Today July 1st 2016 in the early morning the flaghoisting ceremony for the Ani Thirumanjanam Festival was performed in the Chidambaram Nataraja temple in Chidambaram. The first ceremony of every temple festival is the raising of Shiva’s banner in the Dvaja Stambha or Flag Pole. The flag pole of the temple conveys many meanings, one of which is that of the human spine. It is made of twelve rings, which symbolise the seven Chakras and the five Elements. Nagas or cobras rear up at its base. Their heads aspire towards the top of the pole, which is hidden beyond view, as it soars up through the temple roof.
Arohana and Avarohana
The raising of Shiva’s banner, a white cloth with Shiva’s emblems illustrated on it, his trident and damaru (the drum), the sacred bull Nandi, his vahana or vehicle represents Arohana. Arohana is the raising up of the spiritual energy. In the same way as the practise of yoga raises the Kundalini energy to the energy point at the crown of the skull, the energy of the temple festival will be raised through the processions and rituals performed throughout the coming ten days.
The Cosmic Rule is, that which goes up, has to come down. The Kundalini once raised through the spinal column to the Thousand Petalled Lotus at the top of the skull, has to be brought down, back to its starting point. That is the ultimate yogic attainment. In the same way, at the completion of the temple festival, after Lord Nataraja and Mother Shivakamasundari have returned to the Sabha on the tenth day, Shiva’s banner will be lowered in a simple ceremony of Avarohana. This marks the completion of the Festival.
Tonight the Panchamurti with Somaskanda in the lead, will move around the four car streets in the procession. The Deekshithars will be invoking the Navasandhi, the Nine Powers of the Directions, from Brahma at the centre onwards, through Vedic Chanting and Tamil hymns.