Synopses of papers for presentation at the Third Murukan Conference, Kuala Lumpur 2-5 November 2003
In alphabetical order of presenters
"Dance Representations of Bala Murugan in Kunruthoradal Temples of the Western Ghats region of Tamil Nadu"
Prof. Malati Agneswaran M.F.A., Ph.D.
Concepts of divinity are derived through meditation, inspiration through intense bhakti, or divine revelation - all these psychic processes may be the same stream of consciousness. What differentiates them from other thought processes is the feature that they are not the result of logical process of reasoning.
Logical reasoning is the ultimate test for acceptance of a conclusion, for deductive thought is derived from premises and knowledge that has already been accepted. The internal consistency of any argument is based on the deductive mode of logic.
Yet there is the other uncharted course of thought, which is inductive in nature. All scientific inventions are through inspired ideas some of which have been 'proved' in the deductive sense and others are hypotheses that have been accepted because they are useful, although they are yet unproven.
The concept of God is mentally apprehended as an energy in any theological system. This cornucopia of energy is sought to be represented concretely by the artist - the sculptor, painter, dancer, poet - and the divine inspiration that activates them all is the same source of energy.
The Siva concept or Sivatvam is one that is manifested mainly in an abstract form in the monolith or linga that symbolises energy. However, iconographically there have been other representations of Sivatvam in the form of Natarajar, Ardhanarisvarar, Dakshinamurti and so on.
The concept of Siva is also continued in the iconographic references of his Son, born of the sparks from his third eye (which is the representation of Siva's subtle energy), namely, Murugan. Murugan is worshiped as a independent major deity, and yet his association with Siva is seen in the ancient name of Ceyyon by which he was known during the Sangam period of Tamil civilisation.
The concept of Murugan, through the concept of Siva is linked to the concept of Surya and energy. The ancients 'saw' with their inner eye or concentration, the concrete symbols of the divine concept and this was immortalised in iconographic representations that are worshipped in temples, in the sannidhis of the different deities. These representations of divinities have in their turn inspired the artists of other media who have written devotional songs (Appar, Sambandar, Sundarar, Arunagirinathar and others), and in dance have followed the iconographic details.
The present paper seeks to introduce the iconographic pattern and demonstrate through choreography in the dance form of Bharata Natyam, the expression of divinity as Bala Murugan to be seen in the temples of western part of Tamil Nadu, specifically in the mountains of the Western Ghats. Murugan is the god of the hills, who is said to dance on the mountaintops, symbolizing the rising of the sun on the mounts at dawn.
Prof. Malati Agneswaran M.F.A., Ph.D.
Kanda Puranam: An Appraisal
Dr. Ahila Sivaraman
By the abundant grace of God Almighty the greatest gift is being born in the human species. We are endowed with divine knowledge to be His devotees, singing His praise day in and day out, amidst our various routine chores. Many illustrious sages and saints have passed on their knowledge & wisdom their inimitable works of devotion which elevate our souls from the myth of worldly attractions. One such great work is 'Skanda' in Sanskrit which details Lord Muruga's greatness from his birth onwards. Kanchiappa Sivachariar has rendered it in Tamil in an exquisite poetic form. In order to make even the common man comprehend & enjoy Lord Muruga's grace, it has been given as a prose work by ' Karthikeyan'. I had the great fortune to translate it from Tamil to English, so that devotees from all nooks & corner of the globe can get the benefit of the divine message. I propose to talk about Lord Muruga, but also of the origin & development of Tamil Language and literature. Lord Muruga & Tamil are so inseparable that His worship speaks far and wide in the Tamil region, not only in India, but in Ceylon, Malaysia & such other places.
The Glorious Names of God Muruga: A Bird's Eye View
Dr. R. Alagappan
This paper discusses the origin and development of Murukan worship starting from the Sangam age to later period. Simultaneously, the various name of Lord Murukan both in the little tradition and classical tradition are taken note. The author has made detailed mention about the books that speaks about various names of the deities in the Hindu pantheon and spoken about the different attributes of Lord Murukan. He has chosen twenty different notable names of Lord muruka and given their meanings with the mythical and devotional background. Each name has got its unique significance both in the Murukan mythology as well as in the devotional tradition. Some of the attributions are connected with the measureless powers of the Lord whereas few others are related to either the place of worship or the types of worship. These semantic and cultural interpretations form a significant part of Murukan religion, literature and worship.
Murukan, The Protector And Healer
Dr. Prof. Mrs. V. Balambal
In the Hindu panthon of gods and goddesses, Lord Murukan occupies a prominent position. He is known for his beauty, valour, strength, courage, compassion, love for Tamil etc. He is a great protector of his devotees and healer of physical and mental ailments with his powerful spear of different kinds. He protects each and every part of the body of his devotees and even the powerful navagrahas would be submissive to them because of his grace. They could be free from all diseases and from the folds of evil spirits and ghosts if they show real devotion to the Lord. In this world of uncertainty, terrorism, tyranny, horror, disloyalty, noncooperation, backbiting, mudslinging, lack of human values etc. , it is the grace of Lord Murukan which would come to the aid of the devotees. He comes down to their level to protect the man heal them. Unquestionable surrender and devotion to the Lord would be the tool with which a devotee could have Himas His protector and healer. Though there are innumerable source materials to know the power and glory of Murukan, Arunagirinathar's Tiruppukazh, Devaraya Swamikal's Kantasastikavacam And Pampan Swamikal's Canmukakavacam give a detailed account of the way Murukan would protect and heal his devotees in times of need Apart from these sources many other works on Murukan are used to make the present study. An indepth study reveals that the confidence a devotee has on his Lord would lead him to greater heights.
Hindu Art with special reference to Murukan
Hindu art is deeply inspired by philosophy and religious teachings. A true artist creates a 'beauty' which is 'a joy forever.' It is concerned with the realisation of the Infinite through the finite and the artist reaches that Infinite through his compositions. Art and religion are closely related. Art is a sharing of experience and religion is an awakening of experience. The key expressions of art are the creative forms of poetry, sculpture, architecture, music, dance and painting.
Historians consider the Indus Valley civilisation of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa as the dawn of the cultural history of the Indians. The culture is essentially Dravidian and the religion of the Indus people could be the lineal progenitor of Hinduism. This paper will examine art and architecture associated with Murukan and His Six Battle encampments: the temples and the mulamurtis, including Murukan in Badami, Puri, Cambodia, Murukan of the Gupta age.
Dr. Alarmelu Rishi
All those great souls like Nayanmars, Alwars, authors of Tevaram and Tiruvacakam have had contact with Almighty during their lifetime and poured out their wonderful experiences in their pasurams to guide us in the right path. One can add Saint Arunagirinathar to this line of great men for his beautiful work "Tiruppugazh". The beauty of Tiruppugazh is unique for its rhythmic pattern and no other literature in Tamil can be compared with it. Arunagirinathar has exhausted the varieties of rhythm in permutation combination type and singing them with its ragam and talam is a feast for ears.
Normally a Saivaite will praise Lord Shiva and a Vaishnava will praise Lord Vishnu. But the singing of Lord Murugan by Arunagirinathar is unique. He accepts both Advaita (jeevatma and paramatma are one) and Siddhantam of pati, pasu and pasam (jeevatma and paramatma are different). His accepts these two in his Tiruppugazh like this: "Eka bogamai neeyum nānumai irugum vagai parama sugam." In his Tiruppugazh songs he addresses Lord Murugan as the nephew of Lord Vishnu and each song ends with the word Permale. Usually Peruman refers Lord Shiva and Perumal refers Lord Vishnu. Arunagirinathar in his Tiruppugazh praises Lord Murugan and still ends the song with Perumale thereby emphasizing the uncle nephew relationship between Vishnu and Murugan.
The international recognition for Tiruppugazh is acclaimed by the group singing of Tiruppugzh devotees in large numbers with ragam and talam and the beauty of its systematized rhythm. This paper highlights those songs where important instances of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu are referred.
Dr. Alarmelu Rishi
A History and Literary Study on Worship & Festivals of Arulmigu Senkottu Velavar Temple, Tiruchengodu, Tamilnadu
by Dr. R. Chandrasekaran †
Among the seven famous Shiva temples of Kongunadu of Tamilnadu, Tiruchengodu is a famous pilgrim center. In Tamil literature it is also known as "Tirukkodi Madachengunrur". Many famous saints, savants and devotees of Tamilnadu have praised it in songs and poems. Thousands of people in and around this temple town gather here to worship Him and get his blessings on new moon and full moon days.
Sengottuvelavar Sengottuvelavar is the incarnation of Lord Shiva. Only after the worship of this Lord known as Sengodan, one may reach the sanctum of Lord Ardhanāreeshwarar. Murugan, Kandan, Kadamban, Shanmugam, Arumugam, Velavan, Karttikeyan, Mālmarugan and Senthilandavan etc., are his other names. He is regarded as the Tamil God (Teyvam). The ancients divided the Tamil country into five types known as Ivagai Nilangal. Kurinji is the hill area with Murugan as its God, also known as Kurinji Aandavan. With his inspiration, Kumarakurubarar and Arunagirinathar composed immortal rhythmic poems. Sangam texts like Paripatal and Tirumurukatruppadai (and also Cilappatikaram) provide ample evidence that his worship has prevailed since the Cankan Age.
Sengottuvelavar appears with pleasant smile and attracts all devotees. He holds his cock-flag (ceval koti) in one of his hand and the lance (sakti vel) in the other hand. His shrine is in the eastern side of the hill temple complex. The poet, Arunagirinathar is not satisfied with his two eyes and demands four thousand eyes from the Creator for him to reach, see and worship him, such is the beautiful appearance of Lord Sengodan. Around him are the green fields full of fish with a boundary of thick green woods.
All the following festivals specially for Murugan are celebrated earnestly:
At the foot of the hill begins the stairs there is a temple known as Aarumugaswami Temple. In front of this deity, Aarumugam weddings are solemnized. Murugan's Vel (lance) and peacock (vahanam) show the right directions of life to his devotees.
Dr. R. Chandrasekaran, Lecturer in Tamil
Muruka, Dionysus and Dancing Shiva as Religio-Aesthetic Symbols
Muruka the Tamil God has significant affinities with Dionysus the Greek God of frenzy and art as well as the dancing Shiva. In the early phase Muruka is closer to Dionysus whereas later he is closer to Shiva: he becomes a synthesis of Dionysian frenzy and Apollonian serenity.
In Cilapatikaram Muruka the deity off the hunters evolves from a regional god into a national god of Tamils absorbing the qualities of mother goddess and Kannagi standing under the vengai tree sacred to Muruka is identified with Valli and she is very much like Oedipus at Colonus. The apotheosis synchronizes with the destruction of spiritual pride of Kannagi as well as the sublime aesthetic experience of the epic. In Cilapatikaram the folk perform the role of the chorus in Greek tragedy.
In Tirumurukatrupadai also we see Muruka linked with folk dance as well as mystic experience. When it refers to 'Anankusal uyar nilai' it refers to terror and when it refers to 'Teyvattu Ilanalam' it reveals his beauty. Through identification with the principle of terror and beauty the devotees experience divinity as beauty.
Muruka has its roots in the eco-poetics of Tamils and in Tirumurukatrupadai he embodies sacred geography as well as time. The journey to six sacred places is a journey in cosmic space and time. In the dance of Nataraja also we find the creation myth evolving into an aesthetic symbol & there is a space-time synthesis. Probably in the dancing Shiva there is the absorption of the Tamil God of beauty. The concept of Shiva as an abstraction and cosmic space merges with Muruka as fertility and beauty.
Lord Murukan and Modern Media
In June of 2003 an audio guide service was started at Batu Caves Temple. This service provides visitors with a hand held electronic player that contains an audio description of the caves, temples, and deities. The narrative includes sound effects and music to take the listener into another age and culture.
The tour is in two parts, one of the upper Temple cave of around 20 minutes and the other is in the Art Gallery of around 25 minutes (depending on language). Both segments have been designed so that they can be taken separately or jointly.
Six languages are available currently:
In this paper the author will explore the way modern media was used to create the Audio Tour at Batu Caves Temple. From original concept to visitor feedback the author will walk participants through the process of producing the tour and discuss:
The format of this talk will be informal and of a practical rather than academic nature. It is intended to show how the careful use of modern technology can increase the awareness of Hinduism and Lord Murukan.
K.C. Evison, Director
Devaraya Swamigal's Inspiring Divine Contributions Towards 'Murukanism'
Many a philosopher and religious thinker from time immemorial has tried to reconcile the issue of freedom of the individual and a determined destiny. They investigated the cause and effect relationships in the human life. Determinism is usually associated with the belief in God. God's supremacy maintains order and harmony throughout the universe. God is the sovereign of the world. He is the prime mover; Not a dictator. According to the various religious faiths, different Gods are being worshipped by different peoples. In Hinduism we come across Vinayaka, Muruka, Siva, Vishnu, Sakti, Durga, Kali etc. as important Gods and Goddesses. These gods and their greatness are studied through scriptures. As such scriptures are indispensable to all religions. They save religions from mutation and from extinction too. The faith that has no gospel for its guidance gets lost, but a faith that draws sanction and inspiration from sacred persons books is able to hold its own. For the study of the divine qualities of Lord Muruka, his specialty, fairy friendliness, greatness, guidance, sympathy towards his wards etc. and a real devotee to indulge in spirituality, delight, reward, seek the Kingdom of Heaven etc. quite a large number of Saints have contributed scriptures immensely. Mention may be made about aruna Girinathar, Pamban Swamigal, Kumarakuruparar, Dandapani Swamigal, Vallimalai Swamigal, Devaraya Swamigal and a host of others.
The aim of this research work is to discover and throw right on the inspiring and divine contributions of Śrī Devaraya Swamigal towards 'Murukanism'. For which his 'Skanda Shasti Kavasam', 'Satru Samkaravel Patigam' and 'Subramaniyar Virutam' have been taken into account and a thorough study is undertaken to bring out how his verses have inspired the devotees mind and heart when one recites them. He has utilised the style of 'Nerisai Venpa', 'Kural Venpa, 'and Nilai Mandila Asiriyapa in his verses that form 'Skanda Sasti Kavasam'. In 'Satru Samkaravel Pathigam' one may find 'Kappu' and 'Nool' where he has detailed the sacred service and power of 'Vel' and 'Mayil'. In 'Subramaniyar Virutam' the saint addresses Lord Muruka with enormous titles namely, friend of poors, Saravana Perumal, Siva Subramaniyan, Muthan, Muthalvan, Mudiyan, Vedar, leader of Sapta rishis, Tamil Kadavul, Mayilon, Velon, Shanmugan, Kumaraguru, Arumugan, Lord with twelve arms, Iru Muntru Mudiyan. Iniya Kanivayalagn, Kalugachalan, Siddhan, Kandan, Ayyan, Guhan, Kon and King of Palani Hills, and prays for his blessings with benovalence.
He requests Lord Muruka to safeguard his devotees who recite these verses with real faith and full devotion. Each and every line of his verses is more powerful enough to bless the devotees with divinity. They show the right path to lead better and peaceful life, destroy the enemies, converse with Muruka and blessed are the devotees with Magaperu, fulfilling the request of devotees, sooth their illness, saves them from sins, gives long life, courage, Siddhi & Mukthi. In short, one is made to realise his own instrument through which the God plays the song of his own will which makes Him to be the supreme power, having the motherly affection. Let us all be blessed by Muruka to carry on the mission 'Murukanism' far and wide.
The Cult Of Murugan In Cilappatikaram
'Cilappatikaram' is an encyclopaedia of Tamil arts, cults and traditions. No wonder it contains detailed descriptions of the cult of Murugan in the Second Century A. D. in Tamil Nadu. Elango, the poet, is the first Tamil poet to experiment with forms of poetry. His hymns to Murugan are the earliest devotional songs in Tamil and in India. He lovingly dwells on, in detail, the dance of the hillsmen in praise of Murugan, the Lord of the Hills, adhering to the poetic canons of the Sangam Age. The Sangam poetry refers to the 'Kuravai' dance of the hillsmen. But it is only in 'Silappatikaram' that we find a detailed description of the 'Kuravai' dance and its component songs. The 'Kunrakuravai', the 24th canto of 'Cilappatikaram' is thematically integrated and woven into the plot of the epic. The hillsmen worship Kannagi, the heroine of the epic, as their Valli, one of the consorts of Murugan.
The epic depicts the cult of Murugan as practiced in the Sangam Age combining both Tamil and Sanskrit legends. It refers to 'Velan', the Shaman and his 'Veriyatal' the dance of the possessed. It refers to 'Verkottam' the temple of the spear, that is, Murugan. It suggests that the temple of Murugan formerly housed the 'Vel', the spear, as the object of worship. Even today, in 'Tiruparankunram', the spear is the object of worship and the ritual 'abhishekams'. The modern ritual of 'archana' is called 'Poopali', the offering of flowers by Elango.
The poet refers to the abodes of Murugan, Senthil (Tiruchendur) , Chengodu (Tiruchengodu) , Venkunram (modern 'Dhavalagiri', sanskritised form of Venkunram) , and Eragam (Swamimalai) . He also refers to the 'Sudarilai Velavan Kunram', that is 'Surulimalai' where Murugan dwells near the falls. It is near this area Kannagi stands under the kino tree before her ascension into heaven and it is here the Kannagi temple, the 'Mangaladevi Temple' stands even today though in a dilapidated condition.
Establishing Murugan on the High Places: The Role of Murugan in the Development of Tamil Communities in the UK
In the last two decades, a significant number of Tamils from both Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka have migrated to Britain. These migrants are both economic and political depending on the place of origin. Over the same period both communities have moved rapidly to develop religious and community infrastructures based around Murugan temples. Initially these were founded in London but are now appearing in other centres of Tamil settlement. The paper will explore the historical development of the communities and assess the role that Murugan worship plays in maintaining religious, ethnic and cultural manifestations in the British diaspora. In particular, it will explore adaptations that have been necessary in Murugan worship in order to transmigrate to Britain and demonstrate how maintaining authenticity of traditional processions, festivals, forms of worship and temple architecture have been important in aiding the migrants to feel settled in a new territory. In this respect, the paper will particularly focus on the manifestations of sacred space and their significance to the community. This will focus not only on the development of Murugan temples fro the respective communities of Tamils but also on the impact of Skanda Vale in South Wales becoming a local centre of pilgrimage for Tamils on festival occasions and weekends and show how the presence of western monks has enabled the Tamils to fell both continuity with the host community but also demonstrated the universality of Skanda/Murukan.
The Murukan Cult In Chembur, Mumbai
I Area of Study
II. Problems of the study
III. Methodology Adopted
IV. Sources of the Data
Thus an exhaustive study of Chembur Murukan cult – to be presented in the paper.
Categorisation of the Ancient Temples of Lord Murugan
There are four types of temples mentioned in the ancient Tamil literature. They are the koyil, kottam, Niyamam and the Nagaram. Ilangovadihal the author of the epic Cilapatikaram has listed the above-mentioned four types of temples situated in the city of Puhar. The ten idylls and the eight anthologies also speak about the above-mentioned types of temples in various places.
The aim of this research paper is to categorise the ancient temples of Lord Murugan mentioned by Nakkirar in Tirumuruharupatai. Though the commentators don't mention the difference between the four types of temples the early Tamil dictionaries (nikanduhal) show the difference clearly. There are controversial ideas about the number of Tiruparankunram, Tiruciralaivai and Tiruavinankuti. There are two schools of thought in identifying Tiruveraham. The concept that Palamutirsolai denotes the Murugan temple on Alagarmalai is still questioned by researchers. While Dr. Tamilannai read a paper 'The six temple camps of Lord Murugan' in the first International Conference Seminar on Skanda Murugan a serious debate broke out in the seminar hall about the number; whether it is six or four. The traditional descriptive approach is to be followed. The major proponents are:
Tirumuruharupatai serves as the primary source. Invariably the secondary sources are the literature-which belong to the Cangam period and the epics Manimegalai and Cilappatikaram. Categorising these temples may throw some light on the truth about Palamutirsolai.
Origin and Development of Murukan worship in Tamilnadu at Tiruchendur
The aim is to bring to light the worship of Skanda–Muruga in Tamilnadu for it has become widely popular. Day by Day the belief and devotion to Skanda–Muruga is in the ascending order. The object of this paper is to trace the origin and development of Skanda–Muruga cult. The ancient mode of worship with its transformation resulting in the modern method of worship is dealt with. The amalgamation of the old and new ways of worship has reached the zenith of the devotion (bhakti) cult of Skanda–Muruga. Recently the present system in vogue has been discussed from religious, spiritual and social points of view. As a result an intensive study of the celebrated shrines of Muruga known as "Arupadai Vitukal" (six army houses) has been chosen focusing attention mainly on 'Tiruchendur' also known as 'Tiruciralaivoy'. A close study of the salient celebrations with a keen involvement of the votaries has been done. Naturally this branch of knowledge will not be completed unless a detailed account of the austerities and penances undertaken by the devotees in depicted. The grand festivals like skanda Sasti, Thai Pusam, Vaikasi Visakam are brought to lime light. Besides, the great temple festivals held in the Tamil months of Masi, Avani and Aippasi are narrated briefly. The shrine of Tiruchendur is believed to be liked by Subrahmanya and has been given the second place among his shrines in Skanda Puranam, the first being Palani. A number of festivals are celebrated through out the year and therefore Tiruchendur has become a great pilgrim centre. The Tiruchendur temple is the celebrated sea – shore temple of Lord Subramanya. It is situated in the Tiruchendur Taluk in Tirunelveli District. The temple is on the shore of the Gulf of Mannar. The surging cool tides are gentle and shallow and also safe for the holy dip of sea bath. According to sthalapuranam the bathing ghat contains nine teerthams. On the south of the temple there is a natural phenomenon of a small square well containing good water.
On the north of the temple there is a Valli's cave cut inside the natural sand – stone rock facing the sea. There are two images, one dedicated to valli and another to Dattatreya. The sanctum sanctorum is of Lord Subramanya facing east in the form of a young beautiful ascetic rapt in contemplative worship of Siva. By his side there is another sanctum for Arumuka or Shanmuka facing south.
Skanda or Karttikeya is the god whose worship was extensively practised in the ancient times but is now rare. The general belief is that he was the son of Siva and Parvati. In Ramayana he is represented as the son of fire and Ganga (I chaper 37) . The fetus was thrown by Ganga on the Himaivat mountain and it was nourished by six stars constituting the constellation called Krittika (Pleiades) and so was called Karttikeya. In Mahabaratham he is represented as the son of fire but the mother was Agni's wife Svaha. She is said to have assumed the wives of six rishis whom Agni loved. There are other stories in connecting him with Siva and Parvati as his parents. Whatever the legend be, there is no question that he was connected with Siva and was the leader of one of his ganas. Skanda is the God of war and the fostered child of Pleiades. Skanda means the Effused and is said to drain the valour of the enemies. The lance of Karttikeya pierced the tree in the form of demon into two as peacock and cock. The former was accepted as Muruka's vehicle and latter on his banner as an act of forgiveness.
Patanjali seems to have regarded Skanda and Visakas as separated deities. In course of time they were identified with one another and in South India with the transparently indigenous Tamil deity known as Murukan or Velan. While the entire mythology of Karttikeya–Skanda of the north is fully accepted in the Tamil country but there exist other traits peculiarly Tamil in origin. The term Murugan is a word of unknown affiliation in Tamil. Muruku means tenderness and youth. Lord Muruga is known to have two consorts, valli and Deivayanai. But in Northern India Karttikeya is called Kumara or Bachelor of God. In order to free the devas from the troubles of Surapadman, Karttikeya the son of Siva left Kailasa and came to the south. He halted at Tiruchendur with his army to vanquish the demons. Fighting for six days with Surapadman and hordes of demons, Subramanya won the battle.
Ritualism has an important social function. Religion comes to us in our early years as a social product. It reaches man in the form of rituals with meaning behind. Undoubtedly Ritual is the embodiment of faith that binds together large masses of believes. As a historical function it ties up the different units of society for several generations in a race. It binds the present with the past and secures a visible continuity for religion. But the chief function of Ritualism is determined by its symbolism. Man's humble service and offerings to god are visualised in temple worship where god is treated as an earthly king and royal honours are paid to him. Ritualism has an obvious psychological function of providing an outlet for religious emotion tinged with the sense of aesthetics. But at the same time its moral and mystic functions cannot be ignored. Yet it has its limitations and dangers Ritualism tends to make religion not only mechanical but also static. According to the Hindu view the ultimate object or ritualistic worship is the realization of god to be achieved by the gradual transformation of the worshipper into the likeness of the worshipped. He chooses a particular form of the divinity as Ishtadevata with a particular set of attributes. As upanishand says 'A man becomes what he thinks. 'The Hindu rites may be divided into four classes.
In the case of Muruka worship all these rites are observed well by the votaries. The observations done privately make public worship in spite of the milling crowd on Kanda Sashti day for instance. At all the stages of life devotees undertake the penance with rigidity and firmness. The rites associated with particular times like observing vrata without taking a morsel of food on the sixth day called Sashti in every month of the Tamil calendar. In big temples the Deity is treated as the Kings of kings. The mystery play of everyday life reaches its climax in the royal and divine wedding which is an annual function performed as a culmination of Kanta Sashti attended by huge crowds.
At present crowds of devotees throng to Tiruchendur observing the austerities strictly and severely. The prevailing atmosphere and the modern temples induce as well as inspire the writer to present this paper with a graphic account of the development of Skanda-Muruka worship in the Tamil country with special reference to Tiruchendur.
Mrs. Padmaja Anantharaman, Prof. of English
Origin of Hindu Religion from Christianity in India
Amongst the Dravidian religions, the six-fold religion, which is hidden under the name 'Hindu religion' is briefly analyzed here. The religious sects that are in the six-fold religion are Saivism, Vaishnavaism, Saktam, Gomaram, Kanapatyam and Sauram. Since these are the denominations of one religion, altogether these are known as 'six-fold religion'. This six-fold religion is the development of two major sects viz. Saivism and Vaishnavism.
Though some form of worship existed during the pre-Christian era, Saivism and Vaishnavism developed into religions only in the post-Christian era. Doctrine of Trinity, doctrine of Avatar and the doctrine of fulfillment of sacrifice are the basic doctrinal aspects of Saivism and Vaishnavism. A fundamental question is, how did these doctrines become the foundation for the religions that developed in the post-Christian era? Also, can these doctrines be seen in the worship and religions of the pre-Christian era? The answers to these questions can be obtained by analyzing the worships and religions in the pre-and post-Christian eras in India.
The doctrines of Trinity, of avatar and of the fulfillment of sacrifice are the basic doctrines of Christianity. It has already been shown that the religious contribution (memorial stone) had taken place amongst the Dravidian religions. It could be concluded that these Christian doctrines have contributed to the Dravidian religions developed in India in the post-Christian era. "Vaishnavism has more common ground with Christianity than any other form of non-Christian faith".
'Pandita Ramabai felt that by becoming a follower of Christ, she had not betrayed her ancient culture and tradition. But on the other hand, she learnt that her ancient religion become more meaningful and enriched only with her experience in Christ.
'Christ of the history has reincarnated in the mythological India and He has become the Nishkalank Avatar (sinless incarnation) , jivan mukta, Sachidananda and Karma yogi'.
Fr. Reymond Panickar in his commentary on the Brahma Sutras says; "That form which the world comes forth and to which it returns and by which it is sustained, that "that is Christ" Like this so many scholars find similarities among these religions (Early Indian Christianity and Europeanised Indian Christianity) .
When Christianity came to India, the New Testament was not compiled at that time. Naturally this would lead to the lack of historicity. The need of presenting Christianity at the grass root level in the later period led to the development of myths. Since the doctrine of trinity, doctrine of avatar, and the doctrine of fulfillment of sacrifice have to be explained in the mythical aspect at the grass root level, mythical Christ is seen in the Indian religions in different languages in different terms.
Though the terms are different and seem to be different gods and goddesses, they all refer to one God. An unbiased examination of myths would unveil the hidden Christ. Unless, the Saivite and Vaishnavite philosophies, theologies and hymns are analyzed deeply without any prejudice the hidden Christianity would not be unveiled.
Dr. Werner And Katy, Visiting lecturer
God Murugan Worship in Panchalamkurich Folk Traditions
Panchalamkurich, a place of historical significance, is situated 18 kilometers north west of the harbour city Thoothakudi in Tamil Nadu, South India. During the later half of the 18th Century, when the East India Company was attempting to establish their authority in the southern part of India, the Panchalankurich Chieftains put up a stiff resistance. In the end Panchalamkurich Chief Kattabomman and his brother Umaidurai were hanged to death. Numerous ballads praising the great heroic deeds of these freedom fighters came up.
The Panchalamkurich poligars (Dukes) had a sincere devotion towards the god Murugan, the famous deity at Tiruchendur. From the folk traditions such as ballads and stories, we get a lot of information about the affinity of the poligars for the Lord Murugan.
The poligar Kattanbomman made a precious golden locket for his wife. That night Lord Murugan appeared to Kattabomman in a dream and asked him to offer that locket to the goddess Valli Nayaki. With great pleasure Kattabomman along with his wife went to Tiruchendur temple and offered the locket to Devi Valli as commanded by Lord Muruga. Such pieces of information are available in the folk traditions.
Traditionally the Nayakars worshipped Lord Vishnu as their Supreme God and Sakkammal as their family mother-deity. This paper highlights the reasons why Kattabomman Nayak a staunch Vaishnava was attracted towards Lord Murugan, and this paper also discusses the following:
Dr. V. Manickam
The impact of Cankam classics on Kalidasa's Kumarasambhava
In his nature poetry in Tamil, Thani Nayagam identified some common descriptions of nature found in Cankam poems and Kalidasa's Rtusamhara and Meghaduta. Jaroslav Vacek, a Western scholar, has now convincingly shown that there are certain parallels between the Tamil Neytal poems and the Sanskrit message poem. The present paper is an attempt at tracing the impact of Cankam classics on Kumarasambhava with regard to its content and style.
Dr. P. Marudanayagam, Director
Kavadi in the South African Cult of Murukan
The indentured Indians who left India, the cradle of Hindu culture and mother of Hindu tradition, arrived in South Africa during the second half of the 19th Century. They brought with them a historic culture which was distinct from the dominant Western and indigenous black cultures in modes of worship and philosophy. Thus were the seeds of Hindu religio-cultural expression, which embraced a plethora of oral traditions, rituals and festivals, transplanted into a fecund African and colonial environment.
Despite their lack of literacy and schooling, the influences of Western and other cultures, the strictures and obstructions of the colonial and apartheid eras, and a profusion of socio-political and economic difficulties, these custodians of Hindu culture have retained their identity. These pioneers could not have imagined how their simple wood and iron temples would mushroom into major religious monuments symbolizing ultimate enlightenment.
Their committed perseverance gave rise to the birth of many Murugan temples which today stand as beacons of Hindu culture catering for the religious needs of the Murugan worshippers in the Kwa Zulu-Natal, Gauteng and Cape Provinces of South Africa. Amongst the many Murugan Temples in South Africa, the Śrī Siva Soobramaniar Temple in Brake Village, Tongāt, and the Shree Siva Subramaniar Temple in Melrose truly enjoy the status of "pilgrim centres" where devotees assemble to pay homage to Lord Muruga.
Today, 142 years later, the unbroken continuity of the Murugan cult in South Africa has become an important component of popular Hinduism. This is evidenced when a vast assembly of Murugan worshippers from all walks of life gather to pay obeisance to Lord Muruga and fulfill their vows during the Tai Pucam, Sithirā Paruvam and Punkuni Uttiram Kavadi festivals. The growing popularity of the Kavadi festivals also attracts observers from other ethnic milieus in a multi-cultural South Africa, including devotees from the black community. Devotees ascribe the growth of kavadi to the benefits that the kavadi bearer experiences in the form of better health, which many call a "new life", spiritual attainment and material prosperity.
This paper will investigate the Murugan cult in South Africa with special emphasis on the kavadi ritual as practiced at two historic temples viz. The Panguni Uththiram Kavady Festival as practised at the Śrī Siva Soobramaniar Temple in Brake Village, Tongāt, KwaZulu-Natal and the Tai Pucam Kavady Festival as practised at the Shree Siva Subramaniar Temple in Melrose, Gauteng. In this context the pre-Kavady rituals, the main kavadi festival and the post-kavadi rituals will be dealt with. The paper will also include a brief synopsis of Skanda Sasthi as well as other Murugan cult practices not undertaken at the above-mentioned temples. The presentation will include visual information on the important Murugan shrines found in South Africa. A documentary video-recording of the kavadi festival and its component rituals as practiced at Brake Village will form part of the presentation.
Dr. Sarres Padayachee
Brahma the creator could not explain the meaning of the pranavam with which he performed his function. As he did not know the meaning of Pranava God imprisoned the Creator and he himself began to perform the duty of the creator. When Lord Parameswarar asked Murugan whether he knew the meaning of Pranavam, god Murugan disclosed the secret of the secrets to Lord Parameswarar in his right ear.
This research paper tries to penetrate this topmost mystery. The sixteen aspects of pranavam and the intricate implication of each aspect are explained in verse. What is important is the tryst with this pranava or logos, which is a monosyllable that is beyond time space and causation.
Even an overall view of this mighty epical verse as if a bird's eye will ensure wisdom and freedom from the bondage of the three vinais. A deep study with devotion of this epic will usher in the vision of Lord Murugan in dream or in a dreamless vision.
Dr. P. Pandian, IAS (retd)
Murukan Cult in Cilappatikaram
The ancient Tamil epic Cilappatikaram vividly describes the worship of Murukan by the hill tribes of the ancient Cera country. The cult of Murukan is laid in the background of Kannaki’s worship as Pattini, the goddess of chastity.
After putting into flames the unjust king with his capital, Kannaki arrives at Cera Country. The enraged and tired woman stands at the foot of a Venkai tree. The maids of the hill tribes who were playing there see the agonized lady; for them she looks like Valli, the consort of Murukan. They enquire about her whereabouts. Kannaki narrates to them her tragic story. While they are listening with awe and wonder, they see Kannaki ascending to heaven in a divine chariot along with her slain husband. They narrate this supernatural event to their elders. The elders of the hill tribe decide to worship her as their goddess. After offering prayer to Kannaki, they conduct a festival for Murukan who is their guardian and traditional God.
Young men and women join hands in a circle and perform the traditional dance, Kuravai with songs. The songs glorify Murukan’s birth, his manifestation and victorious deeds. They also perform veriyatal, the ritual dance to entreat Murukan’s presence. The songs express the anguish of the companion of the love-sick heroine when her parents try to unite her with an unknown lad in a settled marriage. They declare that if Murukan comes there, they will entreat him to unite Kannaki with her lover. The songs end with the worship of Kannaki.
Though brief, the songs of Murukan take us to another plane. Cankam classics celebrate human love whereas poems in Kunrakkuravai portray the bridal mysticism of the God and the soul. It is to be noted that Valli alone is described as the consort of Murukan. This is a notable departure.
A. Pandurangan, Professor Emeritus
Skanda/Murugan and Krsna/Vasudeva as Pan-Indian Divinities: A Comparative Study
It is interesting to study the dynamics of the assimilation of Krsna/Vasudeva and Skanda/Murugan as divinities in the Hindu fold though both Krsna and Murugan are considered not part of the early Vedic group of deities worshipped. This paper examines the dynamics of the assimilation as also the differences that can be gleaned in the assimilation itself. For instance while Krsna/Vasudeva has found a place in the philosophical Bhakti Vedanta schools as the highest theistic expression, the same cannot be evidenced for Skanda/Murugan. Similarly while the indigenous modes of worship like kavadi and firewalking are still very much in vogue for the Skanda/Murugan cult there has been not much of a trace left of the original Krsna/Vasudeva worship as such. These and other questions pertaining to both the deities will be examined in this paper.
T. S. Rukmani
The Tirumurukātruppadai of Nakkeerar is very famous and popular among Tamils for various reasons. Nakkeerar is still a living sprit among Tamils. His famous statement “netrik kannai thirappinum kutram kutrame” is used even today in verbatim. Nakkeerar's Tirumurukātruppadai was the first ever work on Murugan which was totally devoted to Murugan. Tirumurukātruppadai of Nakkeerar is unique in another way also. This work is completely devoid of any mythological description. Murugan is no doubt treated as God supreme but at the same time He was portrayed as normal person without unbelievable features. The portrayal of Murugan with six faces alone is something unnatural. Otherwise Murugan is treated like any other human being.
Some months ago when I was in Palani, I happened to come across a copy of Tirumurukātruppadai, but to my surprise I found the author name was Arunagirinathar. Until that date I never knew such a work existed. In this paper I propose to discuss this work trying to find the authenticity of the same. In fact, at the end of my research I conclude that the above work is not by Arunagirinathar of Tiruppugazh fame but by some one with similar name. The paper gives the entire work with detailed discussion on various aspects.
Dr. J. Rāmachandran
Worship of Arumuga and His Abodes
This deals mainly with the six abodes of Murugan with adequate importance of worship in Murugan temples in all the six abodes under the two titles:
According to Kunrutoratal in the fifth abode not only Tiruttani but some others like Vaittisvaran Koyil, Kunrakkuti, Tirumalai, Viralimalai may be included.
Dr. K. Ramaswamy
The Concept of Muruka according to St. Ramalinga Swamigal
St. Ramalinga Swamigal was one of the greatest devotees of Lord Muruga. Only in this later years he propounded the Universal Self-hood (ānmaneeya orumaippāTTurimai) and worshipped the God only in the form of Light and called Him ‘Arutperunjoti Andavar’.
Even at the young age of nine, Ramalinga Swamigal began to meditate on Lord Muruga in a mirror and sang sweet songs in praise of Lord Muruga.
The whole Tiruarutpa, sung by St. Ramalinga Swamigal contains about 6000 songs. On Lord Muruga alone there are about 560 songs. In these songs he has described Muruga in about 200 different terms. When all the terms are put together the complete concept of Muruga according to St. Ramalingam can be evolved. This paper gives to vivid picture of Lord Muruga as exemplified by St. Ramalingam.
St. Ramalingam has personified Muruga in the following words: He is our Relative, our Fortune, our Friend, Lover, Lord, Servant, Eye, Pupil of the eye, Jewel, Pearl, Gold, Diamond, Ruby, Fruit, Sugarcane, Milk, Honey, Wine, Nectar, Flower, Virtues, Penance, Boon, Truti, Justice, Goodpath, Pure person, Sweet person, the immortal one, Everlasting Joy, Wonder of Wonders, Grace, Soul, Beautiful person, Divine Wisdom, Poet, Great man, New man, unparalleled person, Ocean, Feast, Seed, Perfection, Wealth, Life, Munificent Lord, Person of the above world, Light, Great person, omnipotent person, King, Warrior, Hero, etc. From the above terms, St. Ramalingam’s concept of Lord Muruga can be remunerated.
Dr. M. Sadasivam, Erode
Kavadi Cult in Murugan Worship
Religion is an inseparable part of human life. Right from the beginning of the human civilization, religious beliefs coupled with practices were noticed in obscure sketches drawn on walls dugout from the ground. These sketches reflect mystic philosophy of creed. India has a glorious heritage as far as origin of religion is concerned. Therefore, the religious pundits in general and historians in particular see India as a holy land, punya bhumi and is a mother of many religions. These religions have earned world wide fame and glory. Among the Hindu pantheons Lord Murugan has been identified as a god of Tamils. The Tamil classic Tolkappiyam clearly mentions Lord Muruga the god of Kurinci land it means Lord Muruga has been a popular god among the Tamils since the ancient times.
In order to worship Lord Muruga the people have been performing different cult practices. The Kavadi cult is one among them. The Kavadi bearing custom has been a age old popular custom in the Tamil society. Properly an object called kavadi in the form of a segment of a circle was made, decorated with multi flowers, designed coconut leafs along with pooja items to enrich the cult. The word kavadi is a combination of two words ie kava and adi intended to mean the vow made to walk from the distance to the place of pilgrimage on foot. This cult is observed to achieve particular objectives. It is necessary to note that some of the kavadis do not have this kind of shape, but named them as kavadi. The intense religions faith or the untired, involvement in the cult practices ensure the boundless happiness and peace of mind to the devotee.
In this paper an empirical attempt has been made to collect information pertaining to core ideas to kavadi cult at different places on different occasions in Tamil Nadu. The different shape of kavadi bearing, practice of fast preceding the kavadi are discussed. Further a new approach is made to present the shapes of different kavadis to the readers.
Dr. A. Singaravel
On Knowledge of Murukan
Tamils and non-Tamils alike pray to and worship Murukan. Most Tamils, especially in Mauritius, tend to identify, in a most naÔve and simplistic manner, with Murukan, without really asking questions that should be raised. However, given the permanence, albeit the changes, transformations, accretions, adaptations and syncretisms of Murukan, it would be most interesting, if ever that were possible, to try to understand how Murukan, and through Murukan, Ceyyon, and perhaps Kantu as well, is particularly meaningful to the Tamil spirit, the Tamil collective unconscious.
The devotee's life is entirely, or should entirely be dedicated to the deity he has chosen and adopted. But who is it that he is praying and adoring? What is the real significance of the cult? How are we to account for the symbolism? What is the role of the various rituals in our understanding of the deity? Without as clear an understanding as possible of what he is doing, the devotee's action may simply boil down to mere mechanical and void repetition of what has been handed over to him/her by tradition. For sure, tradition is never to be simply and foolishly discarded; but surely an effort should be made to understand the underlying of the tradition.
Is it possible to attain knowledge of Murukan? If so, how are we to reach that knowledge? What is its nature? Is it to be attained through revelation? Asceticism? Study? Faith? Submission? And how are we to reconcile this knowledge with the transcendental nature of Murukan, his alterity? And, finally, what kind of incidence is this knowledge to have on the Tamil view of life, on the daily life of the Tamil, both from an individual standpoint and at the collective level?
Key words: faith, worship, submission, identification.
Mr. Ramanujam Sooriamurty
Herbs and the Hero of the Hills
If one thinks of Lord Murugan, the hills, mountains and higher altitudes will be focused in one's mind. The mountains and the land slides are the gift of the Nature, which includes not only the rocks and valleys, but also the rich vegetation of human importance. People living in higher altitudes not only worshiped Lord Muruga but also the nature especially the herbal wealth of their native. Whatever the health problem and ailment they try to cure using the local herbs. Around the Earth, people worship Muruga and other deities with some special kind of offerings (flowers, leaves, fruits, etc.) and they considered such things as a divine trust. Tamil literature is adorned with such plants and plant parts to praise Lord Muruga. The paper deals with such important herbal plants and their medicinal value and cultural heritage.
Kuringi: [Kuringi vazhum maravar nayaga… 5th padai veedu, Tiruppukal] Strobilanthes (Acanthaceae) A large genus of herbs and shrubs grown for their attractive foliage and flowers. It is mostly native to Indonesia with only a few species occurring in India. The plant flowers in 6-8 year intervals. Pounded leaves are rubbed as a coolant on the body during the cold stage of intermittent fever.
Valli kodi: [Valli padar saral, Valli malai mevum… 5th padai veedu, Tiruppukal] Ipomea (Convolvulaceae), antidiuretic, antidote to snake poison. Roots are used as aphrodisiac, purgative, cholagogue and used in scorpion sting.
The Lotus: [The birth of Karttikeyan is on the lotus flowers of saravanapoigai….] Nelumbo (Nymphaeaceae) A very small genus of aquatic herbs distributed in Asia, Australia and America. The milky viscid juice of leaf and flower stalks is used in diarrhea. Saline extracts of stem, possess bacteriostatic function.
Konrai: [Konrai thadhu valar solai thunri….4th padai veedu, Tiruppukal] Cassia (Ceasalpiniaceae) Cultivated as an ornamental tree for attractive yellow flowers. Roots, bark, seeds and leaves as laxative. Fruit is applied in rheumatism, snake bite. Seeds emetic. Juice of leaves is applied in skin diseases. Root astringent, tonic febrifuge.
Venkai: [Kani nar sorubathaiyetuthu malaikaniyai kaniyurtriduvonae… 3th padai veedu, Tiruppukal] Pterocarpus (Leguminosae) Found in hilly regions throughout the country. Kernel of the fruit emetic, used for toothache, skin diseases. The bark is used as an astringent and as cooling external paste for inflammation and headache.
Kanthal: [Sudar poong kanthal perunthankanni…..Tirumurugatrupadai] Kandelia (Rhizophoraceae) The oil of which contains eugenol ≠ a potential and cheap source of clove oil. It is distributed in Kerala, Jammu, USA and West Africa. Bark mixed with dried ginger or long pepper and rose water used as a cure for diabetes.
Tumpai: [Kuravumaru kungarum, Thumbaiyum, Konraiyum kamazh kadila….. Tiruppukal] Leucas (Lamiaceae), Plant is antipyretic, insecticidal, Juice of leaves applied in Psoriasis. Scabies, chronic skin eruptions. Leaves are considered useful in chronic rheumatism.
Murugan Worship in Valliyur – A Historical Study
Murugan worship is quite an ancient practice throughout Tamilnadu, in particular Tirunelveli District. Tiruchendur is one among the Arupadaiveedu. Valliyur, forty kilometers away from Tiruchevdur is one of a few places bearing the name of Valli in Tamilnadu.
History of Valliyur
Valliyur murugan in Folk Ballads and Songs
Folk Beliefs About Valli and Murugan
Festivals in Valliyur Temple
Kumara Tantra: A Study
Kumara Tantra is an agamic text which is considered as a part of Lalitagama, one of the famous 28 Mula Saivagamas. The unique feature of this work is that it deals exclusively with the rituals and festivals connected with Lord Subrahmanya. This work consists of 3500 verses in 51 chapters. It was told by Lord Siva to sage Kausika. Though there are some references regarding the worship of Kumara in Mulagamas like Kamika, Karana etc. , the details which were left out are given here.
For the upliftment and for the betterment of the kingdom, three types of worship of Skanda are explained viz., Nitya, Naimittika and Kamya. If there is any mistake in these it leads to the destruction of the kingdom and hence Kumara should be worshipped properly as given in Kumara Tantra.
The main paper throws light on the content of this valuable treatise, which is a unique Sanskrit source for the worship of Skanda in temples.
Dr. V. Abhirama Sundaram
Five Abodes of Lord Murugan
Since the term Murukan denotes the Beauty of Nature, the abodes of the Lord Murugan are also enriched by the same beauty of nature. Lord Murugan is worshipped in many such places. Among the six abodes, Tiruchendur is situated in the seashore. All others are situated in hilly regions. Information regarding Tiruttani Murugan and Tirupparankundram Murugan is presented elaborately. Avinankudi, Palani, Idumban Malai, etc are also discussed with regards to Murugan. In this paper, discussion on Porur Murukan, Kanda Kottam Murugan, etc. also find a place.
Tmt. Lalitha Sundaram
History of Muruka Worship in Sri Lanka
Muruga worship in Sri Lanka is unique. Since Sri Lanka is a piece of land that escaped from the sinking of the continent of Lemuria, Muruga worship followed by the Dravidians had continued in this Island too.
This is proved by the following evidences:
Later the Muruga worship was well established at Kataragama. This place is of International importance. It has become the Mecca of Muruga devotees, all over the Island. Kataragama is mentioned in Mahavamsa, the foremast Historical document of Sri Lanka. Mention is also made of (a) Singhala Kings' Worship at Kataragama and (b) the planting of pious white Bo-tree at Kataragama.
During the 4th century A. D., Tamil Kings of Pandyan origin ruled in the Kataragama Region and they were known as Kataragama Kshatriyas due to their connection with Kataragama. Their dynasty continued for five generation. This is also mentioned in "Mahavamsa".
There are several ancient Muruga Temples in the North and East Provinces of Sri Lanka. These are Tamil Provinces, where the people are predominantly Hindus. The following are some of the important Muruga Temples in these Provinces:
Traditions of Muruga worship in Sri Lanka too is unique. They are:
Rituals in Muruga worship in Sri Lanka are also unique, viz.:
Katargama Esala festival is another unique form of worship in Sri Lanka. Pilgrimage to Kataragama, the massive coneoeqal, the fire-walk and the water cutting ceremonies are also unique in Sri Lanka. This is depicted in ample measure in the book written by Mr. Patrick Harrigan namely Kataragama The Mystery Shrine
Pan Hindu Pilgrimage Traditions, Batu Caves and Murukan Worship
Within the generic Hindu tradition, pilgrimage is known as tirtha-yatra; that is, a journey (yatra) to a ford or crossing place (tirtha) . While some tirtha-s many actually consist of river crossings, the term may be more literally interpreted to incorporate any recognized pilgrimage centre any one of a broad range of liminal median locations in which the boundary between human and divine worlds is both permeable and negotiable. In a general sense, then, a pilgrimage many be viewed as a journey to a destination ("crossing place") where deities normally transcendent are both imminent and accessible.
A pilgrimage centre may be conceptualized as an axis mundi, a central pivot of the cosmos which is outside mundane space and time, even though it is a visible site on earth as well. The shrine is idealized as a ritually ordered universe and is demarcated from the chaos and sorrow of the Kali Yuga (current age), by a succession of clearly stipulated boundaries. The gatekeeper marks the point of transition from the outside world to the otherworldly shrine. The heart of the shrine is suffused with sacred power which forms a dense and patterned representation of ritual symbolism.
Tamil purana-s consistently localize mythic action, so that pilgrimage sites are firmly linked to a particular phase of a given deity's history. Despite the multiplicity of pilgrimage sites in South India, each shrine is viewed as the centre of the universe, the one place that is directly connected to the other worlds. Jut as localization establishes a nexus between place and mythic action, so it determines and prescribes the forms of ritual worship considered appropriate at each specific pilgrimage centre.
The journey from the periphery, from the mundane world of the Kali Yuga, to the centre, the axis mundi. Where direct communication can be made with the imminent deity is an integral defining aspect of pilgrimage. The journey is initiated when the aspirant commences a set of purificatory rituals which place him/her outside mundane societal routines, and culminates with the direct and personal approach made by the pilgrim to the deity.
This paper will explore these concepts and their observance within the context of the Murukan festival of Tai Pucam as it is commemorated at Batu Caves, Malaysia. This paper will trace the development of Batu Caves as a recognized Malaysian Hindu pilgrimage destination, dedicated to the deity Murukan, and document its enduring association with Tai Pucam. It will demonstrate that although both pilgrimage traditions and the festival of Tai Pucam itself have been closely modeled upon the mythology and ritual celebrated at Palani, Tamil Nadu, the processes of adaptation have endowed the observances with attributes and an orientation which are distinctly Malaysian.
The paper will argue that the mythology of Murukan and Tai Pucam cumulatively prescribe ritualized patterns of worship which at Batu Caves find central expression in the bearing of kavati-s. It will further contend that kavati worship constitutes an act of pilgrimage which clearly embraces all the major elements which comprise the pan-Hindu tirtha-yatra paradigm. The paper will conclude that while kavati worship provides layers of meaning to Malaysian Hindus, its adaptation at Batu Caves signals a diversity of allegiances, including a broader identification with an imagined wider and enduring world of pan-Hindu civilization.
Kumarakuruparar, The Tamil Saint associated with Murukan
Kumarakuruparar was born in a small hamlet Śrī Kailasam, near the town Śrī Vaikuntam, situated in the northern bank of Tamiraparani river of then Pandiya kingdom and at present in Tirunelveli district of southern most part of Tamilnadu. His parents were Canmukacikamanik Kavirayar and Sivagamasundari. Until the age of five Kumarakuruparar was unable to speak and remained dumb. His parents took him to Tiruchendur, the abode of Lord Murukan and prayed for the removal of the child's deficiency. Finally Lord Murukan blessed the child with the elimination of its dumbness. Kumarakuruparar after attaining the ability of perfect speech, rendered songs on Chendil Andavan, another name of Lord Murukan at Tiruchendur and those songs were compiled and named as Kandarkalivenpa.
The broad objectives of this research paper are as follows:
The source material for this research paper will be mainly the literary work Kandarkalivenpa and the history of Kumarakuruparar collected from different sources.
Social Development and Tiru-vi-ka’s Murukan Arul vettal
by Va. Mu. Se. Andavar
A research paper in Tamil that discusses at length about the social development as stated in the Tamil book namely “Murukan Arul vettal” (Seeking the Grace of Lord Murukan) by the celebrated Tamil writer Tiru-vi-ka. This paper speaks about the revival in Murukan worship in 20th Century as well as the involvement of reputed scholars in this direction. Tiru-vi-ka’s contribution in this great revival is objectively evaluated with number of illustrations from his writings. It also speaks about the sacred shrines of Lord Murukan enumerated in Tiru-vi-ka’s works. Murukan has become a metaphor for the ideal Tamil society envisioned by the Tamil scholar Tiru-vi-ka.
Lord Murukan - The God of Medicine
by Prof. J.G. Kannappan
The concept of God as a doctor in Tamil and Sanskrit traditions is discussed with a focus on the famous temple near Chidambaram known as Vaitheeswaran Koyil. Here, Murukan is worshipped with Siva and his consort for getting remedy from bodily ailments and mental agony. There had been many earlier and present incidents when Lord Murukan (Muttukumaraswami) had rendered pain relief and wound healing. Lord Murukan is not only an omnipotent blesser of goodness but also a medical healer.
Though Lord Murukan at Palani is installed for spiritual and philosophical basis, but materialistically, a procedure in turn helps to improve the health of devotees. This paper establishes the fact that the ancient Tamils have proposed Saivism on Scientific basis and the creation of Gods and their blessings in towards the welfare of mankind.
Worship on Arumuga and His Abodes
by K. Ramaswamy
This deals mainly with the six abodes of Murukan with adequate importance of worship in Murukan temples in all the six abodes under the two titles:
According to Kunrutoratal in the fifth abode not only Tiruttani but some others like Vaittisvaran koyil, Kunrakkuti, Tirumalai, Viralimalai included.
Kuruparar Porriya Kuruparan
Srimat Dr. Kumaraswamy Tambiran
This deals with Kumarakuruparan’s merit as a devotee. He is the master of cirrilakkiyam and praised as Kutti Tiru jnana Campantar.
He has very clearly expressed that Lord Murukan is not a very different lord from Siva. He has been compared to Lord Siva in literatures and they are will indicated here. The dealing of Murukan and Tamil has a clear exposition in the article. Similarly the relationship of Murukan with three concept of tiriveni cankamam, mukkunam, muppolutu etc are well explained. The origin of Murukan along with the connected mythology are also dealt with in detail.
As he could not speak up to his 5th age and only after the grace of Lord Murukan he could able to speak and so with all loyalty and gratitude Kuruparan expounded the greatness of Murukan in a clear way of expressions.
His words of praising Lord Murukan is worth praising for our elevation of life. As rightly pointed out by him, “aliyata vitum tarakkatavan ivan” The devotees of Murukan will be abundantly benefited both in immai and marumai by worshipping him.
Themes in Kanta Puranam
by Smt. Vasuki Kannappan
It is in mythology of Lord Siva the right eye is sun, left eye is Moon and third eye is fire and correspondingly there are three mythological works namely Periyapuranam, Tiruvilaiyatal Puranam and Kanta Puranam respectively. Since the text of Kanta Puranam is correlated to fire, there is ample relevance of mythology of Murukan originated from the fire of the third eye of Siva. Among the Cera, Cola, Pantiyas the Ceras belong to fire and the others Colas and Pantiyas belong to sun and moon respectively. The three mythological works relating to these three are:
Periya Puranam =
All these have central themes. Service to human is more valuable and by doing so the grace of god can be felt. Depending on the deeds, the fate is ruling man, Acura, Deva and all. So doing or helping good deeds only stand. Man should not live without the sense of gratitude and this is emphasized in Kanta Puranam very much. The story of Dakshan and Surabadman are very important to analyse how to live a life.
Worship of Murukan: Evidence from Cankam literature
by N. Murali
Many gods were worshipped in the olden days, in particular Murukan - The Lord of Kurunji land has been given great importance owing to his familiarity among the people of Kurunji land. Tirumurukuattrappadai and Paripatal gives us a glimpse of the procedures adopted in worshipping lord Murukan.
The Kuravas who are the tribal people of kurunji land adopted the way of offering goat sacrifice and other eatables to please Lord Murukan. They use to worship lord Murukan with flowers and rice soaked in goat’s blood. Veriyādal a situation where Lord Murukan is believed to enter into the soul of a man and thus is believe to bless the kuravas community through that man. Kuravai korthu method of worship to please Murukan was performed by the men and women of Kurava community. These worshipping methods include dancing and singing under a particular tree of Kurunji land. Singiyadital is another mode adopted to worship Murukan by Kurunji people. This included beating up of the ribcages with his elbows.
The Brahmins of Cankam period had a different way of worshipping Lord Murukan. They used flowers to worship Murukan and recited mantras in a low tone. It has been that Lord Murukan was pleased with the forms of worship and in turn bless to the people of Kurunji land lead happy and prosperous life.
The forms of worship by all sects of people in the Kurunji land, their faith in lord Murukan, the culture of the Kurunji land people and Lord Murukan response to their prayers are addressed in this article. Special emphasis is given on the appearance of Lord Murukan on each occasion. Places of worship of Murukan such as Tiruchendur, Tirupparankundram etc., are given special emphasis to explain devotion of people towards Lord Murukan. Quotes from Parippadal and Tiru are given where ever necessary. An attempt has been made to make the prospective reader fully aware of the Murukan worship during Cankam period.
The abodes of Ciruvapuri Murukan
Mrs. Alamelu Chockalingam
This article discusses at length about the importance of the sacred abode of Lord Murukan in Ciruvapuri, a village near Ponneri in Tamil Nadu. The puranic tradition traces the origin of the temple to the period of Ramayana while the historians consider this as belonging to the age of the Pallava kings. Legends relate this place with the Acuvamita yagam in Ramayana and explain the etymology of this village. This place was immortalised by Saint Arunakirinathar in his devotional songs. This paper deals with the structure of the temple, its rich mythological background and the various rituals.
From Tribalism to Culturalism: A study of the Transformation of Velan to Murukan in the Tamil Tradition
by Dr. K. Sadasivan
Old traditions die hard is an old saying, much often spoken in the intellectual context. In fact, it is not always true. Old orders give way to new orders. This is mostly true in the case of the traditions of early Tamilaham, which had undergone vast changes in the process of absorption and assimilation of new ones. Appropriation of many original or tribal or folk traditions had taken place in the long tradition of Tamil history, which has been transformed into the systematic ones. In fact, the process of accommodation necessitated the death or transformation of the original, may be the tribal ones. In any such interface the casualty or victim would be the minor order i.e. the local or the indigenous or the tribal. In this, sometimes the ferocious indigenous or tribal ones are transformed into the cultured and the benign.
One such a tribal tradition that had undergone transformation to become the cultured is that of Velan to Murukan. In the process of change Velan, the spearman, the ferocious, the malevolent and the fierceful, had been transformed into the most benign, the loving and the lovable youth, the god of fertility, Murukan, the Cey, the child of Civa and Parvati of the major system.
It is not known when and how did this transformation take place. It is also not known whether it is the two faces, the malevolent, and the benevolent of the same God. This paper therefore makes an attempt to study the time and processes of the transformation of Velan from the tribal to the cultural Murukan.
This study has been made drawing and information from both the primary and secondary sources. Primary sources include some of the Cankam classics, (Purananuru, Pattinappalai, Ainkurunuru, Kurunthokai, Maduraik-kanchi, Paripatal and TiruMurukantruppadai), Tolkappiyam, the extant Tamil grammar, post-Cankam classic, the Cilappadikaram, the archaeological remains from Adichchanallur and other places. The secondary sources consulted include the works of Tiru. Vi. Kalyanasundaranar, Professor K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, KK Pillay, C Thandapani Tecikar, Kamil V Zvelebil, PT Srinivasa Iyengar, N Subramaniam, AL Basham, Gustav Oppert, VR Ramachandra Dikshitar, Rt. Rev. Henry Whitehead, etc. The method applied is cultural anthropology and the approach is critical analysis.
By making this study, it is hoped to throw light on the socio-religious history of Tamil Nadu of the remove past. Murukan, the hill-god had become the most popular and powerful deity of the Tamils, whose abodes are great centres of divine worship and pilgrimage of the Tamils of all sections.
Murukan Worship in Panchalamkurich Folk Tradition
Panchalamkurich, a place of historical significance, is situated 18 km north west of the harbour city Tutukudi in Tamil Nadu, South India. During the later half of the 18th Century, when the East India Company was attempting to establish their authority in the southern part of India, the Panchalankurich Chieftains put up a stiff resistance. In the end Panchalamkurich Chief Kattabomman and his brother Umaidurai were hanged to death. Numerous ballads praising the great heroic deeds of these freedom fighters came up.
The Panchalamkurich poligars (dukes) had a sincere devotion towards the God Murukan, the famous deity at Tiruchendur. From the folk traditions such as ballads and stories, we get a lot of information about the affinity of the poligars for the Lord Murukan.
The poligar Kattanbomman made a precious golden locket for his wife. That night Lord Murukan appeared to Kattabomman in a dream and asked him to offer that locket to the Goddess Valli Nayaki. With great pleasure Kattabomman along with his wife went to Tiruchendur temple and offered the locket to Devi Valli as commanded by Lord Murukan. Such pieces of information are available in the folk traditions.
Traditionally the Nayaks worshipped Lord Vishnu as their Supreme God and Sakkammal as their family mother-deity. This paper highlights the reasons why Kattabomman Nayak a staunch Vaishnava was attracted towards Lord Murukan, and this paper also discusses the following:
Scientific and Symbolic approach of Murukan’s Holy Places Palani and Tiruchendur: A Comparative Study
Dr. S. Andal
Reader in English
The aim of this paper is to bring out the fame of Lord Murukan through scientific and symbolic approach to Murukan’s holy place Palani and Tiruchendur. In this paper we will make use of the technique of comparison and contrast. This paper will have two parts. The first part will discuss the scientific ideas which could be associated with Lord Murukan’s holy places – Palani and Tiruchendur. And the second part will deal with symbolic ideas which could be associated with Palani and Tiruchendur.
Regarding the scientific approach to Palani Hill, the essay will speak about the role of Pada Yatra (reaching the Palani Hill by walk) which is followed by Hindus during Thaipusam festival. Here we will discuss clearly how Pada Yatra acts as a nature cure to pilgrims. As a next step we will discuss how girivalam (going round the hill by walk) helps the devotee to have good health. As a third step we will bring out how the steps in Palani Hill help the devotee to get normal blood circulation. Next we will try to point out how the idol of Palani Andavar could give good health to the devotee. As a fifth step we will point out how Kanta Sasti festival which is celebrated by the pilgrims in the name of Lord Murukan helps the devotee to have good health.
To conclude we can say that both Palani and Tiruchendur suggest that we can have our aim as high as Palani Hill or as vast as Tiruchendur sea. To attain our aim let us pray both to Bala Murukan who is standing in the shape of small child in Palani Hill and also to the beautiful, elegant and triumphant winner of SuraPadman – Arumugam of Tiruchendur.
Karttikeya Worship in contemporary North India: Uttara Swamimalai Temple, New Delhi
Dr. K. Balachandran
In North India, temples for Durga (Kali), Śrī Ramar, Śrī Krishna and Siva are famous. To find a temple for Lord Murukan (Karttikeya) is a rare feature. The 70s saw the fulfillment of the dreams of South Indians in New Delhi in the form of Murukan temple in the VIIth sector, Rama Krishnapuram.
We know the six Padai Veedus – the six important shrines of Lord Murukan – Swamimalai, Palni, Tiruttani, Tiruchendur, Tirupparankunram and Pazhamudircholai. New Delhi Śrī Swaminatha Swami Temple is considered to be the seventh Padai Veedu. It is situated on the top of the 90 feet hillock. It is said that Lord Swaminatha Himself indicated in a dream to a devotee this place of His abode. It was in the heart of a vast thicket of berry trees and in the vicinity of a tiny village Vasant Gaon.
The paper analyses the various details about this temple which is called ‘Malai Mandir.
Arupadai Veedukanda Arumukan
Dr. N. Kanthimati Lakshmi
Head of the Dept. of Tamil
The Ancient Tamilians praised Lord Murukan as “Arumperal Merabil Perumpeyar Murukan” He was considered a beautiful deity as the World. “CRUCIL” suggests held Murukan who is the first deity of Senthamish, has been worshipped from ancient times.
“Ceyon meya mai varai ulagam” (Tolkappiyam) states Tolkapianurpa. TiruMurukantrupadai which servies as invocation, for pathupattu deals entirely with Lord Murukan. Other Pieces of ancient times – Akananooru Madurai Kanchi, Perumpanatrupadai, Kurunthohai all contain references to Lord Murukan. This essay analyses the famous six shrines of Lord Murukan that have been celebrated in ancient works of Tamil literature.
How the name originated: People considered nature as god so they names their god ‘Murugu’ and added the suffix ‘an’ and worshipped in the name of Murukan Padaiveedu generally refers to the citadels of war. In that way only Tiruchendur can be considered Padai Veedu as Murukan stayed these to kill surapatuman in a battle. Why other shrines are also called padai veedu can be classified, for these exists reasons.
In Cankam period a poet who has prospered under the patronage of one, would ask another of his tribe to approach him and benefit just like him. This mode is known as attrupadai. Nakeerar benefited by Lord Murukan so he advises other to reap similar benefits by worshipping Him in the way Nakeerar did. So was TiruMurukantru Padai written.
Arupadai Veedu: of the six kinds of religious sects, ‘gowmaram’ is the one in which Lord Murukan is considered God of the entire universe. The Lord with the six letters (Tamil) ‘Saravanabhava’ has six faces are and resides in six shrines. One of the most important festivals connected with Murukan is Kandasasti, that lasts for six days. So in many aspects he bears the number six in a unique way.
“Tiruparamkundrathu Arase! Seeralaivai muthey’ Pazhanimalai Kāna Mani Vilakey, Erakatinperu Vazhvey, Kundruthoradal Peruvazhvey, Pazhamuthircholai, Pazhamuthircholai Paranai” observed Arunagirinathar.
Tiruparamkundram: It is about 6 miles of Madurai the capital of Pandya Kingdom. It is a hill in the south west of Madurai. As lord Murukan stayed there it was called ‘Skanda Malai’ Many sangam pieces celebrate Lord Murukan of this hill.
Tiruchendur: This is situated in the eastern seashore of Tamil Nadu. In Sangam period as well as in the period that followed it was called ‘Alaivai’ since Lord Murukan won a battle, this place is called ‘Tiruchendur’ meaning place of victory. Tiruchendur Aksval, Tiruchendur Kalambakan are some of the famous literary pieces which celebrate this shrine.
Tiruvavinankudi: This shrine lies between Varaka hill and Kodaikanal hill. Avinankudi which was celebrates by the great poet Nakeerar is at the base of this mountain. In one and the same place there are two shrines for the Lord and this is a special feature. It is also called Pazhani.
Tiruverakam: This is the fourth padaiveedu and is presently know as Swamimalai. Since he was the guru for his father in this spot, the god is known as ‘Swaminathan’ in this shrine. It is about eight kilometers from Kumbhakonam.
Kundruthoradal: It doesn’t stand a single shrine, but includes all hills, and hilly areas which possess temples of Lord Murukan. This is evident from Nakeerar’s remark, “Kundruthoradalum Nindrathan Panbey” Kachiappan’s observation: "Kundrathordiya Kumarapattruvām” are proofs.
Pazhamutircholai: In the north of Madurai about 19 kms away lies this shrine. This has a feature which is distinct from the other padaiveedukal. This Murukan shrine is a combination of Saivam and Vaishnavam. So it stands for the unity of the two different sects of Hinduism.
The Lord of the Arupadaiveedu, stands as Pranavam swarupam embodiment of Pranavam and dominates Tamil hearts because of his immense mercy.
A study of the impact of festivals associated with Lord Murukan on Modern Society
Dr. S. Lakshmi,
Festivals associated with Lord Murukan are having economic, social, environmental and other impacts on the society. Whenever and wherever the festivals are celebrated there one can see a mushroom growth of petty shops. Temporary hotels and restaurants will also come up. All these activities will lead to the creation of avenues for the people to earn a living. Again infrastructure development will take place. For instance, various modes of transport will get a fillip during the festival season. Pilgrim centres will get a face-lift during the festival period since the Government has taken steps to ensure integrated development of infra structure facilities including basic amenities in the identified pilgrim centres.
Pilgrim centres can be used as a place for the dissemination of information on all aspects for the welfare of the people. Steps can be taken to create awareness among the pilgrims about the significance of the cultural values and thereby to bring about much needed peace in the society. In sum it can be stated that festivals associated with Lord Murukan will help to achieve the desired goal of peace of mind and spirit along with overall development of the economy.
The Wedding of Valli and Murukan in Tamil Literature