Over this past retreat, we were graced to have with us Sri Parameswara Deekshitar of Chidambaram temple. Deekshitar is the chief priest of Chidambaram temple and brother of Sri Anandanataraja Deekshitar, both of whom were instrumental in welcoming Gurudeva to said temple for the first time in the 70s. After a tour of San Marga Iraivan Temple, Deekshitar (second from left) met with Bodhinatha has did Deekshitar’s wife (far left) and family friend Sundari Balaraman (far right).
The brief yet meaningful visit provided a sweet reminder of the Aadheenam’s history and kinship with Ananda Nataraja Chidambaram Temple and the Deekshitars — its priestly staff of staunch Sivathondars.
Vel and Valli Alahan hosted the priest.
Vel writes: On picking up G. Parameshwara Deekshithar I was confronted with an older gentleman with the energy of a six year old. His wife Vijayalakshmi and a contact from Honolulu Sundari Balaraman accompanied him. Sundari helped in translating whatever Deekshithar and I could not otherwise understand of each other.
We first went to the Sacred Rudraksha Forest. They collected some Rudraksha fruits. He knew if you dug beneath the ground naturally cleaned and polished seed pods were there and he collected a few. He actually knew a great deal about plants as we went on tour. A common ground cover that we consider a common weed difficult to control he said “if one has gout make a juice from the leaves and take three times, only three times”.
At our house after a quick foot wash we were to have tea and coffee as it was still early to go Kadavul Temple. He made himself at home walking anywhere he wanted to go. He entered the shrine room and said ” this is not a house, it is a Temple.” He applied vibhuti from
Chidambaram on us after pouring it over Lord Nataraja’s foot as done in Kadavul.
We sat for a while and he took a look through some of our books. Merging with Siva has many small pictures at the start of each chapter. He knew what was depicted on each one “this is saint …. one of the 63 Nayanars and this is his story and why….” And then the next picture. After a brief story of Saint Sambandar we sang the “money bag” song together, the only song I know and my Tamil was pretty good, uh close.” We then had our beverages and fruits and while enjoying each other’s company he decided to pose and dance as Siva Nataraja and having my wife dance with him.
We decided to walk to the Temple.
Paramacharya Sivanathaswami offered him a seat of honor up at the Crystal Lingam and later in the Nataraja Sanctum. He also met with Yoginathaswami who has the Tamil speaking Siddhi.
We then went on a tour of the Monastery and specifically to Iraivan Temple. He was extremely impressed and without coaching or hesitation reached into the Lion Pillar’s mouth and rolled the ball about. He knew Ganapati Stapathi.
He was very impressed with the Puja, the pronunciations of the Vedic chants. He teaches Vedic studies. In Chidambaram one priest does all the six pujas in a day and they alternate as each day has a different priest. After the Tour we had Darshan with Bodhinatha in the Guru Peedam. He was so happy! I know that as he had very deep knowing and comfortable eyes and we connected and he was so, so happy by everyone’s treatment of him, a very simple man.
He will never stop talking about Lord Nataraja especially in Hawaii at Kadavul or everywhere, in everyone, dancing.
We took lunch at the house. They brought lunch which we all shared. He asked for a banana leaf, I brought him a banana leaf and Valli added some chutney’s and Papadums.