As evening arrived and the solstice began, I visited the Arunachala Temple for the first time. It is an truly impressive sight to behold, even if it leans toward being a spectacle with the lines of pilgrims – women clad in red and gold saris, men in black dhotis – everywhere as priests covered in ashes scramble about attending to their business. Thankfully the business of one such priest was to lead me and a few others along the fast track into the inner sanctums where we’d sit for a brief puja (offering) in the holy and hallowed chambers of Shakti and Shiva.
I emerged buzzing with this energy that now had a name: Shiva. My feeling off still doesn’t have a name, but the resonance of the Divine in me at this moment surely does: Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer, the Destroyer, dancing in a ring of fire, beating the drum of creation, stamping out ignorance, symbol of liberation.