Wise men point out that we cannot hope to realise God by studying the scriptures alone. It is bhakti alone that shows us God. What is surprising is that the demon Singamukhan knew the truth about God, said D. Gnanasundaram, in a discourse.
The demon Soorapadman calls for a meeting of his generals and warriors and seeks their advice. Each one comes up with different suggestions. One says the demons should have gone for an all-out attack, when Tarakasura had been killed. Another says Soorapadman should not go in person. Will a valiant one go to kill a mosquito?
Another says Soorapadman should send one of his sons to fight Lord Shanmukha. But all of them advise Soorapadman to kill Lord Shanmukha, for they do not realise that Lord Shanmukha is God.
Singamukhan, the brother of Soorapadman, is also asked for advice. He says Lord Shanmukha should not be taken lightly. He goes on to say that unlike that of other living beings, Lord Shanmukha’s birth is unique. Other beings come from seeds, as plants do. Or the female of a species gives birth to young ones. Or the mother lays eggs and the little ones come out of the hatched eggs. But Lord Shanmukha had not appeared through any of these ways. He had emerged from a spark from Lord Siva.
Singamukhan tells his brother that he should not underestimate Lord Shanmukha or dismiss his prowess on account of His youth. He may be young, but He is mighty. Doesn’t a huge banyan tree grow from a small seed? So do great strength and valour reside in Lord Shanmukha. Singamukhan goes on to say that the Vedas and the Upanishads cannot show us how great He is. The Vedas can only show us the way we have to take to reach Him, but even the Vedas cannot fully describe Him. No one can understand His greatness.
Like a sage, who has done penance and has realised that knowledge alone cannot help us reach God, Singamukhan too has realised this, though he is a demon. He sees that the One whom his brother is opposing is God Himself. That is why, he warns his brother, but Soorapadman does not pay heed, and is finally killed by the Lord.