Murugan Worship
Kali Yuga, the age indicating the period of darkness and degeneration commenced about 3100 BC. Many Hindus believe that the presiding deity of this yugam [period] is LORD MURUGAN [Kali Yuga Varathan], whose VEL that symbolises the spear of victory, will eventually restore peace and harmony, destroying arrogance, violence and injustice. The worship of LORD MURUGAN goes back to the pre-Christian era, and forms an important facet in the religious life of Hindus.

His vehicle or Vahana is the peacock: this is by way of representation that he has entirely conquered pride, egoism, and vanity. There is a cobra under His Feet: this is to indicate that He is absolutely fearless, immortal and wise. The peacock is the enemy of the serpent. It is seen clutching the serpent with its claws. The serpent is not killed but held in captivity. This symbolises complete control over the ego. The serpent represents the ego.

Sometimes He stands alone with the Vel. He is called by the name of Dandapani. This represents His Nirguna aspect which is free from Maya. The six heads represent the six rays or the six attributes viz. Jnana (wisdom), Vairagya (dispassion), Bala (strength), Keerthi (fame), Sree (wealth) and Aishvarya (divine powers). They indicate that He is the source for the four Vedas and the six schools of philosophy; that He has controlled the five Jnana Indriyas and the mind. They denote that He is the Virat Purusha with countless heads.

They signify that His head is turned everywhere (Visvatomukha): He is all-pervading. They indicate that He is omnipotent and that He can multiply and assume forms at His will. The term Murugan, in Tamil, denotes the Deity possessed of non-decaying beauty, everlasting youth and Godliness.
The most important form of worship that a human being can offer unto the Lord is by not hurting others either by thought or word or deed. Only then life in nature becomes smooth and happy. It is this kind of worship and life that the Skanda Purana teaches us through the worship of the Saguna form of Lord Skanda.


Thw Legend

Subrahmanya is the second son of Lord Siva. His manifestation occurred when the Devas, the celestial people, were being oppressed by an Asura (demon) by the name of Taraka. He is the conjoint manifestation of Siva and Sakti.

When Siva was deeply absorbed in his spiritual exuberance, forgetting the world, he was disturbed by cupid (kamadevan). Sakti was also observing penance to get the grace of Siva. When Siva opened his eyes, he burnt cupid. At that time six flashes, like lightning emerged, five from the five senses and one from the mind of Siva. These became six babies and the cosmic mother Sakti rolled these into one baby (Lord Murugan) with six heads and twelve arms .

Because of this evolutionary process, Subrahmanya is also known as Shanmuka, six-faced one. The six heads represent six rays or attributes, viz., Wisdom, Dispassion, Strength, Fame, Wealth and Divine Power.

Another legend behind the Lord’s birth is as follows. In order to save the good [Devas] from wicked [Asuras], Lord Murugan was originated from the Holy Sparks of Lord Siva's third eye. The story goes that the sparks which flashed forth from the third eye of Siva rushed through space, which Vayu and Agni carried and dropped into the river Ganga. By the grace of the Lord, the sparks were carried by holy Ganga to Saravanappoikai. On arriving at the tank, the sparks assumed the form of six children of unparalleled beauty. Each baby was lying on a lotus and was being lulled to sleep by the Devis of the Karthikai (the 3rd constellation of the 27 Stars). To witness this Avatara of the Saviour, all the Devas hastened to the tank along with Lord Siva and Parvati. Parvati, out of the extreme fondness of a mother, took up the babes together and called them Skanda. Instead of them remaining as six separate individual babes, there arose the form of one Deity with six faces and twelve hands. Hence he was known as Lord Arumugaswamy or Shanmukha, the Lord with six faces. As he was nursed by the six Devis of the Karthika Star, he was known also as Karthik Swami, or Kathiikeyan. Thus, to the great joy of the persecuted Devas, the Lord Himself appeared in the form of Shanmukha to protect the good and to punish the wicked. As the form of Lord Shanmukha originated in a tank of shrubs, he was known as Saravanabhava.

Subrahmanya has two spouses, Valli and Deivanai. They represent will (Valli) and action (Deivanai). He also holds a spear given by his mother Sakti for removing the evil force of Taraka. This spear (Vel) represents (Jnana) knowledge. These three together denote the three cosmic energies of governing will, action and knowledge. He rides on a peacock, indicative of conquering pride egoism and vanity.

Agastya, a rishi (sage) journeyed to Mount Kailas, to worship Siva. Siva asked Agastya to shift two hills, Sivagiri and Saktigiri, to South India, as seats of worship. Agastya commissioned the demon Idumban, an asura who had served in the army of Surapadman, to undertake this task. Idumban collected the hills, and tied them to a simple shoulder pole by means of sacred serpents which were used in the place of ropes. This was the prototypical Kavadi. Near the forest at a site now known as Palani. Idumban, weary, set the hills down while he rested. When he attempted to resume his journey, he found that the hills were stuck to the ground. Upon ascending the slopes he encountered a youth clad only in a loin cloth, holding a staff, and “…shining like a thousand suns.” This youth claimed the hills as his own. In the subsequent fight, Idumban was killed. Both Agastya and Idumpi (Idumban’s wife), interceded and pleaded on Idumban’s behalf, and Murugan restored Idumban to life. Idumban requested that he remain forever at the portal of Murugan’s shrine. Murugan duly appointed Idumban as official gatekeeper at his temple and advised that henceforth all who worshipped Murugan with a Kavadi would first acknowledge Idumban. This is named as Idumpan Pooja.

Lord Subramanya's other names
Lord Subramanya's other names are Skandan, Kumaresan, Kandhaswami, Kartikeyan, Dandapani, Saravanabhavan, Thendayuthapani, Shanmukhan, Guhan, Murugan and Velayudhan.

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