Magnificance of Lord Muruga

Swamimalai Murugar

Muruga, the God of love, beauty and knowledge has been exerting His charm on millions of people in South India and beyond. Though caste, class and region divided them, when it came to the question of Muruga worship they all became one. The charm that radiates from Muruga unite them all. During festivals like Thaipoosam, they meander their way, like stream of rivers, with single minded devotion, converge at Palani, adore, admire and worship the Lord, Sri Dhandayudhapani.

The name Muruga is derived from the word 'Murugu' which means honey, beauty, fragrance and eternal youth. He is known as Kaliyuga Varadha, the one who is the ultimate refuge for the emancipation of the people of this age of kali. He is known and worshipped in different other names like Shanmugha, Subramania, Skandha, Karthikeya, Karunakara, Kandha, Kadamba....... It is neither possible in a human endeavour nor feasible in a short sketch like this, to describe Him fully. From what it seemed to the author in his limited perspective, the four main characteristics of Muruga are mentioned:

Muruga is the source of all knowledge. Known as Gjnana Panditha, He enlightens the seekers and brightens up the world. Even to the all-powerful and all-knowledgeable Shiva, His father, Muruga administered the saintly advice and the Lord Shiva received such advice in all humility. Vedas derived their origin from Muruga. In the song “Nadha Vindhu”, He is described as Vedha Mantra Swaroopa.

Muruga symbolises valour and power. The demon Soorapadman had been terrorising Devas and devotees. It was time, his atrocities were put an end to. As he had received a boon that no power, not even that of Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva could harm him, it became necessary to create a power greater than the combined power of Trimurthis to destroy him and protect the Devas and devotees. Thus, Muruga, the all-powerful, came into being. Muruga was also blessed by Mother Parvathi. Mother Parvathi, the embodiment of Sakthi, the power, presented him with the lance, the Sakthi Vel. After a fierce battle, at Jayanthipuram, Tiruchendur, Muruga hurled His Sakthi Vel and caused the elimination of Soorapadman. Lord Muruga thus wields a power greater than of Lord Shiva, Vishnu or Brahma. This is evident from the fact that Muruga was powerful enough to imprison Brahma and knowledgeable enough to give the saintly advice to Lord Shiva.

Muruga represents the virtues of love and compassion. He is benevolent and generous. He is magnanimous and merciful and grants whatever His devotees wish. He has pardoned even the Soorapadman who crossed sword with Him . The Omnipresence Muruga knows whenever His devotee is in distress, readily comes to extend His 'Abhaya Hastha', the Helping Hand and render blessings. Muruga's weapon, Vel, His transport, Mayil, and His banner, rooster are powerful enough to protect his devotees.

Muruga is known as the epitome of beauty. One of the songs of Soolamangalam Sisters says: “Azhagellam Murugane”. “All the beauties in earth are converged in Muruga”. He is marvelous and majestic. He is so elegant and enchanting that devotee's eyes would wish to rest there for ever. Arunagirinathar says in Kandhar Alamgaram: "To see and admire the beauty of the Lord of Thiruchengodu, even four thousand eyes are not enough". (“Malon Marugane”) One could go on marveling at His exquisite beauty at Tiruchendur.

It is not possible to describe, in authentic details, the objective of Muruga's Avatara, (Incarnation), the significance of His appearance and His marriage with Deivayanai, the daughter of Indira. It is impossible for a limited intellect, to understand, let alone describe, Lord Muruga's various divinely acts. As He sought Valli's hands, married her and provided fulfillment to her life, He goes after true devotees, rather than waiting for them to come to Him, uplift them and provide them the everlasting bliss of being with Him. It is not possible to portray His divinely character and qualities in their full magnificence and comprehension. Only scholars and saints, blessed by Lord, can attempt to do so. Skanda Purana, one of the 18 Maha Puranas, created by sage Veda Vyasa stands out as the outstanding and immortal epic on Lord Muruga which details the cause of His appearance. Kalidasa's Kumara Sambhavam traces His origin and mentions His coming into being not by birth but as an Apperance or Incident. Lord Muruga is mentioned in the Rig Vedas as the overwhelming power in the cosmic order. In the Surya Namaskara Sthotra, the Lord is described as the essence of all Vedas. Skanda is described as the great warrior in "Gita" as he successfully waged war against Asuras in Tiruchendur. Lord Krishna says in Gita: "Amongst the warriors, I am Skanda" (Senanim Aham Skanda). The glories of Skanda are mentioned in Vishnu Sahasranama. When a chronic disease affected Adi Sankara, Lord Shiva came in his dream and advised him to go to Tiruchendur. While standing before the deity of Muruga at Tiruchendur, the seer felt a powerful light radiating from the idol. Marveling at the beauty of the Lord and admiring his infinite qualities, the great Acharya composed Subramanya Bhujangam, a set of outstanding prayer. "Tholkappiyam" that marks the origin of Tamil literature and dates back to several thousand years refers to existence of Muruga worship. Nakkeerar who headed the hoary literary tradition, Sangham, composed his masterpiece work on Muruga, "Murugratru Padai" He says" "Oh Muruga, when you are there, always by my side, to safeguard me, I need not turn anywhere else. (Unnai Ozhiya Oruvarayam Nambukilen) Kachiappa Sivachariyar gave elaborate interpretations of Kandha Puranam. Though many persons have hailed the glory, it was Arunagirinathar who almost succeeded in describing Muruga fully.

Arunagirinathar's Thiruppugazh is a 'Sangamam” (confluence) where one could imbibe the knowledge of Vedas, Ithihas and Puranas, where one can commune with, sing, pray, realize and reach Muruga. Never before, so great values were imparted in so beautiful verses, never before prayers addressed to God with so much devotion and never before the divine qualities of Muruga described so eloquently and elaborately as Thiruppugazh. May the sweet music of Thiruppugazh reverberate all over.