Shiva Dances… the Cycle Continues

Once upon a time a young Deekshithar boy in India looked deep and dreamed far, endowed with a need to know why and to understand the nature of the world around him. His life became a QUEST.  Being born into a unique and exclusive community offered him privilege, but also extracted a heavy price. This boy dreamed of flying to distant lands…to explore and meet others like himself who were searching for truth and purpose


R.N.Natarajarathina Deekshithar after the performance of the 100 Chandi Homam
Being Deekshithar

The name his father gave him at birth was Natarajan. This is the name of the Dancing Shiva, the deity his family serves as ritual performers and scholars at the Chidambaram temple in southern India.  Deekshithar means ‘initiated’. It is a title given to some as recognition for their Vedic accomplishment. It is also received through birth by the descendants, like Natarajan and his family, of the 3000 Munivar who witnessed the arrival of the Dancing Shiva in the sacred city of Chidambaram millennia ago—as those who serve the Divine Dancer as the custodians of his temple and its traditions.

Chidambaram Deekshithars are so deeply and intimately connected to the Dancing Shiva, they consider themselves as his family. Their commitment is absolute, as they preserve and protect even in the face of death, continuing a ritual tradition & doctrine going back thousands of years.

Deeply committed & immersed, surrounded by this grand family, whose roots go back to the Vedic Rishis, the young Natarajan looked towards the future and asked his question: WHY, and what does it mean? He set out the find the answer.


The Quest and the Chidambaram Temple

Marriage is the first requirement for being a Chidambaram Deekshithar and his father arranged for him to marry at the age of eleven.  This qualified him for temple service, but his vision and dream demanded a different path…one of dedicated study.  A few weeks after his marriage he found himself thrown into the street for choosing education above temple service.

School bag in one hand and his mother’s hand in the other, he and his mother sought refuge with his maternal relatives and it was grudgingly given. He was all alone it seemed, yet not lonely. With his dream steadfast in his mind, he worked for his keep drawing water for the whole household from the well. He studied hard and listened intently to the Deekshithar elders. He read everything he could lay his hands on; every scrap of old newspaper that came as a wrapper for groceries or food and every page of old magazines that he could find.

Raja Deekshithar performing Kumbhabhishekam

And he looked deeply within and without. He realized the mythological creatures guarding the entrance of his temple were the counterparts of sphinxes of ancient Egypt and Greece. Sitting on a raised platform, with a lion’s body and a human head, these purushamriga (human-beast) guard and protect the Chidambaram temple.

He read about the Incas and Mayas, and how at the conjunction of Venus, Pleiades and Solstice all the fires were extinguished and rekindled from the original sacred fire lighted at Machu Picchu. He realised the connection with the rituals of Kartikai Dipam. When at the time of full Moon in conjunction with the Pleiades in South India all lights are extinguished. And people wait for the sacred light to be ignited on the Arunachalam, the sacred mountain that represents Shiva’s Cosmic Fire in Thiruvannamalai.

He became aware of the importance of stars and constellations, especially of Orion, and their connection to various aspects of ritual and myth and discovered that the ancients saw the Dancing Shiva Nataraja in the sky as the constellation Orion.


He realised that all the elements of the temple tradition, ritual, myth, architecture and art, contained deeper, relevant, and scientific information in the form of stories and symbolic code.


The Shiva Nataraja temple of Chidambaram is one of the grandest and most ancient sacred places in all of India. Its traditions are rooted in Vedic doctrine. The image of the Lord of Dance is the visual representation of a cosmology which teaches us the nature of the universe, the cosmic laws, and of the relationship between consciousness, energy and matter. It is the Akasha Kshetra, the Field of Aether, in the Heart Chakra of the World.


Raja lecturing in Amsterdam
Being and Becoming

Fast forward. The small boy, Natarajan, has become Natarajarathina, the Ruby that is Nataraja, after his marriage and eventual initiation. He struggles through his school years, and with the help of a neighbour, enrolls into university to study  English literature. After his graduation he grows his hair long, to walk into his father’s footsteps as Tantric priest, dedicated to the service of Goddesses Tillai Ambal and Tillai Kali. He raises his family and through patience and dedication he becomes a teacher, author, healer, coach and counsellor. Finally he travels to Europe to teach, heal and share the knowledge and wisdom he gained through his intensive study and meditation. Natarajarathina left his mortal coils at just 60 years of age, with his dreams to share with the world the scientific and spiritual significance of his temple’s traditions largely unfulfilled.


The Dancer
Raja Deekshithar and Liesbeth Pankaja

Somewhere in this saga… our paths crossed. I was a young aspiring Bharata Natyam dancer from The Netherlands, nourishing my own aspiration to dive deeply into this ancient art and civilisation, with many questions ringing in my mind; questions born from the controversy between what my dance teacher taught me about her art, the tradition and the Hindu way of life as well as what is stated in the text books I read for my academic education.

Natarajarathina was now Raja and together we embarked on an adventure of discovery and exploration. We hunted for sphinxes, and searched for astronomical and mythological correlations in temple rituals and myth. Inspired by The Orion Mystery and the gradual uncovering of evidence of other remnants of the Lost Civilisation we were fascinated by the connections between stars, moon and pyramids. Our discoveries were many and varied. Feeling there is so much more to be discovered and we dreamed of visiting Egypt, Peru and Mexico to experience the many connections first hand. It was a wonderful and also a challenging time. Somehow India did not figure in people’s awareness. Recognition did not materialise. A sphinx in India was not considered to be a sphinx.



Fast forward again. Raja, who inspired the quest and the discoveries, is no longer with us. However, his dream is very much alive! There are so many dots to connect, symbols to decode, and an ancient treasure of spiritual growth and awareness to share. Much has happened since the early years when Raja’s dream began to take shape.

Raja Deekshithar and Michael Wood in the BBC documentray ‘Darshan’.

The Nataraja now dances at the door of CERN in Geneva, but who knows where his home is? International bestselling books have been written about Akasha, but who knows how to read the coded message the temple conveys? And… who listens and conveys the Message of the Sphinx of India?

Raja’s quest goes on as I continue to remember and treasure him, his vision, discoveries and teachings. I still dream of visiting Egypt, and still follow the crumb trails left by the ancients in their symbolism, mythologies, in architecture and traditions.


Raja’s Dream Realised

Unexpectedly, what had become a lonely quest took a completely new shape when Egypt came to India in the form of Patricia Awyan. Through a series of coincidences (really?), Patricia and I found ourselves sharing the back seat in a tourist van for several days, as we travelled to Hampi, Badami and Pattadakal in December 2015. And… out of the blue, magic happened.

Patricia knew from a very young age she would be going home to Egypt one day. Having been born with a ‘need to know’, she has also spent much of her life on a personal quest for knowledge, wisdom and spiritual fulfilment. Patricia’s interest in the mystical, physical and esoteric sciences as well as her deep connection to Nature, propelled her into a lifelong study of the ancient mysteries.

Khemitology Team at Hampi

Patricia and I discovered that our paths, though separated geographically, were intricately intertwined. Finally Egypt and India met. We realised what Raja had always felt and thought: that there is an intimate and deep connections between the Vedic Vision with that of ancient Khemit. We have carved out a new perspective and have been able to connect many dots through our comparisons.  The connections between Egypt and India, Khemit and Bharata are real, deep and tangible. Patricia gives a clear and beautiful account of our common vision in this article on her blog.


India’s living Vedic tradition shines a fresh light on our understanding of Egypt and the other ancient civilizations, and vice versa. Where Egypt and the Americas left us amazing megalithic structures and artwork, India offers living temples and traditions, ritual and art, and the invaluable wisdom and knowledge within the Vedic texts.

They combine to form the puzzle and yet, clarity of humanities’ ancient past…that which is hidden from public view by the mists of time and prejudiced academic understanding.

For us this is a treasure quest; not for gold or jewels, but for the wealth of genuine ancient knowledge and wisdom. It is the insight into the nature of our reality, consciousness & life on our planet that offers us the tools for overcoming our limitations and the unnecessary suffering of humanity.

Everywhere around us the ancients left their signs and signals. It is up to us to decode and follow this trail. Many are gathering to accompany us on this mission.


Natarajan, that heroic Deekshithar boy, no longer walks alone….


Our first collaborative effort, that includes Stella Wheildon, who provides a remarkably synchronistic insight from the very ancient Australian ‘Original Peoples’ perspective,  begins with an exploration of the 5 Elemental Energies that play out in the Alchemical ‘Dance of Shiva” and you are invited to join us for this unique and powerful journey of mystery and discovery.

Thank you for your visit,

Liesbeth Pankaja


You can follow this link to the Registration Form. Read more about the Khemit School of Ancient Mysticism travel offers.


Khemit School of Ancient Mysticism 2017 India Tour: Earth to Aether, The Five Elements Temples




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