Faith

Many splendoured One

The deity Murugan has many names, each of them for a reason, said R. Narayanan in a discourse. One of them is Baahuleyan, a name that is His because He has strong shoulders. He is the One who destroyed Soorapadman, who could not be destroyed by anyone else. He is known as Deva Senapati, for He is the commander of the army of the celestials. He is Shanmukha, because He has six faces. He is Velayudhan, because His weapon of choice is the spear (vel).

When Murugan had to wage war against Soorapadman, Goddess Parvati gave Him a vel in a place known as Sikkal. Using this vel, Murugan killed Soorapadman, who had been tormenting the devas. In Sikkal, He is known as Singaravelan — the beautiful One with a spear. Skanda Sashti is one of the most important festivals in Sikkal. During this festival, Singaravelan receives the spear from His mother. This handing over of the spear takes place the day before Soorasamhara (killing of Soorapadman) is observed.

The story of Soorapadman says that when he was killed by Murugan, he reappeared as a mango tree. Murugan split this tree into two. One part became a rooster, and this rooster became Murugan’s flag. Hence Murugan is also called kukkutadhvaja — the One who has a rooster (kukkuta) as His flag (dhvaja). The other half of the mango tree became a peacock, and this became Murugan’s vahana. Hence, He is called Sikhivahana (sikhi - peacock). He is Gangeya, because He was of river Ganga. He is Saravana, because He was in a thicket of reeds (Sara). He is Kartikeya, because He was looked after by the Kartika maidens. His star is also Krittika. He is Kumara, the eternally youthful One. He is Skanda, the war God. He is Guha, because He resides in the hearts of His devotees. This is the cave (guha) where He dwells joyfully.


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Printable version | Jun 11, 2022 8:50:18 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/many-splendoured-one/article31186794.ece