Showing posts with label skanda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label skanda. Show all posts

Myth of Murugan the Tamil God

I have dealt with theories in murugan origin in a seprate article. Now let us see one of the common held misconception that of
  1. Muruga is tamil god and of tamil only.
  2. Muruga patronized tamil language and literature.
We have seen that murugan is not tamil origin and various theories surrounding murugan origin. So that question is settled now that murugu is all India god as any.
Next let us see how muruga started patronizing tamil. Let us see the history.
There is no reference to Murugan in tamil literature until Kanda puranam got written in tamil from skanda purana in 14th century AD. All the legends come later. Eventhough there is talk of murugan in Sangam age , there is no evidence of that.

Kartikeya - Differences in puranic and Tamil traditions

There seems to be some intriguing differences in the traditions associated with Kartikeya in the Puranic and Tamil. The Sanskrit epics and Puranas seem to indicate that he was the eldest son of Shiva, as the tale of Shiva's marriage to Parvati indicates. In the Shiva-Purana, he is seen helping Shiva fight the newly born Ganesha, Shiva's other son, when Ganesha stopped Shiva from entering his home in Kailasa. Tamil tradition states he was the younger of the two. In the north, he is generally seen as a bachelor hence the name kumara whereas the southern tradition has him married to two wives.

History shows that the legend comes from sanskrit and puranic traditions , with imperfect translations and introducing legends of their own while doing so. The translation Kanda puranam and Thiruvilayadal and susequently Thirupugazh has fundamentally altered the Kanda- Karthikeya story to Tamil Murugan. Until 14th century the karthikeya was obscure in tamil divinity and was worshipped in a similar way to being worshipped in other parts of India and srilanka. So around 15th century and subsequently dravidian- aryan ideology has made Murugan the cult figure in tamil.



To quote Paripadal


"Oh God of Kadamba wreath! "
This line shows that muruga came to tamilnadu with kadamba rulers. Lord Subramanyawhich is present in kadamba territory is transported to Tamil Nadu as Murugan.

skanda, muruga, karthikeya, Shanmuga origin legend

In the words of zevelibil the following are the most common myths attached with Muruga, which he claims is no way exhaustive list.

· In the field of physical geography, the myths of Murugan account for the vision of Tamilnadu as his sacred realm. Mythical, puranic space-time is as if spread over the concrete land of the Tamils in the past, present and future.

· In the field of social structure. Murugan's marriage to Devasenā and Valli reflects and legitimizes the cakkalatti 'co-wife' institution.

· On the level of historical development of religion in South India, Murugan's marriage to Devasena and Valli may have been an attempt to consolidate the unity of the Hindus irrespective of whether they were Saivites or Vaisnavites.

· On the level of culture, the myth of Murugan supports the claim that Tamil is of divine origin, and accounts for divine patronage of Tamil literature.

· On the cosmological level and in the mythological order, the myth reflects the struggle between the cosmic forces of order and chaos, creation and annihilation, good and evil - a permanent topic of Hindu mythology.

· On the metaphysical level. Murugan the teacher of Brahma and Siva is revealed as the expert in esoteric knowledge of the most sacred domain.

Let us see the Myths related to origin
Kalidasa version
According to one legend, he was the son of Uma and Maheswar. He was burn only to put an end to the astocities of Taraka, a cruel demon, who perpetrated countless wicked acts ondevas for years. When the entire amarakula was totally debilitated, they sought help of Lord Srimannarayanan, who counselled that the son born to Lord Siva alone would kill that remorseless Danava. But Siva was doing penance after the self - immolation of Sati, reborn as Parvathi and was in full bloom at this time. and she was offering worship to Lord Siva at the behest of her father Himavan.
They utilised the services of manmatha to awaken his love instincts. Poor Manmatha was burnt to ashes, when the Lordopened his third eye as punishment for disturbing his tapes, yet in the end Siva was wedded to Parvathi and the son begotten to them became the Chief-marshal of Amarasena, who vanquished Taraka; and devas breathed freely. Devendra gave his doughter Devasena to the valorous Subrafmanya in wedding then. This legend was immortalised by Kalidas in his Kumarasambhava.

Valmiki VersionThe Balakanda of Ramayana has a different version, though Karthikeya in his role of Army-General killed Taraka. According to it. Gods wanted Siva to preserve his energy for denavasamhara. though Siva applauded the request, he admitted that he had already discharged his seed.
Gods then requested the Earth. Agni and Vayu to receive the seed and enter it. Agni at once entered the seed which turned into a white mountain from which Karthikeya was born. He was the aspect of Siva and so inherited invincibility that destroyed the Asurakula.

Vyasa version
The Vanaparva of Mahabharatha has yet another legend. It narrated that once Devasena was put to route by Kesin, a dreadful demon of unusual powers. And he carried the Devasena pesonified as Lady. Devasena had a asister called Daitysena.
They were Prajapati's daughters. When Brahma was invoked for help by Devendra, he said that Subrahmanya alone could kill that Danava and promised a valorous life partner for Devasena, who would become War Lord of the Devaloka. The later stroy - Subrahmanya was born to Uma and Maheswar and killing etc, is same as above, and neet not be repeated

Krithika episode
Yet one more: Another fantastic legend narrated that once Agni appeared before Siva and Parvathi, when they were absorbed in the act of copulation. the sudden appearance of Agni made Siva discharge his seed abruptly. Angry Parvathi asled Agni to bear that seed. He humbly accepted, infear of severe consequences, but he could not bear it longer. He threw it into the river Ganges and the later transferred it to the six enchanting young girls called Kritikas, who were bathing in it. they gave birth to children, each one. All the six were combined into one with six heads and twelve arms but with one neck and one belly. Later his peerless career crowned him with the generalship of his celestial army along with Devendra's daughter as wife.

saravanabhavaAnother legend narrates that was also called Saravanabhava due to the fact of the seed of Siva thrown into the forest of Sara of seeds, where he was born according to another story.

Agni episode
It happened once the Saptarishis performed a great yagna. Agni then had the accasion of seeing the Munipatnis closely. And for long since he was carrying the ablations to the gods. their sublime charm enkindled love in him. He could not fulfil his lust due to chastity strictly practiced by them. So he was found despaired now and then. Just during this period Swaha, the lovely daughter of Daksha, who was in deep love for Agni contrived a plan to marry him by fulfilling his desire.
Accordingly, she assumed the forms of the wives of the Rishis and consorted with Agni, who ignorant of the trick felt elated. Except Arunadathi, she took the forms of the six rishipatnis and pleased him, and was pleased too. Every time she consorted with him, she used to keep the seed in a golden receptacle on a white mountain. This happened six times. The child thus born to them was called Skanda, since he came into the world with the seed of Agni and women. He had six heads and twelve arms, but one neck and a belly. Agni and Swaha later brought up their child.


Kartikeya - In the Tamil landIn the Tamil, it is a different story. Kartikeya, known as Murukan, has enjoyed continuos popularity with all classes of society right from the Sangam age. This lead to the more elaborate accounts of his mythology in Tamil.
The most popular and eruduite, the Kanda-Puranam (Sanskrit Skanda-Puranam), is by Kacchiappa SivachariyAr(1350-1420 A.D.). A scholar in Tamil and Sanskrit he was votary of Shaiva Siddhanta. Based mainly on the Sanskrit Skanda-purana, this Tamil epic, makes Kartikeya the destroyer of Taraka but also of his elder and more powerful demonic brothers, Shoorapadman and Simha-mukhan. Shiva let out a stream of fire from his third eye on his forehead, that split into six streams. Each landed on a lotus in a lake called Saravana Poigai. Six women, called Karthigai Pengal (literally Woman of the Pleiades) saw the babies and each took one with her to look after. On the day of Karthigai, Parvati united the six children into a six-headed child, unable to cuddle all of them together. This is also the origin of a common Tamil name of the deity, Arumugan or Shanmugan, which literally means "one who has six faces". Apart from the festival of Karthigai, the Thaipusam festival, celebrated by Tamil communities worldwide, commemorates the day he was given a vel (lance) by his mother Parvati in order to vanquish the demons.
He married two deities, Valli and Devayani. The latter is identical to Devasena and the former is a daughter of a tribal chief. However, other Hindu legends he is unmarried, and call him Kumaraswami (Kumara meaning a bachelor and Swami meaning God)
Kartikeya rides a peacock and wields a bow in battle. The spear (called "vel" in Tamil) is a weapon closely associated with him. The flag of his army depicts a rooster. In the war, Shoorapadman was split into two, and was granted a boon by Kartikeyan, to become the peacock, and the rooster.
As Karttikeya is worshipped predominantly in south India, many of his names are of Tamil origin. These include Senthil (the "Red" or formidable one); "Arumuga" (the six-faceted one); "Muruka"; "Guha"; "Maal-Marigan" (nephew of Vishnu) and many others.