Lord Skanda-Murugan

Murugan Bhakti Newsletter No. 12: September 2002

New Murugan Bhakti research articles include:
Tamil Traditions on Subrahmanya­-Murugan Alexander the Great and Greek Companion cavalry ride into battle
Tamil Traditions on Subrahmanya­-Murugan
Skanda: The Alexander Romance in India

Newsletter Contents:

  1. New Murugan Bhakti pages
  2. Aru Padai Veedu tour
  3. Third International Murukan Conference
  4. Murugan Arul Pravagam CD
  5. New websites
  6. Annual fund drive

I. New Feature Articles

Articles recently published on Murugan Bhakti websites include:

  1. The famous 1937 article "Skanda: The Alexander Romance in India" by N. Gopala Pillai
  2. Kamil Zvelebil's introduction to Tamil Traditions on Subrahmanya-Murugan
  3. Extract from "Towards Truth: An Australian Spiritual Journey" by Carl Vadivella Belle
  4. Interview with Murugan Bhakti editor Patrick Harrigan
  5. "Kataragama devotion boosts the peace process"
  6. "Kataragama Tevayani Amman Temple: Its History and Traditions"
  7. PLUS twenty articles about Kataragama Pada Yatra at PadaYatra.org

Did you know? Murugan Bhakti websites feature 27 photo galleries, 72 original reasearch articles and total over 1,300 pages?

II. Aru Padai Veedu tour

It is every Murugan devotee's dream. At least once in a lifetime, one should visit Lord Murugan's Aru Padai Veedugal, His Six Great Camps scattered across the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu, even beggar-devotees routinely make the circuit to these six (Tirupparankundram, Tiruchendur, Palani, Swami Malai, Tiruttani and Palamuthirsolai) temples and to many other famous temples sacred to Murugan and other great deities.

Unfortunately, for all but the wealthiest of devotees in nations outside India, Lord Murugan's Aru Padai Veedugal remain distant and virtually inaccessible. In particular, the nearly 20-year conflict in Sri Lanka made it especially hard to visit even Murugan temples in Sri Lanka, let alone temples in India.

One of the aims of Murugan Bhakti has been to make great temples and traditions of Lord Murugan accessible to devotees and scholars, not only by creating Internet resources sites but also by facilitating travel in India for devotees from afar. Not only do the pilgrims themselves benefit spiritually, but in the process they also learn, teach and inspire devotees across Tamil Nadu and especially fellow devotees in their home country upon their return.

Now, that is about to change. Recently a Sri Lankan devotee was inspired to offer to Murugan Bhakti editor Patrick Harrigan sufficient return air fare for a party of outstanding Kataragama Pada Yatra foot pilgrims to undertake pilgrimage to Tamil Nadu. Ten veteran devotees from poor village backgrounds have been carefully selected and invited to accompany Patrick for six weeks from 4 October 2002, inclusive of the Nava Ratri, Deepavali and Kanda Sashti festival periods. Their itinerary calls for them to visit Kanya Kumari, Madurai, Viralimalai, Tiruvannamalai, Rathinagiri, Valli Malai, Bangalore and Chennai as well as all the Aru Padai Veedugal.

The challenge now facing Murugan Bhakti editor Patrick Harrigan is that of mobilizing sufficient funds (about US$150 per pilgrim or $3 per day per pilgrim) to meet the group's travel expenses in India. Already several ashrams and sabhas have offered to provide accommodation to the Kataragama pilgrims, who are all accustomed to roughing it for weeks at a time. Unless sufficient funds are found, the trip will have to be cancelled for many of the pilgrims. All are poor villagers who can scarcely afford to visit Colombo, let alone India.

If you would like more information about the tour, or would like to sponsor one of the Sri Lankan Kataragama devotees (wholly or in part) to enable them to join the Aru Padai Veedu pilgrimage, contact Murugan Bhakti editor Patrick Harrigan or go to the Online Donations page (specify that the donation is for Aru Padai Veedu pilgrims). Indian rupee donations are also acceptable.

III. Third International Murukan Conference in Malaysia, May 2003

The Third International Conference Seminar on Skanda-Murukan will take place in Malaysia in May 2003. Representatives of the Tamil diaspora from many countries are expected to participate in the conference. New online Murukan Confernce pages includea comprehensive list of research topics and an easy online registration form.

For more details go to the 3rd Murukan Conference announcement or e-mail enquiries to: editor@murugan.org

IV. Release of Murugan Temples CD "Murugan Arul Pravagam"

Murugan Arul Pravagam, the first multimedia CD-ROM on the various popular temples of Lord Muruga, has recently been released after years of development. The CD is exclusively designed and developed to cater to Muruga bhaktas all over the world. The striking feature of the temples of Lord Muruga is that every one of them is unique and has great historical and mythological significance. Hence every ancient Murugan temple has its own story or sthalapuranam to tell. The Murugan Arul Pravagam CD-ROM series aims to bring out the uniqueness of each of Murugan's holy shrines.

This CD-ROM is bilingual with data available in Tamil and English. Great care has been taken to make the software user-friendly and highly interactive.

Another important feature of this CD is the audio component. The Mambalam Sisters have rendered two songs set to melodious music. This is meant to be the daily prayer for Muruga bhaktas. The hymns have been selected with great care. The audio selections on this CD-ROM are superb.

The Muruga temples covered in Murugan Arul Pravagam include:

To order Murugan Arul Pravagam for US$ 39.95 + shipping, visit SpiritualVisits.com. E-mail enquiries to support@spiritualvisits.com.

V. Our website network continues to expand

The Living Heritage Network has added three more websites:

  1. Wanni.org
  2. Goviya.com
  3. Koslanda.com

The Murugan Bhakti Network now includes the following active websites:

  1. Murugan.org main website of the Network
  2. Kataragama.org
  3. Palani.org
  4. Tiruchendur.org
  5. Pongi.org
  6. Jnanamalai.org
  7. PadaYatra.org
  8. Annadanam.org
  9. Ratnagiri.org

Note: Rathinagiri.org website has been reassigned to Ratnagiri.org

IV. Murugan Bhakti Annual Fund Drive

Last year it was decided to invite visitors to help us to meet the cost of hosting Murugan Bhakti websites. We set a modest target of US$300 only with a view to expand our server space by 50% in 2002. Within the first month we had exceeded our target, raising $460, enough to double our server space during 2002 with funds to spare for domain registration.

Again the time has come for us to renew domain registrations and pay for Internet server space for the next 12 months.

Those acquainted with Murugan Bhakti know that our operational expenses are remarkably small in relation to the resources we provide to devotees, researchers and others. What most do not know is that the editor and a few volunteers are unpaid for the hundreds of hours spent annually to upgrade and expand Murugan Bhakti websites. Based in Sri Lanka and India and subsisting on local budgets, they are in no position to support the dollar costs associated with hosting an Internet network.

If you are one who appreciates the value of Murugan Bhakti websites and are in a position to help it to continue to serve scholars and devotees all over the world, then we invite you to show your support at this time. To do so, visit the Online Donations page or contact Murugan Bhakti editor Patrick Harrigan editor@murugan.org.

Murugan Bhakti: Official PayPal Seal

Murugan Bhakti Newsletter No. 12: Newsletter of the Murugan Bhakti Network

To read past issues, go to the Murugan Bhakti online archives at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/murugan_bhakti/

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