Muruga Worship- Introduction

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Muruga Worship-Introduction

There is an interesting story on Muruga’s birth. One day when Lord Shiva matted with his wife Parvati his sperm accidentally fell on earth. It filled the entire universe; the heat of the sperm became unbearable. To save the earth, devas requested Agnideva to swallow it.

But even he could not bear the heat of it for long. On request from Agni, river Ganga received the sperm from Agnideva thinking that she can beget a child out it. Years passed by, due to the heat of the sperm even Ganga could not beget a child from the sperm.

So Ganga approached Brahmadeva for a solution. He advised her to put the sperm in a forest called Saravana forest.She did so. In due course, the sperm gave birth to a child with six faces in the Saravana forest.

When the news spread, Lord Shiva and Parvati along with other devas reached the forest. Lord Brahma made the infant child as Devasenapati (commander of armed forces of devas) for the fight against the demon Tarakasura (the demon received a boon from Lord Brahma that he can be killed only by a child who is only seven years old).

He is known by many names like Muruga, Subramanya, Kartikeya and Skanda; but Muruga is the popular one. The archaeological evidence of Muruga worship dates back to the 10nth century AD as evidenced from Adichanallur findings. Reference to him goes back even further; in Vedas and Brahmanas, etc…The epic of Mahabharath also mentions him.

In ancient India he was a pan-Indian deity; worshiped across India. He had a good presence in the Gupta period; in fact two of the Gupta kings bear his name- Skanda Gupta and Kumara Gupta. Coins depicting Karthikeya , made by Youdheyas of Punjab, were also found.

Somehow, in North India, his popularity receded during the middle ages. Now he is worshiped sparingly in North India. However, Kartikeya or Subramanya temples of Pehwa in Haryana, Achaleswar near Batala in Punjab,  Parvathi hills in Pune, Maharashtra and famous Kuke Subramanya temple near Mangalore are noteworthy  exceptions.

Another vestige of his former popularity can be witnessed in West Bengal; he is worshiped along with Goddess Durga during the Duraga puja celebrations.

In Kerala, the Subramanya worship is popular. There are many temples dedicated to him across the state. The Subramanya temples at Payyannur (kannur district) and Harippad (Alleppey district) are well-known throughout the state.

In Tamilnadu his worship is widespread and deep rooted.  It is from the Sangham period onwards that we get clear reference to him as an independent deity in the state. The Aarupadai veedu or six abodes of Lord Muruga is prominent among them. This signifies the six military camps of Lord Subrahmanya during his fight with the demon Tarakasura. The places also mark six important stages in his life. The Aarupadai temples are spread across the state.

He inspired the ancient literature too. For example, Kumarasambhava of Kalidas and Subramanya Bhujanga of Sri Aadi Sankara depict his glory. In Bhagavad Githa Lord Krishna declares that “among generals I am Skanda, the Lord of war’’.  In Tamil language there is end number of literature on him which is only getting added.

Lord Muruga is generally worshiped along with his two wives Valli and Devasena. Valli is a tribal girl and Devasena is the daughter of Devendra- the head of Devas.

List of Aarupadai Veedu temples

1.Dandayudhapani at Palani

2.Senthil Aandavar at Tiruchendur

3.Swaminathan at Swamimalai

4.Subrahmanya at Tirupparankunram

5.Subrahmanya at Thiruthani

6.Subrahmanya at Pazhmudircholai

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