The Chidambara Rahasyam

The Chidambara Rahasiyam

Chidambara Rahasyam (translation, “the secret of Chidambaram”) . Lord Nataraja at the Chitsabha in Chidambaram. To the left of The Lord’s idol is the 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 Shakti or energy called Sivakami. A curtain covers this space which when drawn reveals strands of golden ‘Bilva’ 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 Bilva leaves. To the right is the deity of His Consort Goddess Sivakamasundari. Since ancient times, it is believed that this is the place where Lord Shiva and Parvathi are present, but are invisible to the naked eyes of normal people. In the Chidambaram temple of Lord Nataraja, Chidambara Rahasyam is hidden by a curtain (Maya). Darshan of Chidambara Rahasiyam is possible only when priests open the curtain (or Maya) for special poojas. People who are privileged to have a darshan of Chidambara Rahasiyam can merely see golden bilva leaves (Aegle Marmelos) signifying the presence of Lord Shiva and Parvathi in front of them. It is also believed that devout saints can only see the Gods in their physical form.

During the daily rituals, the Chief priest, of the day, ocassionally parts the curtain, indicating the withdrawal of ignorance and reveals the space, and The Lord’s presence. The Chidambara Rahasya, is hence representative of that time when one, in total surrender, allows God to intervene and remove our ignorance, even as we get to ‘see and experience’ His presence and hence – bliss.