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Friday, March 28, 2014


By Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamiji
The dancing Nataraja and the reclining Rangaraja are but dual expressions of the one Supreme. Different schools of philosophy have come into existence to satisfy the needs of varying human temperaments, tastes and aspirations and any path, if consistently pursued, will lead to the same goal.


In most of our temples, the principal deity is installed to face east, though in a few temples we have the deity facing west also. In the latter case, the principal gopuram (tower) will be on the eastern side. But in Chidambaram and Srirangam, the deities face south, as if proclaiming to the devotees that they are there to protect them from the threat coming from the south, namely, mortality, as the God of Death, Yama, hails from that direction. As Lords of the entire created world, both are called "Raja", and each holds His court in a ranga (stage), the Lord of Chidambaram dancing in joy with uplifted leg and the Lord of Srirangam stretching himself at ease in the repose of yoga nidra. Dakshinamurti, another aspect of Siva, is also found facing south. Nataraja stands for aananda (bliss), which expresses itself in the dynamic rhythm of ecstatic dance.

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