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 -
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 consciousness.
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, Swaminathan, etc
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.