Introduction to Lord Muruga – Om Sharavana Bhava
Lord Muruga is best referred to as the Lord of the South Lands, in particular the Tamil Lands (Tamil Nadu) and Kerala. Sangam poets better understood as Tamil poets have long held the belief that it was this Lord who came down to earth and taught his followers the language of the Gods i.e. Tamil. He is revered in South Indian culture and associated with many beliefs hence rightfully called the Protector of Tamil Land. Other parts of India and the world He is also known popularly as Karthikeya or Subramanya.
The Need For Lord Muruga
In congruence with the central theme of any Hindu legend, the birth of Sharavana or Skanda or Lord Muruga had a reason and it was to defeat the Asura rulers or demons, Tarakasura and Surapadman. Other than this objective, He did serve other purposes such as mastering and the subsequent teaching of Pranava Mantra to his own father, Lord Shiva and the enlightenment of the Tamil Lands with the learning of Tamil language.
Lord Muruga’s Defining Attributes
The Lord shall always be found either riding or sitting on a peacock which is his carrier and carrying a flag with the symbol of a rooster. His preferred weapon of choice is a spear like club that is referred to as Vel. In some portraits of Muruga he is seen with two consorts namely, Devayani and Valli. Both also signify two distinct ideologies or personalities with the first being the daughter of Lord Indra and the other believed to belong to the Tamil tribal community. They also stand for wisdom, will-power and power of action. That is, Dnyana Shakti, Ichcha Shakti and Kriya Shakti.
Conception Of Muruga
The birth of Lord Sharavana or Lord Muruga is well documented in many Puranic and Vedic scriptures as well as some literary works. One of the most revered incantations of the story is given by the “Skanda Puranam” written by the Sangam poet, Kacchiyappa Shivachariyar. In short, the Lord emanated from the fire of Shiva’s third eye as it destroyed Manmata (Lord Kama) and ultimately landed at the shores of the Sarvana Pond.
Early Childhood Of Muruga
Although many things related with the childhood of Sharavana or Muruga is not well known, what is known however is, His immense depth of wisdom and supreme knowledge. It is said that so great was his knowledge that even as a little boy he was completely aware of the meaning of OM and understood its deep spiritual significance. In fact, he is considered as a child God in many parts of India because of this reason. So vast was his confidence in his own knowledge regarding the supreme truth or Om that when confronted by Lord Brahma about the same, he imprisoned Brahma for being incompetent on such account.
Lord Muruga’s own father came to see how true his son’s knowledge regarding Om was. Lord Shiva was teased by Muruga into becoming a disciple – accepting him as his guru and learning the secret of Om from him, just as a Guru would discourse with his student. Thus, he became known as Thagappan Sami meaning guru to his own father.
Arupadai Veedu – The Six Great Abodes Of Lord Muruga
There are six temples in Tamil Nadu that together form the Arupadai Veedu or collection of Lord Muruga’s great abodes. They are Swamimalai, Palani, Thirutanni, Thirupparanakundram, Pazhamudir Solahi (Cholai) and Thiruchendur.
Other than these six great abodes, temples for the worship and praise of the Lord are scattered across various parts of the globe. Wherever a Tamil community resides, so shall a Lord Muruga temple find its rightful place. For example, in Sri Lanka there are two main temples for Lord Muruga namely Nallur Kandaswamy Temple at Jaffna and Kadirkama Skanda at Kadirkama (kathirgama). In Malaysia, one shall find the Murugan Temple near Kaula Lampur at the Batu caves and a few more in Australia, Singapore and Mauritius.
Mantra: Om Sharavana Bhava
The six faces of Shanmukha in the six directions have a great significance and meaning. They represent the supreme being manifesting in executing five principal functions.
These five principal functions are to create, to preserve, destroy, to veil and to bless.The sixth and the last face signify pure wisdom as in “OM”. These six faces also present purity, light, divinity, greatness, supernatural power.
Days Of Worship For Lord Muruga
There are many days considered quite auspicious for the worship of Sharavana or Shanmukha. Thaipusam is one of the most important festivals for Lord Muruga celebrated during the Thai months of January to February. It is said that on this day, the Lord accepted the Vel, his most powerful weapon from his mother, Devi Parvati to destroy the Asura demons.
Another festival associated with Subrahmanya is Skanda Shasti celebrated for a period of six days during the Tamil month of Aippasi or during October – November period. During this six day period, fast is observed and prayers are offered to the Lord. In the Month of May to June on a full moon day, the birth of Sharavana is celebrated. It is called the Vaikasi Visakam.
Om Sharavana Bhava.