Subrahmanya is the second son of Lord Siva. His manifestation
occurred when the Devas, the celestial people, were being oppressed by an
Asura (demon) by the name of Taraka. He is the conjoint manifestation of
Siva and Sakti.
When Siva was deeply absorbed in his spiritual exuberance,
forgetting the world, he was disturbed by cupid (kamadevan). Sakti was also
observing penance to get the grace of Siva. When Siva opened his eyes, he
burnt cupid. At that time six flashes, like lightning emerged, five from
the five senses and one from the mind of Siva. These became six babies and
the cosmic mother Sakti rolled these into one baby (Lord Murugan) with six
heads and twelve arms .
Because of this evolutionary process, Subrahmanya is also
known as Shanmuka, six-faced one. The six heads represent six rays or attributes,
viz., Wisdom, Dispassion, Strength, Fame, Wealth and Divine Power.
Another legend behind the Lord’s birth is as follows.
In order to save the good [Devas] from wicked [Asuras], Lord Murugan was
originated from the Holy Sparks of Lord Siva's third eye. The story goes
that the sparks which flashed forth from the third eye of Siva rushed through
space, which Vayu and Agni carried and dropped into the river Ganga. By
the grace of the Lord, the sparks were carried by holy Ganga to Saravanappoikai.
On arriving at the tank, the sparks assumed the form of six children of
unparalleled beauty. Each baby was lying on a lotus and was being lulled
to sleep by the Devis of the Karthikai (the 3rd constellation of the 27
Stars). To witness this Avatara of the Saviour, all the Devas hastened to
the tank along with Lord Siva and Parvati. Parvati, out of the extreme fondness
of a mother, took up the babes together and called them Skanda. Instead
of them remaining as six separate individual babes, there arose the form
of one Deity with six faces and twelve hands. Hence he was known as Lord
Arumugaswamy or Shanmukha, the Lord with six faces. As he was nursed by
the six Devis of the Karthika Star, he was known also as Karthik Swami,
or Kathiikeyan. Thus, to the great joy of the persecuted Devas, the Lord
Himself appeared in the form of Shanmukha to protect the good and to punish
the wicked. As the form of Lord Shanmukha originated in a tank of shrubs,
he was known as Saravanabhava. .
Subrahmanya has two spouses, Valli and Deivanai. They represent
will (Valli) and action (Deivanai). He also holds a spear given by his mother
Sakti for removing the evil force of Taraka. This spear (Vel) represents
(Jnana) knowledge. These three together denote the three cosmic energies
of governing will, action and knowledge. He rides on a peacock, indicative
of conquering pride egoism and vanity.
Agastya, a rishi (sage) journeyed to Mount Kailas, to worship
Siva. Siva asked Agastya to shift two hills, Sivagiri and Saktigiri, to
South India, as seats of worship. Agastya commissioned the demon Idumban,
an asura who had served in the army of Surapadman, to undertake this task.
Idumban collected the hills, and tied them to a simple shoulder pole by
means of sacred serpents which were used in the place of ropes. This was
the prototypical Kavadi. Near the forest at a site now known as Palani.
Idumban, weary, set the hills down while he rested. When he attempted to
resume his journey, he found that the hills were stuck to the ground. Upon
ascending the slopes he encountered a youth clad only in a loin cloth, holding
a staff, and “…shining like a thousand suns.” This youth
claimed the hills as his own. In the subsequent fight, Idumban was killed.
Both Agastya and Idumpi (Idumban’s wife), interceded and pleaded on
Idumban’s behalf, and Murugan restored Idumban to life. Idumban requested
that he remain forever at the portal of Murugan’s shrine. Murugan
duly appointed Idumban as official gatekeeper at his temple and advised
that henceforth all who worshipped Murugan with a Kavadi would first acknowledge
Idumban. This is named as Idumpan Pooja.
Lord Subramanya's other names
Lord Subramanya's other names are Skandan, Kumaresan, Kandhaswami,
Kartikeyan, Dandapani, Saravanabhavan, Thendayuthapani, Shanmukhan, Guhan,
Murugan and Velayudhan.
Thazhakara Sree Subrahmanya Swami Temple | Important Murugan pilgrimage center in Kerala | Thazhakara | Mavelikara | Kerala | India