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Morning discourse at Shri Chidambaram Ananda Nataraja Sabhanayagar temple, Thousand pillared hall on 24th December, 2009 during the Margazhi Arudra Festival


“Today, the most precious and auspicious thing we have on earth is this body. Most of us think that our human birth and body are very ordinary and take them for granted. We also take each day that comes and goes in our lives for granted. That is why, though our minds get fresh, new thoughts everyday, the health and vitality of the body keeps getting depleted. This is happening because we do not have enough awareness to cherish the body and connect it to our Soul. Though the secret of how to nurture our Soul and link it with the body and mind has been revealed in the Vedas and Upanishads which are in Sanskrit, we have not understood this truth. Our ancestors were adept at Sanskrit which is the language of the Gods, but now most of us do not know this language. So when we go to the temple, though the priests chant Vedic mantras, take a resolution or Sankalpa and perform the worship on our behalf, we do not understand what they are chanting. So, we have cultivated the custom of asking God to resolve all our problems and fulfill our materialistic desires by giving us health, wealth, fame and success.

“We do this only because we have not realised the divine power we have in this unique, very precious body. It is to bring out this inherent power that the Sages gave us our rich spiritual heritage and said – “Continue this spiritual tradition of rituals, worship and festivals. However, as you celebrate them, remember that you are doing this mainly to foster and strengthen the link between yourself and God. As you go about your tasks everyday, do not forget this crucial link. Constantly cherish this divine relationship in your mind. Only when you use your body and mind with this awareness can you establish a permanent bond with God.”

“So, all of us have come here to link ourselves to God, but we should never visit this shrine mechanically. This is not just a temple; it is Kailasa, the holy abode of Lord Shiva Himself. We should be completely aware of the glory and significance of this temple if we want to tune in to His Grace completely. This knowledge will make devotion flow spontaneously from our hearts. We may know the historical background of this temple, but what is its spiritual secret? Though Lord Shiva is consecrated in many temples, this one is extremely unique. Here He has manifested Himself both as the Akasha Linga and as Ananda Nataraja.

“What is the significance of these two manifestations of Lord Shiva? The Sages have always been aware that God is primordial and eternal. He creates, sustains and dissolves the Cosmos into Himself according to His own Divine Will. They know that He is all pervasive, all knowing and all powerful. It was to emphasise this truth to all of us that Lord Shiva manifested as the Akasha Linga or column of etheric space which is invisible to our physical eyes. As the Akasha Linga, He is saying – “The whole Brahmanda or Cosmos is My Form. If I manifest before you only as a physically visible deity, you will keep trying to gauge Me with your puny logic and intellect. How can you measure Me when I am infinite and immeasurable? How can you gauge Me when I am beyond all forms and attributes? Become aware that you are My reflection. Understand your own true nature and realise that you are also infinite and eternal.” However, being aware that as human beings we need a visible form to worship and relate to, He manifested as Ananda Nataraja as well. Chidambaram was known to all the Sages and Saints as Tillai Vanam or Garden of Dance where Ananda Nataraja who is the Lord of the Cosmic Dance of Bliss generates and establishes joy in the world through His ecstatic dance everyday. Through this form He teaches us how to link the body and mind with our Soul to experience Ananda or supreme bliss...