Tuesday, 4 September 2012


Chidambara Ragasiyam/Rahasyam (Tamil for "secret of Chidambaram") is a Hindu belief that there is a secret message conveyed through the embossed figure near the shrine of Shiva in Chidambaram temple.

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 Ragasiyam is hidden by a curtain (Maya). Darshan of Chidambara Ragasiyam is possible only when priests open the curtain (or Maya) for special poojas. People who are privileged to have a darshan of Chidambara Ragasiyam can merely see golden vilva leaves (Aegle Marmelos) signifying the presence of Lord Shiva and Parvathi in front of them. It is also believed that devout saints can see the Gods in their physical form, but no such cases have been officially reported.
The phrase "Chidambara Ragasiyam" really means something different. The pharse literally means a secret associated to Chidambaram - the place. Behind this is a real meaning to a secret. As described above there is a particular curtain kind of curtain which when removed enables us viewing the secret. The real significance of doing so is that, when the curtain which is "maya" is removed one can see his real self. And the seeing of oneself removing the curtain of maya is viewing the secret. According to legend, "Chidambara Ragasiyam" will never be revealed as it is the secret relating to a particular person who sees it removing the screen of "maya". In the temple, when the poojas are performed and the screen is removed, one will be able to see the secret only when he applies this to his mind and soul.
The Nataraja temple of Chidambaram is one of the 5 elemental temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, God or Ultimate Consciousness. Chidambaram means 'Sky of Consciousness'. This temple is dedicated to the element akasha or pure space or ether. Akasha is the only material substance that we can experience with our senses that can be used as an example of God; and that too only if we can somehow experience complete vacuum like in outer space.

To the left of the main Lord Nataraj or Dancing Shiva shine, there is a shrine that is called the 'Chidambaram Rahasiyam.' Chidambara Rahasiyam translates to the Secret of Chidambaram.
A carved stone lattice with little openings obstructs full view of this shrine. After the priests show the main arti or flame to Lord Natarja, he takes the flame to the Chidambara Rahasiyam shrine and directs attention to it. He will then say, "Look closely, see The Secret of Chidambaram. Look closely." He will show the flame for a few more seconds in the shrine to light it to allow devotees to catch sight of The Secret.
After the darshan visitors have testified to seeing a sight like a clear star lit night sky or flashes of light among other things. What is actually in the shrine of Chidambara Rahasiyam is a curtain of bilva leaves made of gold- 51 Golden Bilva Leaves that represent the sounds that create the universe; that create destinies.
When the curtain of Golden Bilva Leaves catch the light from the light offering or arti, it mimics the starlit night sky or space symbolizing the ultimate experience of God; of Ultimate Consciousness.

Chidambaram was the place that deified the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva (Aanandha Thaandavam). It has both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu shrines within the same temple. Apart from these two, there is also a golden garland hanging in space. It just literally hangs in the air without any idol or deity to adorn. That seemingly innocuous garland is the symbol of the Chidambara Ragasiyam, is the source of a wealth of knowledge. It signifies the fact that God has no form. Then why the garland, asked Ashwin to the priest there who explained the significance of the garland to him. The Priest simply said it was to cater, not to the doubters who denied the existence of God, but those believers who for the sake of clarity seek a well defined image or marker to direct their prayers to.
That is the Secret of Chidambaram, that God is formless and permeates everywhere. Hinduism, as I know, is polytheistic and among the most tolerant of religions. But here is one of the most revered shrines in South India saying despite all the Gods we worship and the numerous idols and shrines throughout the nation, that God has no form! This got me thinking about Hinduism in particular, and religion in general and it is claimed that even Muslims visit the Chidambaram shrine because God is worshipped as formless. Hard to believe and unverified,


  1. Nice article, It is quite amazing to know that the Chidambaram Temple has many unknown and interesting facts. Read this interesting article that enlights on the those interesting facts of the Chidambaram Temple.

  2. Nice Website."Chidambara Ragasiyam" really means something different. The pharse literally means a secret associated to Chidambaram.Try this homam Mrityunjaya Homam to Increased spiritual growth

  3. Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.