Murukan Worship in Melbourne
by Sivasupramaniam Sitsabesan firstname.lastname@example.org
Scope of research: A study of Murukan worship and temples in Melbourne, Australia
There is currently no definitive research work available on Murukan worship with particular reference to the temples there. Therefore, this writer is of the opinion that his work is essentially an attempt to initiate the process of researching Murukan worship and about the temples and to induce further researches.
This writer lives in Melbourne. He will utilize his involvement in various social and community activities, and his participation in religious activities in the temples, to gather information about the origins of Murukan worship and about the festivals celebrated there.
Like all different sects of Hinduism, Murukan faith is also undergoing the process of relocation and adaptation across the globe. 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, Mauritiun and Fijian origin. Tamils have a short history of about quarter of a century in a land where the white settlers 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 immigration 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 Teyvanai 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 Śrī 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 Teyvanai 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 Karttikai and Shasti, annual Kandashasti, Taipoosam, Pankuni Uttiram 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 puja while in another temple the deities are also taken in procession in the inner or/and outer courtyard.