Raja Deekshithar (R.N.Natarajarathina Deekshithar, 1949-2010) combined the qualities of a critical researcher and scholar with those of a dedicated ritual expert of Shri Nataraja and Shri Chamundeshvari and Tillai Kali of Chidambaram. He aimed to achieve a synthesis between the East and West in his life and in his work. He was both a high priest of the Shri Shiva Nataraja temple in Chidambaram and a scholar who felt it was neccesary to understand the tradition in order to preserve it. His vision was to build a bridge between ancient concepts and modern understanding. From this motivation he researched many aspects of ritual, art, and history and published his findings in books and articles. He dedicated his life to the temples and traditions of Shiva Nataraja en Tillai Ambal in Chidambaram, to his community, family and his friends and students. Dr.Sharada Srinivasan described him as “truly remarkable as an openminded and generous scholar and humanist, and something of a Renaissance personality in his abilities, interests and writings in so many fields, in art history, archaeoastronomy, and compositions for dance and music…”. His passing left many of his projects unfinished. His family and students are carrying these forward.


R.N.Natarajarathina (Raja) Deekshithar (1949-2010)
Raja Deekshithar (1949-2010)


Dr.Sharada Srinivasan, Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore.

I am writing to share my deep sorrow at the unexpected and devastating loss of Shri Raja Deekshitar. Raja Deekshitar who hailed from the community of hereditary priests of Deekshitar of the Chidambaram temple was truly remarkable as an openminded and generous scholar and humanist, and something of a Renaissance personality in his abilities, interests and writings in so many fields, in art history, archaeoastronomy, and compositions for dance and music, and his remarkable humility with all that…it is a huge loss for the world of humanists and scholars and those of us who benefitted from his generosity will deeply miss his vibrant energy and kindness…He wrote with such wonderful lucidity, flair and inspiring zeal about so many aspects of Nataraja worship at Chidambaram, while at the same time maintaining a certain scientific objectivity in his work…he conveyed a sense of the co-exisence of science and religion, tradition and modernity…his loss leaves a huge void… Sharada Srinivasan


Fritjof Capra, physicis and best-selling author (The Tao of Physics)

I greatly enjoyed my correspondence with him and appreciated his scholarship and wisdom. Thank you for the beautiful photograph, which I will treasure. With warm regards from Berkeley, Fritjof Capra


Michael Wood, historian, author and television presenter, Mayavision International.

Thank you for letting me know this sad news, and for the beautiful photo. I am very sorry indeed-and shocked- to hear about Raja’s death. I can hardly believe it. As you may know we (Rebecca and me) first met him more than twenty years ago, and he met our daughters when we first took them to Chidambaram and to Nataraja’s temple in the late nineties. He sometimes used to call on the phone when he was visiting Holland and was always kind about the various films we made which were often shown over there. (He appears-and speaks- in the first film we made in Tamil Nadu, a film about a journey in India appropriately called ‘Darshan’ ) Over the years I have kept an eye on his various writings on the web and was aware of some of his projects, including his lovely book on the secret of Chidambaram . I still have his photo on my noticeboard at work (sitting on the steps of the dance school in East Car St, among hibiscus flowers) and also a sheet of his old green headed note paper, with a quote from an unfinished novel he was working on back then. It does not need me to say it, but he was a very extraordinary person. I wrote a book many years ago about Chidambaram and our friends there (especially Mrs M Nagaratinam’s family, to whom we are still very close) : inspired by Kamil Svelebil it was called ‘The Smile of Murugan’ but now is ‘A South Indian Journey’ and in it there is a light hearted but affectionate sketch of Raja which he said made him smile: his conversation recorded in the book really did happen – for as you know he really could and did quote from Shakespeare, Robert Pirsig and the Tevaram in the same sentence! The book I always hoped he would write was his own autobiography. Please send our best wishes to Sakti and to Raja’s children and grandchildren. Where are they living now? Raja had many friends acquaintances and pupils from all over the world, and though I was not among his close friends, because our paths first crossed personally and creatively long ago, I feel as if I have known him for a long time. I admired him and am glad that in our small way ,both in book and film, we have passed some of his words and thoughts on to the wider world All the best from our family Rebecca Michael Jyoti and Mina


Eddie Stern and Robert Moses, Publishers & Editors of the journal NAMARUPA, Categories of Indian Thought

We are so saddened to hear this news. We had never met Raja in person, and only had correspondence with him through email, however we felt he was a friend and had often thought that we would like to meet him in Chidambaram. He was generous with his time and expertise with us and our magazine, and his contributions were always erudite, scholarly and as well a joy to read. We will miss his presence and commemorate him in our magazine.
Please let us know how we can support his family as well.
Yours truly,
Eddie Stern and Robert Moses


Rick Pettigrew of The Archaeology Channel

I am shocked and saddened to learn that my friend Raja has passed away. He was a kind, generous and gentle man whom I admired greatly. A fitting embodiment of India, he was comfortable carrying on age-old traditions while fully embracing today’s world. He gave me a standing invitation to visit him in India and I hoped to be able to go and meet him in person. Raja produced two small films (“Sphinx of India” and “Shri Shiva Nataraja: His Temple in Chidambaram”) that we webcast on The Archaeology Channel (archaeologychannel.org). We always have intended to maintain them there, but now we have a special reason to do so, which is to honor the memory of Raja Deekshithar. Thank you for informing me of Raja’s passing. I hope you and your friends and Raja’s family will take some comfort from these words and those of others who share their feelings with you. With sympathy, Rick Pettigrew


Neil Greentree, photographer at the Smithsonian Institute

My friend Raja, I met Raja around 1986 in Chidambaram Temple, we immediately fell into deep conversation about philosophy and temple architecture, we climbed the west side gopuram to the top so I could take photographs of the view, talking as we climbed we discussed the dance of Shiva ,the meaning of the dance and the symbolism of Nataraja all the way up until we reached the top when there were no words only awe at the breathtaking early morning light covering the whole temple complex. Raja was (I do not like to use the word was) Raja is alive in my mind and my heart,we became friends and had many serendipitous meetings over the years. Once in the 90’s, after maybe 5 years, we saw each other on the street and Raja remembered Aha! You are Greentree the photographer , it was like the years just dissolved. I shared some of my images of Chidambaram temple with him, I was carrying some prints with me in the hope of finding some of the people I had photographed over the years. This was before email and internet connections when you really did live in the moment except for the post which was unreliable more often than not. So some more years flew by with a few trips to India, they were focused on Rajasthan with unfortunately no visits to the south. With the introduction of email we came in contact again and I found out that he and his family had moved to Pondicherry where 2 years ago I found myself being welcomed into his new house. More wonderful conversation that seemed to flow like a river ensued. He shared his sphinx research with me and a year or so later we both ended up next to each other on the same web site http://www.asianart.com/ — Raja with his articles on sphinxes and Mamallapuram and mine with photographs of wooden temple statues embedded in an article by Mary Slusser, with whom I had traveled to Nepal to do a series of photographs for her upcoming book, The Antiquity of Nepalese Wood Carving: A Reassessment. So here we were again crossing paths electronically and then we exchanged emails and promises to visit soon. I had planned on visiting with him again last Jan but my trip did not materialize. Raja has touched many people over the years with his genuine love and incredible energy along with an amazing enthusiasm and passion for knowledge and understanding. I will really miss visiting with him and exploring streams of consciousness and thought- provoking ideas, it is such a loss but as he would have said, it is the cosmic dance of Nataraja and he is in Chidambaram the centre of the universe, the centre is the heart and Raja abided in that centre where there is no death. Om Namah Shivaya Neil Greentree Washington DC


Kavitha, blogger at Indian Temples and Iconography

It really saddens me to hear about this news. Its uncanny that it was a week ago that I felt it had been a while since I communicated with him and wanted to mail him to find out how he was. I have very sweet memories about the time I spent with Raja Deekshitar. He was very kind to send me a copy of his work on Chidambaram temple when we were just acquaintances on the Internet. I showcased his link on my site and he was kind to showcase my blog on his site and consider it valuable and worth the mention. I have fond memories of having a darshan of Lord Nataraja at the Chidambaram temple and in the company of Raja Deekshitar the experience was worth every minute. I don’t think I will get this kind of luck again to feel as if am family and be treated as a guest and be shown all the rituals and view them for as long as I wanted without being pushed around. I am really happy he would give my mother the same experience as well. I pray to Lord Chidambara Nataraja to bless his soul and lead him to higher spiritual achievements in his journey beyond this life. – Kavitha [Blogger: Indiatemple.blogspot.com]


Ian Alsop of asianart.com

So sorry not to have responded immediately. I must say I was terribly shocked by the news, and had started a message but never completed it (I was in Nepal at the time). My most heartfelt condolences to all the family and colleagues of Raja Deekshithar. I was very sad to lose him as a newly acquired colleague in the field of South Asian cultural and art studies, and was eagerly looking forward to continuing our collaboration with him. His articles have been an important contribution to Asianart.com, and I was so looking forward to more. His research was impeccably carried out, his command of English at a very high level, and his point of view that of someone with a great deal of experience in the art and culture of India. I was frankly astonished to have “met” him on the Internet, and am very glad I did. I well know that your feeling of loss must be much greater than mine, but I want you to know that I feel Raja’s passing as the loss of many future important contributions to understanding the culture he so deeply loved and knew so well. with best wishes Ian Ian Alsop


Nancy Freeman Patchen, author and seeker at Timeless India

Liesbeth, Thank you for notifying me of this tragic occurance. It’s strange, I was thinking of Rajaji a week or so ago, and thinking I haven’t talked to him in ages, I need to contact him–then I received the notice. Please convey my condolances to Shakti, who probably won’t remember me, since I met her in 1990. They had a small baby then! Life will go on in new ways. Thank goodness for all the family support that is availble in India–particularly south India. BE WELL Nancy Freeman


Corinna Wessels-Mevissen, independent scholar

“The news about Raja’s untimely passing away have left me devastated. We were just having an exchange of e-mails and I was planning to respond to his kind message on the same day when he left us. Our’s was a long-time friendship. I had met him first in end-1982. An archaeological officer had explained something to me in the Thillai Kali Amman temple, when Raja came forward and challenged the officer’s view, apparently knowing it better. He soon invited me to his home and we have stayed in contact ever since. Raja was a truly accomplished person, always getting to the bottom of things, author of several books and numerous articles, very conscious of his tradition, generous, inspired and inspiring. He had found his own path in life. What I remember most of his physical presence, beside his elegant stature, is his resonant voice. Raja was exceptional in practically every way, and he had a wonderful family and community of friends around him. I shall always cherish his memory. Corinna Wessels-Mevissen”


Maureen Drdak, artist

I am shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Raja. Though I greatly enjoyed his articles on asianart.com, we shared only fleeting emails, though it was always my intention to pursue a more indepth conversation with this very erudite and charming man. I’d even hoped to visit him someday in India. It grieves me to think of his family-and his temple’s loss. Please convey my deepest condolences to his family and friends, and community. Respectfully, and with appreciation for his writings and kindness, Maureen Drdak


Anna Sloczka, curator of the Asia Collection at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

This is tragic news. As you know, I have met Raja Deekshithar only once but we corresponded and he was always helpful and willing to answer my questions about the Nataraja temple and other things. I hoped that we would meet again, this time in India. This, sadly, will not be possible anymore. We will all miss him… Anna Slaczka.


Anna Kohler

thank you for letting me know about Raja s passing away, how sad and unexpected !!! I realy thought I could visit him once again in Chidambaram, when the time would be right for me. When Raja stayed at my house and gave aura readings, it happened during such a session that he stopped and asked : what is happening to Mr. Bennink ? few minutes later we got some fone-calls, telling Raja that Mr. Bennink just died. Raja made a loud screem and then he went back to our guests…..but as soon as they were gone, he wanted me to book a flight back the next morning and that I would accompany him to Holland, he was so upset about the death of your father who was like a father to him too. Thats what he told me. I visited Mr. Bennink once when Raja stayed with him. A very very friendly man. Later on the fone , before Raja came to Switzerland, Mr. Bennink told me that Raja would not be able to stay with him anymore. I could not understand what this ment, thinking that he would maybe go to an elders home. But soon later he died, so for me he must have sensed his coming death. Did Raja pass away in India, right after the 10 days temple – feast ? Some years back , carrying the big wooden-bar with Shiva above , Raja got very hurt on his collar-bone, it broke. Being in Switzerland he asked my son who is an orthopaedist, if one could or should fix it in a new way. He was so happy to hear, that it was o.k. the way it looked and that braking it again would make it looke worse. So many stories come up in my memory. i visited Chidambaram the first time 31 years back. Even if we didnt have an ongoing contact Raja is very important in my life. And I know that he was so happy to be able to fly with the big 747 regularly to his beloved Holland. So from all my heart I feel with you who were much more involved with Rajas teaching and personality. Wishing you all the best and that he is still around you and your friends , like a blessing from far away ! Please pass my good wishes to his family which i got to know some years back, eating at his place in a special atmosphere. Greetings Anna Kohler


Ben Tregear

Thank you very much for writing to me, i am truly devastated to hear the news about Raja, we only had a brief encounter however it was deep, honest, humble, true and full of his wisdom to so freely share. I had only met some 2 days before in Surguru Restaurant in Pondicherry, where we had acknowledged eachother through eye contact and body language, just 2 days later in the same restaurant we saw eachother again and said hello with smiles on our faces, after just 15 minutes i felt the enegy from him and his son to draw me to look over at htem and smile again, when i did, there was his beautiful smiling face and his young joyful giggle… he invited me to come over and have a coffee with him and his son…. of course i accepted such a friendly gesture. His open heart and spirit and gentle nature is truly captivating and i felt it was somewhat of a gift to be in his presence, yet his humble and modest nature kept us on the same level. He said to me, “In my culture, you must acknowledge people on first encounter, on the second encounter you must invite them to join for tea or coffee and on the third encounter you must ask them to your home for lunch or dinner… so let’s skip the third encounter and please can I invite ou to lunch at my home at a time convenient for you?” Again, of course i accepted his invitation as he giggled and laughed and excused himself for inviting… So 2 days later i met his son outside a nominated shop in Pondicherry and he drove me to where they live, there was Raja proud as punch that i had arrived, dressed sparklingly in his fresh white cuta and pants matching his wonderful silver hair and welcomed me with open and arms! Spending about 2 hours with him, while he cooked a marvelous lunch for us both, i was able to gain an insight into his true generosity, wisdom and his life story…. From what Raja told me, Holland was a very important part of his life, i can just imagine how magnetizing he must be while in the western culture. I am truly saddened at the thought of not seeing Raja again, he truly was a bright shining ray of light that i will not forget, i feel blessed to have had the small experienced with him. He will be missed by many i am sure. It would be my honour if you were to use the images i sent him in any material dedicated to Raja and i am happy for you to use my name. I have some audio recordings that i made of him talking, which i have listen to many times over the weekend… his words and clear and wise and that laugh is irreplaceable, i am happy to send you clippings of that audio also, let me know. Please forward me any information about Raja, links, websites, past talks etc etc I would just love to know more about this very special soul, who’s spirit and energy remains here as his body rises. Warmest Regards and deepest sympathies. Ben Tregear


Cheryl Basque and John Featherstone

How sad we are to learn of Raja’s unexpected transition. While I have never met him, I feel I know him from his writings as presented in NamaRupa Journal. He was a bright light for those of us seeking to understand the nature of reality. We will miss his wise council and wisdom. Our heartfelt sympathies to his immediate family, friends and devotees. In the light of Yoga: Cheryl Basque and John Featherstone


Adrian Smythies

I was very sorry to hear of the passing of our friend Raja. Such tragic news. Our acquaintance was so pitifully short. I came across some of his work about the Chidambaram temple in 2007 on the internet and sent him an email- since then we corresponded about temple architecture. We met once in February 2008 at his house in Pondicherry, where he very kindly hosted my wife and myself, giving us a wonderful lunch that he had cooked. It was a delightful afternoon talking temple art. The next day he showed us the temple in Chidambaram and now I shall always think of him when I see those magnificent towers. I send my condolences to his family. Adrian


I am in shock to hear about the sudden demise of Raja Deekshithar. I have just had few mail correspondences with him, he had taken time out and gone the length to answer the queries raised. His patience to reply at length and his in depth knowledge impressed me at once. Having gone through his articles and the blogs, I was impressed with the wealth of knowledge he possessed and equipoise displayed in his writings. We are in process of planning a workshop in Kumbakonam and wanted to have him present there. I was actually planning to write to him in this regard. We are indeed unfortunate to have missed him. My sincere condolences to his family and sincerely wish his soul rest in peace. Thanks and Regards, Arvind


I am shocked to hear this sad news. As students of sculpture, we hoped to interact with sir and gain a lot. Its our misfortune that we did not make full use of such a profound scholar. Our heart felt condolences. vijay kumar



It was with great sadness that I read the news about the passing away of Raja Deekshitar. We made contact on the internet. To my great regret I never had the opportunity to meet him in person but I had the pleasure to talk with him on the on the phone. He gave me the impression of a warm and friendly person. His wisdom I got to know by reading his book which I recommend to everyone. I present my deepest condolence to his wife and children and everyone who loved and respected him. Freddy



even though I am very grateful that you have sent me this mail, at the same time, of course, it made me very sad and kind of speechless about the content… Thank you very much for the fine and respectful text about Raja, I think it is very adequate to his appearance, life and work. I have met him about 25 years ago when I was searching for an interview partner with whom I could discuss the (at that time) actual theories on (Western) “New Physics” and “New Media”… and I have found him, this generous, interested, wise, brilliant, laughing, energetic and philosophical man, at this time the “high priest” of Chidambaram Temple… He allowed me to videograph this interview with him which took us about two days of maybe 4 hours daily… and we were talking about immateriality, chaos, cyberspace… a lot of things which in the West, they thought to have discovered newly.. and about what he was talking as if it was the most common thing in the world! Each time that I went to South India I went to Chidambaram to find him and visit him. Sometimes I managed, sometimes he wasn’t there – which was then always quite sad for me. At this time there were no email and no internet yet… I think I have lost contact with him for several years, never in my heart and my thoughts, though, and only recently suddenly an email arrived, written by him… Maybe this is not the place here to describe my feelings and upcoming memories regarding “my time” in Chidambaram with him, and also for this 25-years-old project which is still one of my most intensive one I ever could do until now.. but now with these sad news I very much regret not to have gone there as soon as possible to visit him, as he invited me to, or to exchange more emails in order to really tell him how much valued and important and inspiring his being was for me in my life. But I am sure, he will know… even though somehow I am having the feeling to owe him something. There was a time when he started some projects which required financial aid also, and I remember that he had asked me, too, for some support. But being an artist in Europe, it is not easy, most of the times impossible, to contribute with money.. and so I was really hoping that maybe one day he would need something which I really could give, for example a layout work or a video editing, something which would take time which I would have offered… Now he is not here anymore on this planet – even though after recalling the interview with him, it is not too sure… but with people like you and his friends and family as well as all the persons who were allowed to enjoy his company and talks, he has spread his seeds which will be taken care of for sure.. also, I think, as a very specific example of the approach to combine different cultures and continents…. Maybe for the website which you have mentioned, you would be interested in receiving the full interview as a document which I would offer to him and his friends and followers. I will need some time to convert it to an format of today which you could publish in the net – but if you are interested, maybe this could be my contribution to him and his life. I also have photos of this time which can be of your interest – but again, I would need some time to restore these memories of 25 years ago… Thank you for taking me into the circle of Raja’s life…. but the news are so sad…. even though he would not allow us to say so, isn’t it? With warm regards, Rajele Jain


May he rest in piece… Maria Palatou


My condolences to the Guru I have met Raja Deekshitar over the web and we shared links [http://indiatemple.blogspot.com] and got started on talking about our common interest in temple tradition. It was a beautiful relationship we developed over mail, he taught me a lot of things and I was of course too thrilled to learn new things and to the depth he taught. I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit Chidambaram temple with him and those were by far the best darshans I ever had. I am just speechless over this news, it was just a week ago that I thought I had no communication with him for a while and that I should mail and find out how he is doing. And now, I just stare at the picture in this mail and wonder – Is he already History?? Today has been a day of silence in my mind, bringing me back to the reality that awaits us at the end of this life and I am silent over that reality while I look at the senselessness of this routine life am leading. Strangely this is the 2nd demise I have got the news of in less than a week. And I just feel empty and shocked over this news. I would like to extend my support to his family, I have briefly met his daughter and son and a few other members. May his soul rest in peace, I pray to Lord Chidambara Nataraja. – Kavitha Kalyan


tears ran down at the moment, is this true! Really so sad now. On 26th he wrote so nice, their something we shared, so kind and knowable person. With all sight on the true wisdom of vedas. His work so great and important. Its sooo sad, wanted to visit him to talk about the unseen , raja seen. The Sphinxes the key of every religion. A real friend hopefull now their where life has no begin , no end. Lisbeth, please let me send deeply and heartly condolence, have no words now, really cant remember about such a hurt the last time. Lisbeth,… send all my love and respect to all friends, family of raja & cidambaram. To miss this smile and kind voice and friend unendlessly hurting. Yesterday seen a proverb from natives that were all only visitors here. Raja show this us all. Really tears dont stop now. Lisbeth. Please accept a few lines for raja, one who really seen Siva, after find words, peace and eyes without tears. In deep sorrow now, really thank you to remember ME about this painfull message. May all his work life further Tat Tvam Asi sinceraly, – Melanie


I knew Shri deekshitar since a year and this is a shocking news . I am also going through difficult times and couldnt contact him for the past few months. In fact I was remembering him a lot and wanted to contact him for some lectures at our institute. It is a great loss and my heartfelt condolences to his family members. May his soul rest in peace and may the almighty shower his grace . May he grant all near and dear ones the strength to cope with the irreplacable loss. Yours in sorrow Deepa Madhavan


Please forgive me for not believeng at all that he was dead… You know, there are always pranksters here in the Internet. You don´t know the bad feeling I have, because he was indeed a nice guy. I started writing to him asking things about Shiva, and he was always available to answer. I am surprised that he told you about me and the Mayas. I was helping him to contact other anthropologists to make a cross-culture study of the religions, because he knew that there were similarities between the two peoples (Tamils and Mayas). Please receive my condolences, later we can help Raja´s work to get disseminated across the globe. Please update his youtube account with videos of his last researches. His son doesn´t know me, he is depressed right now and don´t want to bother. Anyway, thanks for your offer. Maybe later, if he is involved in all this stuff, we can become friends. If you guys want to continue his work, I offer my help. Thank you for telling me about his death, you are a very kind person to take the time to write to Raja´s internet friends. Hope we become friends too, Peri.


When we heard of Raja’s sudden death we were deeply distressed. We knew him as a good friend and as a commited researcher. And we appreciated greatly his personal qualities, his good nature, his openness and his noble appearance. And first and foremost he was a marvelous person whom all who knew him will sorely miss. Raja will always be in our heart. Please forward our sincerest compassion to his family and friends. Martina and Markus from Germany


I am writing to offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences for a man, that sadly I have never met, Raja Deekshithar, but this is how I came to know of him. Earlier this year I did a journey around the temples of Tamil Nadu and when I returned home I felt compelled to write about it, the temples, the sculptures and all the wonderful people I met. I briefly visited Chidambaram and attended a puja at the Nataraja temple, but sadly I did not stay. I realized my error once I returned and started writing about my trip, and have been making a list of all the places I want to return to next year, the Nataraja temple is one of them. In researching it this morning I came across the smiling face of Raja Deekshithar and his wealth of knowledge about the Nataraja. Somebody recently gave me the book by Michael Wood, The Smile of Murugan, and Raja is mentioned in it, so I determined that I would try to contact him. You can’t imagine my excitement when I found he was on Facebook, I instinctively felt this man would be a wonderful teacher for me, since my passion lies in South Indian sculptures and temples, and the myths and stories surrounding them. But moments later my joy turned into sadness when I saw your commemoration on the website. I have to tell you tears started streaming down my face when I discovered that I am, infact, too late to meet him. I am not an overly emotional person, I don’t know why I had such a strong reaction, I suppose I must have felt a real connection, and I was just so excited at the idea of being able to communicate with him and share in his wealth of knowledge about the Nataraja and South Indian temple culture. It is such a great loss for us all that he is gone, and I dearly hope that there is someone in the family that will continue his passion and his work. My hope is to return to Chidambaram next winter, I would love to connect with someone that knew him. Sending my very best regards, Antoinette Maclachlan.


I was so shocked to know of respected Raja ji’s sudden demise that I could not think of what to say. Only ten days back, he sent me his postal address so that I could mail him a copy of my recently published book, ‘Portraits of a Nation- History of Ancient India’ Over the past three years, he helped me with numerous clarification and other material for the book. Though I had not met him, it seems that I knew him. He asked me to visit the temple and meet him in my next trip to India. He was forever helping me. His articles, research and books are a treasure for India and for all of us who live abroad but are in the same field of study. If we send some donation, what should be the name on the check? And whose address it should be? I would like to send something addressed to the members of his family. In sorrow as in happiness, we have to surrender to the will of God. Please convey my condolences to the bereaved family. Regards, Mrs. Kamlesh Kapur


Ten eerste wil ik je hartelijk danken om mij op de hoogte te stellen. Verder wil ik mijn medeleven en condoleance overbrengen aan de Familie. Ik heb de laatste tijd verschillende malen aan hem gedacht en betreur het dat ik niet meer in staat ben geweest hem te contacteren. Ik heb een bijzondere en leerzame tijd met Raja mogen doorbrengen en ben hem daar dankbaar voor. Veel sterkte, Simon.


i communicated often with raja after contacting him almost two years ago regarding my 10 year intensive study of the nataraja-murti and the temple in chidambaram. he was kind, patient, and one of the most intelligent people i’ve ever had the privelege to know. his passing is a great loss to the academic world, and a tragedy for all whose lives he touched. i consider myself blessed to have been his ”dallas, texas student.” my sincere sympathies to his family …i know he was very proud of them all, as he told me himself on several occasions. i will forever after picture him beneath the upraised foot of his lord. john anderson–dallas, texas, usa. ps=my friends and i have greatly enjoyed his cookbook as well as his other numerous writings. peace to all.


dear friend, Thank you for letting me know. it was many years ago that late Raja Dikistar was in touch me with references to his books and gave the British Library where I am the curator of South Indian Languages. We had meaningful correspondance by email. He even sent me invitations for one of his children’s wedding. It is deep loss to this earth, but in Cidananda he is eternal. Please my symathies to the family of late Diksitar. With kind regards to you all Nalini Persad


Of course I am so saddened by this news, but also…I cannot thank you enough for sharing this news with me. I am praying for his Souls safe passage and appreciate the chance to do this as you sent me this email. I join you in your prayers of dear Raja’s Souls wellbeing. Peace & Love Darren Evans


It is with profound sadness that I learn about the loss of my dear friend Raja. I had not seen Raja in 15 years but the recollection of our encounter in India and time spent at his house in Chidambaram has been a constant memory during all these years. My meeting with him has somehow changed the course of my life and I will always thank him for all the good things that have happened to me afterwards. I will miss him enourmously but I know his spirit will always be with me. Ippolita


David Feith and Karen Coffield

thank you for your email informing me the sad news of Raja.  It is a loss.
Raja gave me great support and was very helpful and informative in 1983 when I was carrying out research on the temple at Chidambaram.  He was incredibly friendly, and welcomed me and my wife Karen into his house.  We became friends, and I travelled with him to Thanjavur, and he visited us in Madras.  Later in the 90s when we lived in Auroville Raja also visited us there.  I have visited him many times in Chidambaram, and met his family, and eaten tasty meals cooked by his wife Shakti.  Last year when I was in India I tried to meet him in Pondicherry, but was unable to.  I spoke with him by phone, and I thought I really must see him next time.  Unfortunately now that will not be possible.  He was an amazing character, who was a bridge between two very different worlds.
This is very sad news.
Please  pass on my condolences and sympathy to his family, and add my words above to any tribute or memorial, and inform me about any further tribute or memorial.
David Feith and Karen Coffield