The Thillai Nataraja Temple, or the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, is dedicated to the dance form of Nataraja. This temple is located in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. Lord Shiva, is seen in a dancing pose here. Chidambaram when split into two words, means Chit (gyana or wisdom) and Ambaram (akasha or space).
There are 8 Lord Shiva temples that fall in exactly the same longitude (79°E 41’54”) and the Thillai Nataraja temple in Chidambaram is also one of them. It is truly an amazing wonder as it was built towards the 2nd century AD and was rebuilt by the Cholas in the 10th century AD at a time when there were no known satellites or locations indicating satellites Read on to find out more.
Apart from other mysteries surrounding this temple, the architecture of Chidambaram temple resembles human physique. Scientists have explored the mystery of this temple for centuries and finally concluded that Nataraj’s posture resembles the cosmic dance. When we see the universe beyond the level of the galaxy, we reach a point where all of space looks like an exact replica of a statue of Nataraj.
Chidambara Rahasyam: Secrets
- The temple in its construction resembles the human body with all its tiny parts.
- There are five walls encircling each other which denote the five kosas or sheaths of human existence. five walls surrounding each other are the kosas (sheaths) of human existence. The five Koshas are the Annamaya (material body), Pranamaya (life force or prana), Manomaya (thoughts), Vigyanamaya (intellect) and Anandamaya (bliss) parts of the human body.
- Lord sits as jiva in the body which is his house. The sanctuary is always extinct because it represents the heart which is enclosed on all sides. Entrance gopuras are the feet of a person lying on his back.
- The flag pole denotes the sushumna nadi which rises from the base of the mooladhar spine to the sahasrar which is the top of the head.
Chidambaram temple and its symbolism
- The roof has 26,000 golden tiles (see photo), indicating the number of breaths a person takes per day.
- These tiles are attached to the wooden roof using 72,000 nails representing the number of nadis (the invisible conduits carrying energy to different parts of the body).
- The heart is on the left side of the chest. Similarly, the shrine or Ponnambalam is aligned towards the left side.
- At the top of the roof of Chitsabha there are nine kalasas which represent nine Shaktis or powers.
- The roof has 64 crossed wooden reapers which represent the 64 arts.
- The Artha mandapa has six pillars which denote six shastras.
- The Mandapa next to the Artha mandapa has eighteen pillars which represent the eighteen Puranas.
- There are five steps leading to the Chit sabha from the Kanaka sabha representing the five-letter Panchakshara mantra (Na ma chi va ya)
- The Chit sabha roof is supported by four pillars symbolic of the four Vedas.
Nataraja’s dance represents the five divine acts of:
a. Creation – He holds damaru in his right hand. He is the origin of Sound. He is the point of creation of all beings.
b. Protection – He shows the ‘Abhaya Mudra’, in the other right hand, which shows that he is a kind protector.
vs. Destruction – His left hand is the abode of fire, which destroys the world when it is time. When everything is destroyed, there remains ash that he applied to his body.
D. The foot, which is on the ground, shows the gesture of hiding.
e. The raised foot shows the gesture of giving.
- Nataraja To his left is Parvati and to his right is the screen, which during deepadhana is removed to reveal five long hangings of golden bilva leaves. Behind that, there is nothing. The dikshitars or priests of this temple, explain that the idol of Parvati is the sagun brahman, which leads to Lord Shiva, who is the nirgun brahman. This is part of the Chidambara rahasya that these priests explain.
- Shiva’s dance, generally known as the cosmic dance, is called Anand tandava by the people of Chidambaram.
- In a nearby mandapa called chitrakoota, we can see Lord Vishnu in a fully reclining yoga nidra pose on the sesh nag bed. From a particular angle, you can see Lord Nataraja on his left side.
- Sages Patanjali and Thirumoolar were the audience of Lord Shiva’s tandav at Chidambaram. Thus, their numbers are embossed on the silver doors of Chit Sabha.
- After 8 years of research, Western scientists have found that Lord Nataraja’s big toe is the center point of the world’s magnetic equator. This temple is also located at the center point of the magnetic equator of the world.
- Among the 5 temples, which represent the pancha bhootas, Chidambaram designates the Heavens. Kalahasthi means Wind. Kanchi Ekambareswar means earth. All these 3 temples are aligned in a straight line at 79 degrees 41 minutes longitude. This can be figured out by studying it in google.
- There are 4 pillars holding the Kanagasabha representing the 4 Vedas. Ponnambalam has 28 pillars indicating the 28 agamas and methods used to worship Lord Shiva. These pillars support 64 + 64 roof beams which designate the 64 arts. The cross beams designate our blood vessels.
- Lord Nataraja’s dance is described as a cosmic dance by Western scientists.
- Devotees strongly believe that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati reside inside the sanctum and only enlightened souls can see them.
- Lord Shiva is worshiped in three forms, the ratna sabha, the crystal lingam and the chidambara rahasya form. Firslty Ratna Sabha is a small ruby Natraja idol, which glows when the flame is shown on the back of the idol.
- The second is the crystal lingam which is worshiped 6 times a day. The third is the “Chidambara Rahasya” in which God is worshiped as formless. In this ritual, the priest unveils the black curtain which represents ignorance and reveals the golden leaves of bilva which denotes wisdom. This is based on the idea that Lord Shiva leads from ignorance to wisdom.
- CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, installed a 2m tall statue of Nataraja in 2004. The center is dedicated to researching the deepest secrets of the universe’s ‘cosmic dance’. CERN is the abbreviation of the French “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire”, which was founded in 1952 with the intention of establishing a world-class fundamental physics research organization in Europe. Physicists and engineers at CERN use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to search for the basic constituents of matter – fundamental particles
Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the Internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any entry or information related to the article and our sole purpose is to provide information. Boldsky does not believe in or endorse any superstitions.
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Article first published: Sunday, August 14, 2022, 10:00 a.m. [IST]