This project is an initiative of the Raja Deekshithar Family which has as aim to transliterate, translate and publish several manuscript texts belonging to the temple tradition of the Shri Shiva Nataraja Temple of Chidambaram. It resides under the direction of the Pathathi Charitable Trust.
Pathathi Charitable Trust (Registered 625/2009, Pondicherry)
Our team (left to right): Kandhan Raja Deekshithar, Sankar Raja Deekshithar, Liesbeth Pankaja Bennink, Jayakumar Raja Deekshithar.
Koyil, The Temple, is how the Shri Sabhanayaka or Nataraja Temple of Chidambaram is known in southern India. It reflects its status as ‘prima inter paris’, the first and foremost among its equals. It is unique as it has its own Vedic doctrine and many exceptional features, was the foremost in receiving royal favour from the earliest historical times, is the focus of the attention through the ages of saints and poets, and of devotional fervour of millions of devotees from all over India, and today also from all over the world. As Raja Deekshithar wrote “The temple of Chidambaram is unique, but by means of understanding its architecture and its rituals, the reader will gain insight into all temples in India.”
The manuscripts and the doctrine
The Veda forms the root of all Hindu spirituality. Temple rituals and the underlying cosmology and spiritual teaching are founded on the Agamas. Between these the Nataraja temple is unique, because its doctrine is Vedic and Advaitic and its ritual and cosmology have been given by Patanjali Rishi. Several manuscripts that describe and explain this doctrine have been photographed by us. The temple’s tradition is carried by its oral traditions and also by rare manuscripts. Over the past century these manuscripts have become rare and also inaccessible as the script, Grantha, and the language, Sanskrit are not as much studied as they used to be. Due to lack of support and infrastructure. By transliterating, translating and publishing them in print media and online, we secure the preservation of these ancient important texts. Both for the priestly community and for all interested devotees and scholars.
Raja Deekshithar’s Vision
Raja Deekshithar’s vision looked both deep into the past and far into the future. He realised a tradition needs to be conscious and in possession of its sources to have life and growth. The historic developments of the 20th century have not been supportive of the many treasured Indian arts and sciences. Traditional supports systems have collapsed due to various developments. Links have been lost, temples have been left without care, awareness of the value and importance has not been handed to the younger generations. It was his hope and life-goal to bring out again in the light of our modern times the teachings of the Rishis for the future generations. We are now taking significant steps towards the realisation of Raja’s hopes and dreams for the future.
Transliteration, translation and publication of the texts
Transliteration to Devanagari, Tamil and Roman script
Translation to Tamil, English, possibly other languages such as Hindi if the demand is expressed and financially supported
Publication in print media as well as digitally
We hope to start this work on one of the texts as soon as financial support and infrastructure is in place. We are now surveying the texts in order to decide which one should have priority.
Preserving the knowledge of the tradition
Safeguarding it for future generations
Training the younger generation into the science of translation and interpretation, transference of knowledge
Making it accessible once again to the priestly community
Enabling devotees to have a better understanding of doctrine and tradition (theology), comparable to the translation of the Christian Bible from Latin into English and other vernacular languages in the latter part of the Middle Ages.
Enabling scholars to study the doctrines of the Chidambaram temple
Enable research and discussion
We have photographed several manuscripts containing texts belonging to the Chidambaram Shri Nataraja Temple traditions and doctrine, some titles are: Cidambara Mahatmyam; Sambaprathishtakalpa; Citsabhesotsavaprayogasarasangraha; Cidambara Saktinirnaya; Sivaganga Sahasranama etc.
Raja Deekshithar Family Team
Liesbeth Pankaja Bennink
Kandhan Raja Deekshithar
Sankar Raja Deekshithar
Jayakumar Raja Deekshithar
Contact us with questions, suggestions or to contribute