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Chidambara Rahasyam (Tamil: சிதம்பர ரகசியம்) (translation, "the secret of Chidambaram") is a Hindu belief that there is a secret message conveyed through the embossed figure near the shrine of Shiva in the Chidambaram Temple.
Since ancient times, it is believed that this is the place where Shiva and his consort Parvati are present, but invisible to most people. In the temple, Chidambara Rahasya is hidden behind a curtain (symbolic of Maya). Worship, or darshan is possible only when priests open the curtain for special pujas. Behind the curtain are golden leaves, as from the Aegle Marmelos tree, signifying the presence of Shiva and Parvati. It is believed that saints can see the gods in their physical form.
Among scholars and saints, the phrase "Chidambara Rahasya" has a more profound philosophical interpretation. The curtain unveils empty space. Emptiness is the truth being conveyed and Shiva Himself manifests Shakti in the form of conscious Emptiness, which bears this entire creation. Emptiness is pervaded by Time, Shiva. And the Mahakala Shiva, who is the lord of the universe, and who is, even though, the inherent consciousness of the conscious Emptiness, is pervaded by it. Conscious Matter is the result of copulation of Shiva and Shakti, or in other words, Time and Emptiness. Conscious matter forms the body of this visible creation. Its creator is Emptiness, which though bears all movements of the matter, remains beyond and unaffected by it. The essence of matter and emptiness is the lord of the universe Mahakala Shiva, who pervades everything and yet remains beyond everything.
To realise this thought, one has to unveil the "curtain of maya". We are often encapsulated in our world of illusion and are obscured to the absolute reality. According to legend, "Chidambara Rahasya" will never be revealed as it is the secret relating to an individual and it is left to them to realise its true meaning.
- South Indian Railway Co., Ltd (1926). Illustrated Guide to the South Indian Railway (Incorporated in England): Including the Tanjore District Board, Pondicherry, Peralam-Karaikkal, Travancore State, Cochin State, Coimbatore District Board, Tinnevelly-Tiruchendur, and the Nilgiri Railways. Asian Educational Services. p. 46. ISBN 9788120618893. Retrieved 2015-09-14.
- ""Shiva Sūtrās: A Yogic Treatise" by Yogiraj Shri Shailendra Sharma". anahada.com. Retrieved 2015-09-14.