Devaraya Swamigal's contribution to ‘Murukanism'
Dr. Sivagami Paramasivam, M.A., M.Ed., M.Phil., Ph.D., PGDTM
Indian cultural and spiritual civilization has a long history, perhaps the longest one among the great civilizations of the world. India has seen herself and has been seen by others as the land of greater wisdom. India is a land of rare endowments. Indian ideas and institutions, taken as a whole, resemble those of no other people. They have a peculiar shape and flow of their own. Though India was politically conquered by outsiders, was never culturally or spiritually conquered by any. This peculiarity has to some degree penetrated and pervaded nearly every part of what is geographically India. That is because of the contact, faith and relationship of man (Indian) with religion. Religion is a path shower, director, mentor, moulder, and mother, as it takes man closer to God.
One such religious path is Hinduism where we meet many gods and goddesses. All the thought provoking teachings, recites, verses, scriptures, etc. manifested from various saints and seers help to build the history of Lord Murukan and his various divine qualities and activities, which may be referred as his ‘Tiruvilaiyadalkal'. To proven the power of supremacy of Murukan, many saints and seers have built up a number of literature in the forms of verses to be recited repeatedly to praise Murukan, to approach him easily, speak with Him to grace over His beauty, to understand His heroic deeds, to worship Him with full and complete surrender and the effect of reciting such verses are also exposed. They could be found in splendour in Devaraya Swamigal's ‘Skanda Sasti Kavasam', ‘Satru Samkaravel Patikam' and ‘Subramaniya Virutam'.
The researcher has tried to bring out the association of Śrī Devaraya Swamigal with Murukan as seen in ‘Skanda Sasti Kavasam', ‘Satru Samkaravel Patikam' and ‘Subramaniyar Virutam'.
A story spread so wide among the people known even to children, cannot be retold with any embellishment or with the hope of drawing unusual attention. I have no such ambition also. But Skanda or Murukan is quite familiar to the younger generations that are coming up as it was to us of an older day. But in this computer age, one may fear that the young one not sufficiently familiar with the details of the story of Skanda-Murukan. I believe that there is and in the coming years there is going to be, a greater need than ever of our going back with reverent hearts to this more beautiful and moving of all stories related to Murukan in literature. No one would be misspending his/her time. Surely he will dwell with fondness and with affection on the story of Murukan and his worship and its effect on the worshipper. Hence, the attempt on Śrī Devaraya Swamigal's contribution on Murukanism.
The story of Murukan has been told to us times without number by many a saints, religious thinkers, god fathers, great orators and the like. They investigated the cause and effect relationships in the Human life. Determination is usually, associated with the belief in God. God's supremacy maintains order and harmony throughout the universe. God what, so ever the name be, is the sovereign of the world. He is the prime mover, but not a dictator. According to various religious faiths different Gods are being worshipped by different sects of people. In Hinduism we come across Vinayaka, Murukan, Siva, Parvati, Vishnu, Laksmi, Krishna, Durga, Kali, Sakti, Mari Amma and the like. These gods and their greatness are brought 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 texts is able to hold on its own. For the study of the divine qualities of Lord Murukan, his specialty, fairy, friendliness, greatness, guidance, sympathy towards his wards, devotees, duties of a real devotee, to get delight, reward, peace, happiness, to attain even samadhi, stage, a large number of saints have contributed their divine thoughts through variety of scriptures and verses that too immensely. Mention be made about saints Arunagirinathar, Tirumoolar, Pampan Swamigal, Kumaragurubarar, Dandapani Swamigal, Vallimalai Swamigal, Devaraya Swamigal and a host of other notaries in the field. All these saintly personalities have done a huge lot to ‘Murukanism'. The aim of this research paper is to discover and throw light on the inspiring and divine contributions of Śrī Devaraya Swamigal towards ‘Murukanism'.
Muruku is the base word which later on flourished into many forms, denoting Lord Murukan. Muruku means beauty. The hymns and notable ‘kavasas', ‘patikams' and ‘virutams' built by various saints throw light on the precious path of devotion to Murukan, how devotion consumes all evils, purifies even the holiest and purges the sinner of all his base thoughts. Saint Devaraya Swamigal has emphasized the value of reciting Murukan's names. Each and every repetition carries a devotee nearer and nearer to Lord Murukan and enlightens Murukanism among the public. Murukanism always refines man. It adds cultural adventure of man and his life. Devaraya Swamigal, no doubt was a torch bearer of Murukan devotees, instilled hope among them, and provided rather inspiration through his saintly administration of his smooth flow.
Of course, prayer and devotion have been the watchwords of saints and seers, to beckon people away from the path of misery, anguish, distrust and hate and leads us to the path of understanding. In his ‘Skanda Sasti Kavasam' he tells the effect of reciting the kavasam, in the following lines,
His vision, thoughts, and verses are eternally valid. He showed the sacred path of living a dedicated life of absolute purity. He advocates us to recite the kavasam both in the morning and evening. That too after bath, one should recite it with full faith. Further the saint has tried his level best to cultivate spiritual culture among the mankind. He derived his strength not because he was physically bigger in size, economically well if, of politically powerful, but because he was human, loved the entire mankind and tried to raise them from ignorance, narrowness and moral depravity. He also has included in his verses the merit of devotion to Murukan. He has experienced the Supreme Being have highlighted the importance of listening to the glory of Murukan, in His incarnations. He becomes accessible to His devotee whose heart melts with tears in his eyes while listening to His glory. This stresses the importance of mode of devotion. The sage's qualities accrue to the person. He further stresses to recite kavasam with single pointed mental concentration (Sinthai Kalangatu Diyanippavargal). It leads to control of breath too. He also shows the important and inquisitive requisites for a spiritual aspirant. His quotes develop unalloyed devotion to Lord Murukan. He gives the countless names of Lord Murukan in his verses, for e.g., Kandan, Kadamban, Guhan, Kon, Malar, Arumugam, Sivanandar, Agan, Aracan, Cenkaran, Tirumal Marugan, Cey, Tai, Iraivan (Palanimalai), Saravana Perumal, Siva Subramanian, Nathan, Muthan, Muthalvan, Mudian, Vedan, Guru, Mathavan, Thathavan, Shanmugan, Kumaran, Guruparan, etc.
All these narrate His splendour which is capable of delivering man from bondage. His name is an antidote to his devotees. The manner in which Kanda Sasti Kavasam came to be written by Saint Devaraya Swamigal to exclusively highlight devotion to Lord Murukan is of great significance. Listening whole heartedly the hidden meaning in his narration of Lord Murukan, may enhance devotion in the heart of even the laity.
Murukanism is well advocated in all his verses. Lord Murukan is great; He dwells everywhere. He is the Almighty. He is a great philanthropist. He is more powerful. He teaches love. He showers love. He kindles love. He is all in all. He is Sarvam. He is Brammam. Nothing is beyond Murukan and Murukanism. That is the preaching of Devaraya Swamigal. When we say Murukan, immediately we get the citation of Vel and Mayil. Vel drives out evil (Vinai) and Mayil drives out all frightening ones. i.e., ‘Velundu Vinaiyillai' and ‘Mayilundu Bayamillai'. Here the philosophic connotation Mayil stands for Vedas and Vel stands for wisdom (jnanam) is to be perused. His flag with cock symbol stands for ‘Pranava mantra'. Valli and Deviyanai denote ‘Iccha Sakti' and ‘Kriya Sakti'. Lord Murukan is beyond caste, colour and creed. The deep relationship between snake and Murukan is also included in Devaraya's Murukanism. His father Lord Siva's neck is decorated with sacred snake Kalingarayan. His uncle Vishnu is taking rest on the sacred snake Adhi Seshan. Murukan's vehicle peacock has the company of sacred snake, denoting even an envious and dangerous soul could be converted into a calm soul by Lord Murukan. Lord Murukan is the Saviour of this universe. He is the leader of Deva Sena. His power is the Supreme One, combining Siva Sakti and Maha Sakti.
Besides, Lord Murukan is treated as Almighty. Worshiping Murukan is very much associated with Siddha cult. So that even a lay man understand the Siddha science. In all the verses of Devara Swamigal, Lord Murukan is the hero. Even Ramalinga Vallalar, praises Lord Murukan as ‘Vallal' – philanthropist. He is the father, mother, love, kindness, knowledge, happiness, and every thing. He is the best companion. He builds up self-realization among his devotees. He kills ego from evil hearts. He dwells on all the hills and hillocks. All his devotees dwell in pondering over the ideal of Murukanism as envisaged by Devaraya Swamigal. He blesses his devotees with all the benefits in the world. Devaraya Swamigal is total Adiyar to Murukan. Swamigal is considered as a Guru, God father and even a guide to Murukan bhaktas, who has shown all the possible easy paths to get Lord Murukan's compassion through his Murukanism. He pleads Lord Murukan, to safeguard his devotees who recite the verses advocated by him with full surrender and faith in it. Each and every line of his verses is with full of divinity. They have the power to destroy the enemies. They kill the venomous minds. They take the devotees to a straight conversation with Lord. They cure the illness. They save the man from committing sins.
Swamigal addresses Murukan, "Oh, thou divine Murukan. Thou are the subject that has knowledge of subject and object. Let the subject in me be destroyed you are the single light that arises in my mind." His spiritual influence is fully exposed in his verses. There are no words to describe the ecstasy he experienced with the thoughts of Murukanism. He had an unimaginable feeling of indescribably blissful. He experienced the most pleasant lassitude with the thoughts of Murukan and his divinity. He had a first hand experience of realising God Murukan. He tells that behind every happening and every thing lays only one cause, namely the first cause, i.e. Murukan. The universe is strictly invisible and the only way to take responsibility for the lot is God, i.e. again Murukan. Lord Murukan, according to Swamigal, comprises the totality of manifestation and the being that underlies it. He is both immanent and transcendent.
He directs the devotees to surrender at the feet of Murukan "Kumaran Adi Nenje Thunai". Then he invites Murukan to come quickly to save his devotee. For that he included the following lines in his Skanda Sasti Kavasam i.e. "Kaiyil Velalenai …Virainthenai Kakka Velon Varuga" Here we find another line that mentions about Kundalini i.e. "Kundaliyam Siva Gugan Dinam Varuga". Then he describes the beauty benedict of Lord Murukan as "Aru Mugamum…Silamboli. Each and every part of the devotee's physique is safeguarded by Murukan. "Un Thiruvadiyai….Muppal Nadiyai Munai Vel Kakka"; to save the devotees always the lines "Eppoluthum…Ethir vel Kakka", to drive all the evils from his Bhakthas, "Thakka Thakka…Eliyum, Karadiyum Eni Thodarnthoda"; to cure all the diseases "Thelum pampum…Arulvai", to praise his mighty deed; he calls him in various names "Saravan Bavane…Shanmugath Arase", praising him he says "Valga Valga Mayilon Valga…Valga Valga". How to worship Lord Muruga? He stresses to cleanse the body both in the morning and evening, recite the verse single mindedness and faith and belief, wear the sacred ashes, and enjoy the bliss of having 36 picturesque views of Lord Murukan. The net result of worshiping Lord Murukan is well established in the lines "Kandar Sasti Kavasamithanai…Nallor Ninaivil Nadanam puriyum", to the gratitude and complete surrender to Lord Murukan, "Guruparan Palani …Saranam".
In ‘Sathru Samkaravel Pathigam', we come across "Appamundan Athirasam…Sathru Samkaravele" …So also the verse "Machang kuthithu…Vele".
As such a real and true devote of Murukan is no doubt well versed with all the aspects of Murukanism. Murukanism includes as perceived by Devaraya Swamigal, Murukan's Greatness in various roles, Saivite religion and philosophy. He has tirelessly with single pointed dedication and devotion during his life time had rendered yeomen service to the world of scholarship in general and that of the Saivite tradition in particular through his literary contribution. All his verses are marked by a clear knowledge of Murukanism. His work is about God (Murukan), individual soul, places of worship, various names to Lord Murukan, and several other important issues related to Murukan cult. As many a scholars and saints have contributed to the study of Lord Murukan or Skanda, his accounts about Murukan in the form of verses are quite impressive, instructive and rather a welcome addition towards Murukanism. Similar contributions have been also made by Pampan Swamigal. Vallimalai Murukanadigal, Kripananda Variar and host of others. They are quite relevant to the study of Lord Murukan, which are highly useful to the devotees. All the details carry the devotees to another place of consciousness in which matters of external world get replaced with growing awareness of the inner reality. Prayers give mental energy, which provides the impetus for all physical activities and enhances response.
India, particularly Tamilnadu (Tamilakam) in the form of scholars and devotees have come to know Lord Murukan as an important deity of the Hindu pantheon. He was one of the most popular and powerful Hindu deities. He was the God of wisdom, valour, strength, love and affection. In Tamil literature also he come across Kuntram, Kundrakudi, Kundruhoradal, etc., which speak about Lord Murukan. Kanda Puranam throws volumes together about the historic deeds of Lord Murukan from his birth. He was assigned the role of a principal and prominent place in the battle against asuras and as he supported devas, like Indra, he is referred as Deva Senapati. The worship of Lord Murukan is very much familiar in the South. Even now, we witness the same. Copious references are there in other Tamil literature, like Tirumurugatrupatai. A good number of festivals are celebrated in honour of Murukan such as Adi Krittikai, Skanda Sasti, Panguni Uttiram, Tai Pucam, etc. in various parts of South India, especially in Tamilnadu.
The figure of Murukan whether it is his childhood, boyhood, or manhood, is very attractive and appealing. The most beautiful representation of Lord Murukan is Tiruchendur Murukan, i.e. representing his both wives – Valli and Devayani. Besides, he has been represented in variety of forms and poses. Combining all these, we can arrive at complex socio-religious elements that influenced the development of Murukan iconography in Hinduism. Among the innumerable saints of Tamilakam's Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) tradition, Devaraya Swamigal has the distinction of being hailed as a divine teacher of Murukanism. This is not a honorific status given to him for his contribution to Murukanism but all his verses give insight into the nature and greatness of his teachings. The ideals put forth by him are not merely a conceptual system as it is intended for the spiritual seeker to follow it in his life time and realise the goal of liberation, which is the objective to be attained. Besides, his divine teachings presuppose the very purpose of human life in this world. It is more than sheer existence as everyone seeks happiness and peace in life. His verses further stress, that having been blessed with human birth, man should not fritter away this golden opportunity in only world pursuits. His Murukanism shows the right spiritual path. His devotees are freed from the bonds like desire, greed and attachments, which is the most right path to realise God. Skanda, the youngest son of Lord Shiva also called as Kumara, has the power to destroy all the negative forces of time and ignorance symbolised by the demon Taraka. He is called Guha, i.e., the one who dwells in the cavity of heart. He is the Guru of all gurus and the inner guru that all must eventually contact.