Lord Skanda-Murugan
 

Śrī Gnana Pandita (18558 bytes -- worth waiting 
for!) Murugan the Gnana Pandita or Expositor of Gnosis with His 
symbols the Vel Ayudha or Spear of Wisdom and vehicle/totem the 
Peacock = Phoenix. Behind Him rises the morning Sun symbolising 
bodhi (the awakened mind).

International Centre for the Study of Skanda-Murukan

In late 1998, hundreds of scholars and devotees of the pan-Indian god Murukan or Skanda convened in Chennai to exchange findings about the complex god and his cult from earliest times down to the present. The First International Conference Seminar on Skanda-Murukan was remarkable both for the sheer size of the conference and for the broad range of research topics and expertise of scholars and devotees. At the conclusion of the Conference, participants voted overwhelmingly to create a formal institution to promote the study of Murukan or Skanda worldwide. The International Centre for the Study of Skanda-Murukan was born.

Since late Vedic times in the Sanskrit tradition and possibly far earlier among the proto-Dravidian and tribal peoples of the South, the vigorous and complex deity Skanda or Murukan has exerted a powerful influence upon Indian literature and religious thought. Even today, his cult continues to command the allegiance of millions in South India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and wherever there are expatriate Tamil communities.

Conference participants unanimously recognized the need for greater dialogue among scholars of Skanda-Murukan and the community of informed devotees. An international association or center that brings scholars and learned Murukan bhaktas together could achieve wonders in promoting Kaumara studies worldwide. Affiliated scholars including informed bhaktas from across South India, Sri Lanka, and worldwide may collaborate in research projects and participate in seminars in an environment conducive to vigorous intellectual exchange.

For scholars and devotee alike, the founding of the International Centre for the Study of Skanda-Murukan as the first and only international body of its kind in the worldrepresents a watershed in Kaumara studies. For this reason alone, the First International Conference Seminar on Skanda-Murukan will long be remembered as a watershed in the study of one of the world's great religious and literary traditions.

Delegates at the First Murukan Conference
Delegates at the First Murukan Conference
First Murukan Conference main venue
First Murukan Conference main venue, Institute of Asian Studies, Chennai
Conference delegates included the Vice-President of Mauritius and Sri Lankan Minister Thondaiman
Conference delegates included the Vice-President of Mauritius and Sri Lankan Minister Thondaiman (centre) among others.
Sri Lankan scholar delegates at the First Murukan Conference
Sri Lankan scholar delegates at the First Murukan Conference
Murukan Conference was an occasion for socializing also
The Conference was an occasion for socializing also.
Delegates participated in a post-Conference tour of Aru Padai Veedu Temples, including Palani.

ICSSM Activities

Scope of the Centre's Activities

The International Centre for the Study of Skanda-Murukan undertakes activities concerning the cult of Skanda-Murukan from earliest times down to the present as considered from such disciplinary perspectives as:

History

Art History

Literature

Religion

Mythology

Folklore

Philosophy

Anthropology

Sociology

ICSSM activities include:

  • Organisation of the First International Conference Seminar on Skanda-Murukan in December, 1998;
  • Creation of a Web site for Skanda-Murukan studies;
  • Editing and publication of research articles written for the First International Murukan Conference.

Forthcoming ICSSM projects include:

  • Organisation of national and international conferences;
  • Electronic conferences via e-mail and Internet;
  • Publication of an ICSSM newsletter;
  • Compilation of an encyclopedia of Skanda-Murukan;
  • Lecture tours of learned scholars and devotees;
  • On-line directory of Murukan temples worldwide;
  • Endowment of university chairs and fellowships;
  • Co-production of television documentaries;
  • Translation of Kaumara texts from Tamil, Sanskrit, Sinhala, etc. including original palmleaf manuscripts;
  • Restoration of ancient Murukan temples;
  • Establishing microfilm, video, photographic and digital archives of the cult of Kaumara; and
  • Dialogue with scholars and representatives of other faiths.

Multimedia projects include the production of video documentaries, CD-ROMs and digital resource areas on the Internet. The Centre also sponsors artistic performances like Murukan Tiruvilaiyatal and Valli Tirumanam in the Bharata Natyam genre and Tiruppukazh recitals in India and abroad.

The Centre's Website is updated regularly to keep up with developments, such as:

  • on-line edition of the Centre's newsletter;
  • forthcoming seminars and conferences;
  • directory of scholars and their research interests;
  • hyper-links to related WWW digital resources; and
  • video documentaries and other multimedia projects.

ICSSM Objectives

The objectives of the International Centre for the Study of Skanda-Murukan are:

(i) To study the diverse aspects of the cult of Murukan or Skanda or Subrahmanya as he is variously known throughout the Indian subcontinent and overseas among expatriate Indian communities from ancient times down to the present using appropriate methodologies and technologies, with particular attention paid to exploring the differences and similarities found among diverse literary, oral and performative traditions;
(ii) To undertake activities in support of the above objectives by organizing periodic conferences and seminars;
(iii) To encourage translation work of Kaumara literary works between source languages including Tamil, Sanskrit, Sinhala, English and other languages as well as critical appraisal of the works of leading authorities;
(iv) To utilize technological advances such as in information technology to expedite research, scholarly dialogue and electronic publication of that research using the available printed and electronic media;
(v) To promote Kaumara Studies in academic settings around the world by supporting the creation of chairs, fellowships and scholarships to be awarded to outstanding and dedicated scholars;
(vi) To appoint commissions which will study matters relating to the fulfilling of the above objects.
(vii) To do such other lawful things as are conducive to the attainment of the above objects.
(viii) To promote interaction with scholars and practitioners of other religious and spiritual traditions in the Indian subcontinent and all over the world;

How you can support Centre activities

The International Centre for the Study of Skanda-Murukan is incorporated as a non-profit limited liability company under Section 25 of the Indian Companies Registration Act. As a non-profit company it is empowered to accept tax-exempt donations and to raise funds for projects by offering shares in the Centre for purchase by investors.

The success of the International Centre for the Study of Skanda-Murukan depends upon generous financial support from a variety of sources including share purchases and outright donations. If you would like to contribute to the success of the International Centre for the Study of Skanda-Murukan, or if you know of an individual, company, or agency that might, please consider purchasing shares in the Centre and its wide range of activities.


For more information about the Centre, e-mail your enquiry.

Murukan Conference home page

Murugan.org home page