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By Akhila Krishnamurthy

 Starting off her lecture with a personal story of how she first became familiar with the world of dance, and that of Shiva, and to the world of Nataraja and Chidambaram, Devika began by acknowledging the many people who have been a part of helping her nurture her innate curiosity and interest as a “non-performing dancer” in all things to do with art, astrology, mythology, history, and culture.

Starting off her lecture with a personal story of how she first became familiar with the world of dance, and that of Shiva, and to the world of Nataraja and Chidambaram, Devika began by acknowledging the many people who have been a part of helping her nurture her innate curiosity and interest as a “non-performing dancer” in all things to do with art, astrology, mythology, history, and culture.

Her foray into Chidambaram and the fascinating world that temple encompasses began by dancing in the thousand pilar hall, with her gurus, The Dhananjayans. “I still remember it rained that evening and there was a beautiful sheet of water between the artistes’ performing and the audience sitting,” she said, “And from thereon, Nataraja for me became a passion of sorts; of course, I must say that I was first introduced to his world by the very knowledgeable Dr Nagaswami who has the ability of transforming everyone with the kind of passion he has for Nataraja.”

Devika’s lecture allowed audiences a glimpse into the very layered world of Nataraja, a world that is a coming together of science and imagination. Taking us through a series of slides, and images, interspersed with stories, she spoke of the many aspects of Shiva, the formless, the nirguna, the lingam, and of course the Nataraja, Devika’s lecture was filled with facts, and interesting pieces of trivia that surround them.

 It isn’t a matter of coincidence that Devika’s lecture coincided on a very auspicious day — considered to be an occurrence once every 400 years where all the planets, the time-keeping tools of the universe, are supposed to be in their own respective grahams (homes) — and the lecture attempted to celebrate the innate connection between the Nataraja and the cosmos, at large.

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