Sage Agastya once went to the hills known as Kandagiri and prayed to Lord Subrahmanya to give him two peaks of the hills. The Lord gave him the two peaks of Sivagiri and Saktigiri, said T. Rajarathinam, in a discourse.

Agastya wanted to take them back with him to the Podhigai hills, where he was doing penance. He happened to meet a demon called Hidimba and his wife Hidimbi.

Hidimba had lived in Veeramahendram, the abode of the demon Soorapadman, who had been killed by Lord Subrahmanya. After the killing of Soorapadman, he had left Veeramahendram and had reached the forest through which Agastya was passing. Hearing his story,

Agastya asked him to bring the two peaks — Sivagiri and Saktigiri to the Podhigai hills. He taught Hidimba some mantras and asked him to recite them. When the demon recited the mantras, the Brahma dandam (staff) appeared before him and snakes guarding the directions turned into ropes. Hidimba made a sling using the snakes and the Brahma dandam, and lifted the two peaks. After some time, Hidimba lost his way.

Subrahmanya appeared before him in the guise of a hunter and guided him. But when the demon reached the Varaha hills, he was so tired, that he put the peaks down, and rested awhile. But when he tried to resume his journey, he found that he could not lift the peaks. He also noticed a little boy seated on top of Sivagiri peak. The boy, who was none other than Subrahmanya, refused to get down from the peak and said Hidimba should try to dislodge Him. Hidimba tried, but lost his life in the process. The Lord then revealed who He was, and the demoness Hidimbi worshipped Him. The Lord cast His glance on the dead Hidimba and the latter came to life.

The Lord said that the peaks should remain, and that He would remain there too. Hidimba requested that he be allowed to serve the Lord always. Agastya blessed Hidimba and said that he should remain at the foot of the hills. Everyone who came to worship Lord Subrahmanya, would also worship Hidimba.

The Sivagiri peak is now known as Palani.

More In: Faith | Friday Review