Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati were given a fruit, which they wanted to give to one of their sons — Ganesha or Subrahmanya. They decided that they would test their sons, and whoever emerged victorious in the contest would be given the fruit. So they told them that the fruit would be given to the one who went round the world in the shortest possible time.

Lord Subrahmanya mounted His peacock and dashed off. Lord Ganesha, on the other hand, went round His parents once. Since Siva and Parvati are in charge of the entire Universe, walking round them was equal to circling the world. So Ganesha was declared the winner and the fruit was given to Him. Lord Subrahmanya, in the meanwhile, circled the world and came back to claim the fruit. But He found that Ganesha had walked away with the prize easily. Angered by what had happened, Subrahmanya wore a loin cloth and went to the Sivagiri hill. This is the peak that is today known as Palani. The story goes that Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati pacified Subrahmanya and told Him that He was the embodiment of the fruit called knowledge. Did He need any other fruit? There is a symbolic significance to the story, said T. Rajarathinam, in a discourse. Ganesha saw the world in the Divine Couple. Subrahmanya saw the Divine Couple everywhere in the world. In other words, while Ganesha demonstrated that the entire Universe resides in the Divine Couple, Subrahmanya demonstrated that the Divine Couple are Omnipresent.

There are said to be four stages in spiritual evolution. The first is to do with rituals. The second is to do with the recitation of mantras. The third involves yoga. The fourth is the most evolved stage of gnana. A fruit begins its journey as a bud. The bud blooms into a flower, which then becomes an unripe fruit and ripens later. Likewise, ritualistic worship is like a bud. Worship through mantras is like a flower. Yoga is the unripe fruit, and the ultimate stage of gnana is the ripe fruit. Lord Subrahmanya is considered the embodiment of knowledge. That is what His parents emphasised when they explained why the loss of a mere fruit should not have angered Him.

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