Lord Skanda-Murugan

Nine Synopses of papers from the Second Murukan Conference

Synopsis: "History of the Murukan cult in ancient sri lanka: archaeological evidence"

by P. Pushparatnam

In this paper, an attempt is made to evaluate the significance of archaeological evidence in the context of Murukan cult in ancient Sri Lanka. Among the religions of Sri Lanka, e.g. Hinduism, Buddhism etc, the various factions of Hinduism found a place in the island affairs since at least the 3rd century BC. With the introduction of Buddhism in the 3rd century BC, the religious history of the island took a new course. By the lapse of time the heterodoxical sects commanded wider following among the masses. But at the same time, Hinduism and its sectarian groups did not disappear and received the patronage of people, especially the Tamils of the island group. Even though Pali literary sources exalt the place of Buddhism, the due place for Hindu religious groups is also given. In this respect the archaeological sources play a vital role. This paper takes into account the facets of Kaumara (i.e. Skanda) or the Tamil Murukan cult as reflected in inscription, coins, sculpture and other archaelogical artifices of the island.

The earliest evidence of Muruka cult orientation in Sri Lanka, in the form of graffiti marks, terracotta figurines and metallic images, have been discovered since at least the megalithic period (800 BC). The personal names found in Sri Lankan Brahmi inscriptions that belong to 3rd century BC to 3rd century AD related to Murukan, the best example being Vel. Even today in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka it is not uncommon to come across a person name (e.g. Velsami or Velappan) which is rooted in the ancient name Velan appearing in Cankam literature. Definitely it is a pointer of Velan cult. Sri Lankan Tamil has issued various types of coins since the 3rd century BC to 17th century AD. Those coins contain forms and names of deities, symbols and emblems of kings and dynasties. They are mostly related to Saiva and Vaisnava religion of particular kinds and peoples of certain period. Some particular name of deities and vehicles and symbols of deities reflect on Maruman worship and cult, which prevailed on those days among Sri Lankan Tamils. Some of the Murukan sculptures belonging to the 13th to 17th century AD have been discovered in Northern Sri Lanka, which reveal the significance of Murukan worship during the Jaffna Kingdom. It is doubly significant because new light is shed, picking up data from the much-neglected archaeological sources.

Kaumara Philosophy

by Dr. M.C. Rajamanikkam

Murukan, Kantan, Kumaran, Guhan, Velan, Katampan, Karttikeyan, Arumukan, Cuppiramanian, etc. are the names by which the Lord is indicated. Each one has a reason for being called so. The Vedas end with 'Subrahmanyom'. 'The light that comes out of the Supreme' is the meaning of that term. That is the 'flame' that emerged from the third eye of Siva ad Kantapuranam describes it as Murukan was born out of these six flames.

'Kayame Koyilaka' (body as the temple) -Tirunavukkaravar. 'ullam perundoyil unutampu alayam' (mind is the sanctum sansctorum and the bod the temple) - Tirumular. 'utampule uttaman Koyil Kontan (The Supreme enshrined itself in the body) - Tirumular.

Thus proclaim the saints. So the question arises how the brilliance called Cuppiramaniam is accommodate in our body. Do the statements made in Kantapuranam expressively and externally exist internally in our body? The object of this article is to search for the esoteric principle behind it. There is a gem with six-facets situated between over eye-brows. Wise men call it 'Arumukam'. The third place above the 'muladhara' is called 'anahatam', it is the place where the heart is situated in vivekam', the combination of the six senses of the human body is also denoted as 'Aurmukam', and light of the six 'adharas' in the body are also called 'Arumukam'. "At the end of all the 'tattuvas' there exists a pure-gem-like pure consciousness (the consciousness of the soul) is the mind, which is full of tranquility, is the 'Cuppiramaniyam'. This is the view expressed by Saint Ramalinga Swamigal. Knowledge is divided into two, as the knowledge that perceives adn the knowledge that reveals; the first leg of Lord Muruka. The light and the absence of light at the six 'adharas', viz., 'muladharam, svadhistana, manipuraka, anahata, visuddhi and ajna, are signified as twelve hands of the Lord; vel is sakti; Grace is knowledge; the bell (in one hand) is nadam; which is the revelation of the self; the banner (flag) is the fame. 'Kukkutam' (the cock) is the fulfilment, free from jealously and enmity; the dandam (the stick) is the sense of renuciation; the pea-cock, is the 'mulaprakruti' the seat of maya which is multi-coloured, peculiar in form and the cause of the qualities like forgetfulness etc.

Character Tattva
Teyvayanai tantra tattvam
Valli pure mind
greed, I-ness Curapatman
yanai mukan mahamatam (arrogance)
Cinkamukan moham (my-ness) anger

So, our elders expressed, so that the ordinary man can understand, the truths that exist in our body (pintam) as the things that exist outside (antam). Let us all realise the Truth, by looking at Murukan residing in us.

Lord Muruga in Nada Rupa: A critical study

by Dr. S.A.K. Durga

Muruga has been worshipped as "Nada Bindu Kaladi Namo Namo" by the great saintArunagirinathar in his work "Thiruppugazh". a critical study on Muruga as Nada Roopa reveals clearly that He is the originator of Music and He is Pranavaswaroopa. An embodiment of Pranavanada - the Omkara from which the musical system of India originated. Lord Muruga is a preacher to his father Lord Siva "Tagappa Sami" by defining the Pranavatatwa or the phulosophy of Omkara.

This paper will analyse the abstract from of Nada Roopa of Murugan from the Pranavanada "OM" to the musical concepts the Raga form in South Indian (Music with the name "Shanmukha priya" and the Kavadi Chindu form which is meant only for the ritual "Kavadi" for Lord Murugan. This paper will also make a critical study on the text with reference to Lord Murugan in the musical forms such as Varnam, Kriti, Padam and Kuravanji dramas where the Lord has been sung as the 'Adhipati' or embodiment of Nada in the abstract from as well as in different human relations as the Nayaka - lower and child or Batan boy or Kumaran from the compositions which belong to sangam age till 20th cent. Compositions in different Indian languages in Folkand classical Forms, will be cited as examples. Sources : Sanskrit, Tamil and Music Literature and performing traditions of the various ritualistic musical forms on Lord Murugan.

Murukan Worship in the Nilgiris with special reference to Badagas

by Mr. Bhojan

The Nilgiris is called by tourists as "Queen of Hill Stations". The total area of the Nilgiris is 25, 425sq.kms. The total population is around 8 lakhs as on date. Out of this BADAGAS are the single largest population. The Badagas had been migrated from Karnataka during Tippusultan's Reign in the then Mysore. Badagas speak Badagu, since there is no script for the language they write in Tamil only. The hamlets - villages are called as HATTI. There are 362 Hatties in the Nilgiris. The Badaga people used to wrokship lord SHIVA and PARVATHY only by calling them as IYYA (GRAND FATHER) and ETHAI (GRAND MOTHER). But now almost all Badaga villages have lord Murugan Temples. Most of the young generation people workship lord Muruga only. It is rare to see a house without the portrait of lord Muruga. Moreover almost all the villages have formed a spiritual group called Palani pathayathra kuzhu (devotees go to Palani by walk). Even aged young also take part in it.

Because Lord Muruga is believed to be dwelling in hills only, Badagas are also proud to be in the hill area of the Tamil Nadu. Perhaps this may be one of the reasons why they trust him more. Their trust in the Lord is perhaps like Kannappa Nayainar (i.e.) their belief is more or less blind one in nature. They don't follow the normal formalities to be followed as specified in the "Puranas". For example they do not take KAVADI, ALAGU KUTHUTHAL AND PENANCE, because they feel these are hard jobs and they require more devotion. But they have their own way of worshipping Lord Muruga. When ever and where ever they go the first word utter by them is Muruga only. Let it be a marriage engagement or wedding cermony or any other small function, they first do puja for Lord Muruga only and then dotheir main function. In many villages like ANIKORAI and MARAGAL they sing a version from "Thiruppugazh" Natha Vindhu galathi namo namo atlast and then only they take the scorp to the graveyard because they strongly believe that only lord Murugan will accompany the soul to the other world.

The Badagas have a separate type of poetic form singing the glory of Lord Muruga. In other parts of Tamil Nadu people sing Thiruppugazh, Thevaram, Thiruvasakam and other songs during festival and other festive seasons. But Badagas have a seperate type of poetic form in singing the glory of Lord Muruga. In other parts of Tamil Nadu people sing Thiruppugazh, Thevaram, Thiruvasakam and other songs during festival and ohter festive seasons. But Badagas normally donot sing these. They have their own songs. These songs are melodious and impressive in nature. These songs are normally sung in chorus. Every song has a poetic form. The feeling of their devinity and love are revealed in these songs. In most cases, the devotees cry and weap and other devotes dance in ectacy when the devotees sing the songs. These scenes are normally not seen anywhere in the Tamil Nadu. Badagas have a seperate and peculiar and beautiful steps in dancing for the devotional songs. Though many God's are worshiped by Badaga people, still Lord Muruga is the ISHTA DEIVAM (Personal deity) and there are many songs sung upon him, which we can normally hear every where in Nilgiris almost in every function, every day.

Murukan Worship in Melbourne

by Sivasupramaniam Sitsabesan

Like all different sects of Hinduism, Murukan faith is also undergoing the process of relocation and adaptation across the glob. The fact that the Murukan faith accommodates a range of beliefs and practices inspires tenuous concept of identity. Nevertheless, the same phenomena serve to facilitate participation of a wide spectrum of the society.

Australia's multicultural society recognizes the diversity of its people and nurtures the aspirations, beliefs, traditions, and practices of individuals. In Melbourne, Murukan worshipers are predominantly Tamil speaking people and most of them are of Ceylonese, Indian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Mauritium and Fijian origin. Tamils have a short history of about quarter of a century in a land where the white settles have a two hundred year history. Murukan is considered as a Dravidian and/or Tamil god. Though some of the beliefs, traditions, practices of the Aborigines could remotely be linked to Dravidian group of people, there is no definitive research to confirm it. Therefore, the origins of Murukan worship could only be linked with imigration of Tamil speaking people to Australia in the mid 1970s. Temples are the sole forum for the articulation and continued negotiation of Hindu identity in Australian society. There are three temples in Melbourne. Lord Murukan with his consorts Valli and Theyvanai is the presiding deity at Melbourne Murukan temple and it is only one of its kinds there. The other temples are Siva-Vishnu temple at Currum Downs and Sri. Vakrathunda Vinayakar temple at Basin. Siva-Vishnu temple has co-presiding deities, Sivan and Vishnu while Lord Vinayakar is the presiding deity at the second temple. Both these temples have idles or, statues of Lord Murukan with Valli and Theivanai in the inner courtyard. Most of the important dates in the Hindu/Saiva calendar are observed in these temples and it goes without saying that monthly Karthikai and Shasti, Annual Kanthashasti, Thaipoosam, pankuyni Uthiram are observed too. It is just that the proceedings vary from one temple to the other, in one temple it would be just performing abishekam (holy bath) and poojai while in another temple the deities are also taken in procession in the inner or/and outer courtyard.

Śrī Skandasramam, Salem

by Dr. Sivagami Paramasivam

Man's life does not end with bread alone, as his mind and heart are set to seek and pursue something great and meaningful endeavours to find out hte means to lead a peaceful, happy and blessed life. It is happiness with peace and spiritual means that make man's life meaningful. What should one do to find out that sort spiritual means? i.e. One should indulge and intrude in religion. One may even wonder, about what is life without religion? Because, religion makes man to endow with full of values. In the life of Adi Sankara, Thiru Gnana Sambanthar, Arunagirinathar and a host of others, it is proved that their lives were very well associated with important incidents, that brought out the greatness of gods and goddesses.

In Hinduism, we come across quite a large number of gods and their bliss one such god is Lord Muruga who is otherwise called as Skanda, Shanmuga, Kadamba, Kathirvela, Karthekeyan, Arumugan, Kumaran, Saravanan, Sakthidharan, etc. His familiar abodes/seats in India are the Aru Padai Veedugal 1.Palani, 2. Swamimalai, 3.Thiruchendur, 4. Thiruthani, 5.Thirupparangkuntram and 6. Palamurthir Solai. Besides these, there are other seats of contemporary Murukan worship such as Marudamalai, Vallimalai, Muthukumara Temple at Vadapalani, Vallakkottai, Śrī Skanthasramam at Salem etc. This paper aims at bringing into light Om Shri Skanthasramam, Salem, Tamil Nadu, India.

It is situated on a small Hillock, 2kms away from udayapatti of Salem Town. This lies in Salem-Attur route. It was planned by Om Shri. Shanthananda Swamigal in May 1968, and he executed it in the form of a temple by name Skanthasramam and its Maha Kumbabisekam took place on 08.02.1971. In the Maha Mandap, we see Shri Ashta Dasapuja Mahalakshmi Durga Parameswari, who is also known as Skandamatha and opposite to Durga, there stands the grand, attractive, and smilling Murthi by name Gnanaskandan (Bala Dandayudha Pani). Both are in standing pospure. Besides, in the outer premises of the northern side of Maha Mandap one can see the astonishing statues of 16' Shri Panchmuga Anjaneyar and Shri Panchamuga Vinayagar. They reveal the greatness and spiritual attitude of Om Shri Santhananada Swamigal. Skanthasramam is in the form of Linga. There are nine important points in the Linga form of the temple. they donote (1) Thatha Bhagavan (2) Danvanthri (3) Swarnakarshana Bairavar (4) Panchamuga Ganapathi (5) Panchamuga Anjaneyar (6) Gnana Skanda Gurunathan (7) Skanthamatha (8) Magangal Mandapand (9) Skanda Jothi. Besides these 9 points on the top of the Linga from, it is predicted as the adobe of Ganga, in between the 3rd and 5th point there is Gomuki. On the right and left side of Ganga there are moon and sun respectively. In hte eastern side of the temple, there runs "Kannimar Odai" (Stream). As it flows towards north, it is also known as "Utharavahini". By the side of the stream there is the goddess "Kannimar Amman". In praise of Lord Skanda, SkandaguruKavacham" is being ricited by the devotes. It has become famous since 1968. Since then for the past 33 years Skandasramam attracts the devotees from various corners. Skanda denotes the child sitting on the lap of Parvathi and parameshwaran. As Skandan ordered the Swamigal in his dream to build a temple, it is called as Skandasramam.

At 8.00 A.M. daily, Abisekam takes place and at 11.00 A.M. special Pooja is being performed. No camphor is used and no Archanai is done by the devotees. The above said Abisekam and Arathanai are conducted by the temple management for the welfare and betterment of the universe as a whole. Everyone is blessed by Skanda and his beloved mother Skanda Matha. There is a separate "Yanga Sala" where Yagnas are conducted on special occasions like Navarathri, Panguni Uthram, Vaikasi Visakam etc. The credit goes to Om Shri Shanthananda Swamigal, the founder of Skandasramam. His original name being Subramaniam, his Guru Shri Senthamangalam Avathuda Swamigal called him as Santhananda. The gooddess Durga gives 'Santham' and Lord Skanda gives 'Anandam'. Both Santham and Anandam combine together and bless the devotees with Santhanandam, which oc-incides wiht the name of the founder Om Shri Shanthananda Swamigal. It is quite surprising indeed! By his earnest efforts, Bhakthi, Devotion, Dedication, Compassion and other spiritual values, he successfully completed the erection of Skanthasramam with the co-operation of his supporters indeed, which is considered as the only type of the temple for Lord Skanda found in the whole world.

Murugan and siddha medicines - II

by Dr. J. Rāmachandran

Murugan, who is considered as God of Tamils, has many fascinating features that no other God possesses. By definitions, God is one who is omnipotent and omnipresence. That Murugan along satisfies these conditions is something that is really astonishing! His presence is felt almost everything that Tamil stands for! While Murugan is analysed based on religion and language elsewhere, for the first time, an attempt was made in the First Conference, to explain Murugan based on Siddha medicines, an another feature of Tamil culture. In this paper further details are explored to bring about the relation between Murugan and Siddha medicines.

Kandar Anubhuti: A multimedia presentation

by Mrs. Jayanthi Rāmachandran

A multimedia electronic book (a compact disc) on Kandhar Anubhoothi will be demonstrated during the conference on Murugan. This is the first venture of this kind. The following are the salient features of this CD. The entire work is divided into five parts.

  1. In the first part an audio-video presentation of Kandthar Anubhoothi is made. This is mainly from the devotional point of view. Here one could listen to the song sung by eminent people. For each song their is a picture of Murugan. One can have glimpse of nearly 50 Murugan pictures and also listen to Kandhar Anubhoothi songs.
  2. In the second part the life of Arunagirinathar is given in both Tamil and English.
  3. In the third part the meaning of the poems are given. Each poem is taken and meaning is given word by word. Then a summary of the poem is given. Finally detailed discussion of the inner meaning of the poem is given. Various cross-references are given and where necessary graphical illustrations are given Also, where possible audio presentation is provided. This part is entirel in Tamil in Tamil script. * The same as above but in this part all the explanations are given in English. The original Tamil poem in English alphabet is also provided. * For the first time the entire Kandhar Anubhoothi poems are translated into English as poems with rhymes.
  4. In the concluding part, the poems translated into French are given. Only poems are included.

The entire work is user friendly and menu driven. Animations and graphics are all added features of this work. This is not only a e-book on Kandhar Anubhoothi but also a good reference work on Murugan.


by Dr. Lakshmi Poduval

Śrī Muthuswamy Dikshitar, one of the Trinity of Karnatic Music was born at Tiruvarur. His, father Ramaswamy Dikshitar was an eminent composer. Sri. Dikshitar was initiated into the Śrī Vidya cult by Śrī Chidambaranatha Yogi. Dikshitar has composed countless number of compositions on all the gods & goddesses in the Hindu Pantheon. Although a Devi Upasaka, his Ishta Devata was lord Murugan. After his returns from, Kasi, he went to Thiruttani where, he was blessed by Lord Muruga in the guise of an old man and from then on started composing kritis.

His very first kriti is in praise of Lord Muruga in the Raga Maya Malava Gaula. 'Śrī Nathadi'Guruguho jayati'. He adopted the Mudro (sign) 'Guruguha' for his kritis (compositions). We find kritis on lord Muruga in the nine Vibhaktis (9 cases of Grammar). Apart from this there are countless number of kritis on Lord Muruga. All his kritis are in Sanskrit language.

He has incorporated the 'Bija Mantras' meant for the particular duties in his kritis. All the aspects of Lord Muruga have been taken into consideration like, 'Saravana Bhava Guha', 'Swaminatha' 'Dandayudhapani', 'Bala Subramanya', 'Parvati Kumaran', Senapate, Subrahmanya and others. His compositions can be compared to the other compositions on Lord Muruga in various other languages (especially in Tamil) by various other composers. His compositions are known for their content of Rasa, Bhakti, Sahitiya Bhava, Poetic excellence & philosophical aspects.