastics of occult practices, and expounds the esoteric significance of almost every kind of ritual and tradition. He even wrote in Thirumandiram about the various stages of development of a baby in its mothers womb. It is profound to the core, set in simple and cryptic style. The careful and rhythmic way in most of the verses can be enjoyed if one knows Tamil language Properly . He is said to have absorbed the teachings of Shri Patanjali Maharishi. He is said to be Transformed his Soul to three bodies in his Lifetime .But Mulan is the Body he has entered first ,so he is called by this name Thirumular (Sree Mular) fully throughout his life .After finishing Thirumandiram (It cant be easily interpret by even learned scholars ,Because each and every Mantra is an outcome of One full year of wisdom gained through Mediation ),He attained Samadhi in Chidambaram by dually envisioning Cosmic Dance Of Lord Shiv.
Thirumular is one 64 Nayanmars too (Tamil saints).
Where Nandanar one among the 64 Nayanmars Is a Dalit. During his period Dalits are not allowed to go inside the temple by Temple priest.Hence all the dalits just can have the vision of "Raja Gopura " and can worship it from a distance .Once Nandan a dalit aspire to worship LOrd Nataraja inside temple complex ,so he have a habit of telling every one that he is going to Chidambaram tomorrow out of love towards Lord Nataraj (So people call him Thiru nallai povar (will Go on Honored tomorrow) ) .So Nandan asked permission to leave for Chidambaram from his Master who is a land Lord .The master accept at one condition that ,he can depart only after harvesting all the fields with in two days .Nandan astonished that , being rainy season it takes nearly two full months to harvast the crops.So he cried for help towards Shivji. To his surprise all the crops are fully grown and harvested in the last minute . It is said Shivji Ordered Bhudagana's to do all works with in seconds for Nandan.Hence by fulling his Masters Task he started his journey towards Chidambaram from his home town Ahdanur . Where Lord shiv Appeared in dream of all 3000 Priest of Chidambaram and asked to welcome Nandan a pure hearted dalit with all honor. Hence he is welcomed with all appellations and hence Nandanar is accepted as one of the Nayanmar by Lord and he merged with Lord Nataraj In the Inner sanctum through a Holy Fire which emerged there .
Temple's Unique Construction.
The place where the Lord delivered Cosmic Dance is in center of the Equator Line (Like a radius to a circle ) .Hence it is believed to be the most powerful Astral point on earth .
It is said that lord decided to reside here ,for better balancing of World ,where its indirectly maintaining the Magnetic force to connect all the tectonical plates in a appealing way. Other central end is believed to Bermuda Triangle . Where Chidambaram(Sky) is one of the" Pancha Bhutha Sthalas"(Five elements of nature-Fire,Sky ,Air,Earth,Water ) .All these temples are located in South India with four of these temples at Tamil Nadu and one at Andra Pradesh. The five elements are believed to be enshrined in the five lingams and each of the lingams representing Shiva in the temple have five different names based on the elements they represent. In the temple, Shiva is said to have manifested himself in the form of sky(Ahgasa Lingam). The Five manifestations are
Ahgasa Lingam(representing Sky) at Chidambaram Temple,Chidambaram.
Prithivi Lingam (representing land) at Ekambareshwar Temple,Kanchipuram.
Appu Lingam (representing Water) at Thiruvanaikaval Temple.Trichy.
Agni Lingam (representing fire) at Annamalaiyar Temple. Thiruannamalai.
Vayu Lingam (representing air) at Srikalahasthi Temple.Near Tripathi.
Three of the five Panchaboothasthala temples, those at Kalahasti, Kanchipuram and Chidambaram all stand on a straight line exactly at 79 degree 41 minutes East longitude - truly an engineering, astrological and geographical wonder. Of the other two temples, Tiruvanaikkaval is located at around 3 degrees to the south and exactly 1 degree to the west of the northern tip of this divine axis, while Tiruvannamalai is around midway (1.5 degree to the south and 0.5 degree to the west).
The First Inner Sanctum is constructed by a Architect called PerumThachan.Lord Chidambaranathar is the Royal Family Deity For Chola Kings (who coronate's their royal heir in this temple complex from time to time under Lord Natarajar's Grace) .BUt many other Kings from various Dynasties Patronaged several gifts and uplifted the elevations of the Temple complexes many times.It is said, when there exist a shortage for Priest for the temple Offerings and service (Since all of them went to Pandiyan Kingdom due to high Hostage) .The Earlier Chola Kings imported 3000 Priest(called Dikshitars who follow Vedic rituals not Ahgama rules which is followed by AdhiTamil Saivate priest ) from Kasi as per Lords Wish (ordered in their dream) and allocated separate town for them in around Chidambaram temple and instructed them to render the service for Lord Natarajar forever .Hence till now after 2500 years too ,their descendants are serving Lord Natarajar in Chidambaram Temple. The puranas, Sangam literature and the Tirumurai canon (works of songs based on Shiv in Tamil )join several epigraphs and murals in highlighting the brilliance of the temple site and the devotion of Patajali, Vyaghrapada-Pulikaalmunivar and patanjali to Nataraja at Thillai. The sthala puranam as well as umapathi sivacharya's koyil puranam give an account of how an ancient chola prince of kritayugam or first of epochal ages. worshipped the lord's feet at chidambaram and being blessed with a vision of his was further helped by saint vyaghrapada to consecrate a place of worship therewith. The temple Stone Inscriptions and some cholan and pandyan literature refer to this sthala puranam.
Inscriptions Stated that
Chola King Kocengannan who reigned in the first half of the 2nd century CE was born after his parents King Subhadevan and Kamaladevi worshipped in the Thillai Golden Hall (Pon Ambalam ) for a child. He expanded the shrine in his later life and added further to unfinished decorations.And later the travelling Pallava-Chola king Simhavarman (II or III) to get rid of his sin, who reigned in the 5th-6th century CE was cured of leprosy by bathing in the Shivagangai tank(Temple tank) and in gratitude made extensive repairs and additions to the temple. He changed his name to Hiranyavarman or "golden bodied." . The sangam (Tamil sangams )works refer to the temple being favoured and donated huge sum of money for construction purpose ,by all the three ancient crowns of south, the Neriyan (cholas), chezhiyan (pandyas) and uthiyan (cheras), even if the temple was in what was traditionally chola country.
Human Anatomy in temple Architecture.
There are nine gateways in the Temple which Signifies the 9 orifices in the human body.The Chitsabai or Ponnambalam, the sanctum sanctorum represents the heart (it is slightly left not in the middle of temple map ,representing the human heart which is left to the body ) is reached by a flight of 5 stairs called the Panchaatchara padi - pancha meaning 5,achhara ' indestructible syllables "SI VA YA NA MA"(by reciting this five syllable mantra one can reach moksha ,keeping this mantra in human heart is symbolically stated here), from a raised anterior dias - the Kanakasabai(hall where main deity resides ). The access to the Sabhai is through the sides of the stage (and not from the front as in most temples). The Chit sabha roof is supported by four pillars symbolic of the four vedas like four veins in our heart The Ponnambalam or the Sanctum sanctorum is held by 28 pillars representing the 28 agamas or set methodologies for the worship of Shiva. The roof is held by a set of 64 beams representing" Ahyarkalai Arbathinalu" and ( the 64 forms of art )is held by several cross beams representing the innumerable blood vessels. The roof has been laid by 21,600 golden tiles (ponkurai -Goden hut ) with the word "SI VA YA NA MA"inscribed on them representing 21600 breaths. The golden tiles are fixed using 72,000 golden nails which represents the no of nadis (nerval points ) exists in human body. This golden roof is constructed by the king named Paranthaka Cholan I of 9 Cent A.D.The roof is topped by a set of 9 sacred pots or kalasams, representing the 9 forms of energy. The artha mandapa(sanctum) has six pillars denoting the six shastras (holy texts).The hall next to the artha mantapa has eighteen pillars symbolizing the eighteen puranas.
There are 5 ambalams or sabhas (halls) inside the temple.
Chit Ambalam or Chit Sabha -
Lord Nataraja with is Consort Sivakami resides (Main deity).
Pon Ambalam or Kanaka Sabha -
It is the golden hall (upper ceiling is made up of gold ,can notice still now)in front of the Chit Ambalam (connected to it), from where the daily rituals are conducted.
Nrithya sabhai or Natya sabhai -
56 pillared hall near temple flag mast where Lord Nataraja and kali danced. .
Raja sabhai or the 1000-pillared hall -
Its represents the Crown Chakra of human body which having 1000 petal lotus as its shape.Which is visualized by our third eye .
Deva Sabha or Pancha Moorthi shabha-
Ganesh, Somaskanda (seated posture of Siva with Pavarthi with Skanda in their middle) Sivananda Nayaki, Skanda and Chandikeshwar.
where the temple having more 1000 rooms and 100 secret ways to various parts of the city connected underground (they are closed now).The famous Thevaram (tamil hyms sung by Nayanmars Tamil saints) in palm leaves are stored in one the 1000 rooms of temple, which is later unnoticed by all the priest . so in due course they forgot the exact room in which they have stored (that much complex to find a room in vast temple building).So The chola king called "RAja Rajan the Great"(FATHER of Mighty Rajendran cholan who defeated the Pala king of Bengal and ruled nearly 80 % east Asian sea route countries in 10 cent A.D) requested the Pure Devotee of LOrd ganesh named Nambhi Ander Nambhi (holy bhramin ,when he was 5 yrs lord Ganesh himself took the food offered by him from his very own hands ) to find the whereabouts of palm leaves which contains thevaram songs . Hence he requested Lord Ganesh to help him ,hence Lord pointed a direction towards a room from which all the remaining of hymns are collected by the king .from this incident people called the Lord Ganesh's idol as "Sutti Vinayagar" (One who shows way or direction). Later Nambhi Ander nambhi wrote a book about the LIfe of various Nyanmars from the recused Hymns .
Which is later elaborated by Sekkilar in his Periyapuranam(4,272 verses) . It is said When Chola king called Ahnabhayan or KUlathungan Cholan II of 12 centh A.D asked Poet Sekkilar to compose the Periyapuranam(Periya - Large, purana which contains all the stories of Nyanmars 64 in no) .Poet seeked the help Of Lord Natarajar of Chitambaram ,SO LOrd helped him by giving the staring words of the Hymn as "Ulagellam" (Whole World ) .
Chidambara Rahasiyam or The Secret of Chidambaram Temple .
Lord Nataraj (Gold idols )with his Goddess Sivakami .To his Left is that Lord Shiva in his manifestation of formlessness is worshipped in Chidambaram. The Lord is said to continuously dance in a state of eternal bliss "Aananda thaandava", with his consort Sakthi or energy called Sivagami. A curtain covers this ether space which when drawn reveals strands of golden 'Vilva'(bael tree) leaves hung to indicate the Lord's presence. The curtain is dark on its exterior side (indicating ignorance) and bright red on the interior side (indicating wisdom and bliss). Chidambara Rahasya - represented by strands of gold Vilva leaves. To the right is the idol of His Consort Goddess Sivagamasundari.
Where Lord Nataraj depicts the master of Kuthu - Barathanatyam in the Anthropomorphic (dancing Statue) form rather than Lingam .The Chitsabha houses a small sphatika(crystal) linga (Chandramoulisvara), believed to be a piece that fell from the crescent adorning Shiva's head and installed by Adi shankara . The linga is associated with the intangible fifth element, akasha (ether or space),and offered puja for it .Chidambaram offers a combination of the three apects of Shaiva worship - of the form (Nataraja), of the form and the formlessness (linga) and of the formless "omnipresence". The last is suggested by a "Chidambara rahasya", a chakra inscribed on a wall and blackened by applying "punugu" (civet) and over which hangs a string of golden villa (bael) leaves. This can be viewed through the square chinks when the priest draws aside the "curtain of ignorance" the dark one above.
my next post will be after may 6 on Thiruvannamalai Temple pg7
Edited by vanadhi - 23 July 2012 at 2:59am