Muruga - Son of Lord Shiva and Parvati
Murugar is the second son of Siva
and Parvati, brother of Lord Ganesha. Murugar is worshipped widely in Southern
India, especially in Tamilnadu. In fact, he is called the Tamil Kadavul
(The Lord of the Tamil people).
He was once upset that Lord Siva
gave the sacred fruit to Ganesha and tricked him out of winning it. He
is said to have left the Himalayas, the abode of Lord Siva & Parvati
and settled down on a hill top in Tamilnadu in the South. Most of the Murugar
temples are located on top of small hills and he is also known as the Kundra
Kadavul (Lord who is seated on a hill, kundru - hill).
He was born for the sole purpose
of destroying Sura Padman, an asura who was giving immense trouble to the
Devas & rishis. Murugar is said to have been created from the sparks
from Lord Siva's third eye. Vayu and Agni Deva carried the sparks and dropped
it in the Ganges which was carried to the Saravana Poigai. Six babies arose
from the sparks and the six children were brought up by six women known
as the Karthigai Pengal (pengal - women). When Parvati picked up the six
children, Lord Muruga appeared as one baby. Muruga is sometimes depicted
with six heads. When the time was ripe to destroy Sura Padman, Parvati
gave him her Sakthi Vel. Murugar fought with Sura Padman, destroyed him.
During the fight, every time his head was cut, Surapadman got a new head
– a lions, a tigers, goat, etc. Murugar decided to cut him up vertically
in two halves when he took the form of a tree. He is kind even to his enemies
and thus took one half of the tree as his vahana in the form of a peacock
and took the other half of the tree as a cock emblem in his flag.
He is known as Shanmukha because
of his six heads. I am providing here the explanation given by Swami Harshananda
in the book 'Hindu Gods and Goddesses' published by Sri Ramakrishna Math.
Of course, even a boy knows that
biologically this is impossible even as an angel with wings is! But a concept
like this can be conceded if it fits into useful philosophical postulations.
His six heads represent the five sense organs and the mind, which co-ordinates
their activities. When these are controlled, refined and sublimated, man
becomes a superman. This is the implication of the symbology.
According to Yoga psychology, there
are six centres of psychic energy, of consciousness, in the human body,
designated as Chakras. They are Mulaadhaara (at the anus), Svaadhisthaana
(at the root of the sex organ), Manipura (at the navel), Anaahata (at the
region of the heart), Visuddha (at the throat), Ajna (between the eyebrows)
and Sahasraara at the top of the head which is the destination for this
energy. When the Yogi successfully raises his psychic energy to this topmost
centre he has a vision of Siva-Sakthi.
Though it is the same energy that
flows through all the six centres, in the case of an ordinary being, it
is concentrated in the three lowest centres. In a perfect being the flow
is so refined and uniform, that practically all the centres have been elevated
to the highest level. Subrahmanya represents this perfected state of spiritual
Lord Muruga is considered very handsome,
brave, just. Even though he was seen as a playful youngster, he was also
extremely knowledgeable – enough to test Lord Brahma himself. When reprimanded
by Lord Siva, he justified his action by telling Siva the meaning of the
OM (pranava mantram). He is therefore known as Swaminathan, one who preached
even to Siva.
His other namas (names) are Subrahmanya,
Shanmukha, Kaartikeya, Skanda, Kumara, Devasenapati, Saravanabhava, Guha,
Lord Muruga has two consorts - Valli
and Devasena. Valli is a tribal girl and Devasena is the daughter of Indra,
the king of the Devas. His mount is the peacock.
The Arupadai Veedu are the six most
important temples to Lord Muruga. He gives this darshan in each of these
temples in six different forms pertaining to six different stages in his
life. Palani, near Madurai where he is said to have created his own abode
when he was angry of having been cheated out of the sacred fruit. Swamimalai,
where he is shown preaching to his father, Lord Siva. Tiruchendur, by the
seashore is where Muruga vanquished the asura Surapadman. Tiruparamkundram,
near Madurai celebrating Murugar's marriage to Devasena. Tiruttani, near
Tirupati where Muruga married Valli. Pazhamudircholai, near Madurai where
Lord Muruga gives darshan with Valli and Devasena.