Kavadi Bells

Skanda Puranam, the greatest of the Eighteen Mahapuranas, is as sacred to the Shaivites as the Srimad
Bhagavatam is to the Vaishnavites.

Skanda or Shanmukha, as Lord Karthikeya is known, is the favourite deity of the Shaivites; in fact, He
enjoys more popularity in the Southern parts of Bharata, much more than Sri Krishna. Here he is known
by innumerable names: Muruga, Subrahmanya, Guha, Sendhil, Kumara and Saravana to mention a few.

Skanda, the son of Lord Shiva, was born of the earnest prayers of the gods and sages in order to kill the
wicked Taraka and his ilk. Lord Shanmukha is depicted as the one with six-faces, one each for the five
elements and one of Lord Shiva Himself. The generalissimo of the gods, Shanmukha fights and kills the
wicked asuras and wins the worlds back for the gods.

Kavadi Bells, written by Late Sri T. N. V. Rajan, is a concise presentation of the Skanda Puranam.
Written in verse, it is as simple as it is beautiful. To one unable to read the original due to any reason,
the work does more than ample justice.

Let us celebrate this sacred month of Karthikai with Kavadi Bells.



Muruha, Muruha, Muruha, please
Gaze on my face with the love of Thy heart,
Place on my head Thy hands that bless and free,
Shed on my soul Thy Beauty’s light that transforms,
Remove my darkness with the tip of Thy spear;
Muruha, Muruha, Muruha, please
Spread on my mind the sweetness of Thy peace.

Skanda, dear Skanda, comely Skanda, lead
Love’s heart of melting love, hold me by
Thy hand; This is all mankind’s cry for our feet totter,
And forms of terror, brutal, grotesque, loom,
With gnashing teeth and doom’s portentous hiss;
Skanda, Dear Skanda, Comely Skanda, lead
To save us all from perils speed, do speed.

Lord Skanda, valourous Skanda descend
As Shakti-Dhara, Power Infinite

That comprehends the universe and its source,
In flashing rays of consciousness that hold
All power from the Holy Father’s brow;
Loved Skanda, valourous Skanda, descend,
Beneath the weight of woes again we bend.


Child Guardian of the universal life,
In rapture Shakti quickly multiplies
As petals six of lotus cradles to hold
Thy frames, while vestal maidens six descend
From KIRTIK to nurse, and inhale Thy breath:
Child Guardian of universal life,
Be by our side in trial, struggle and strife.

Chaste Gangeya, Redeeming Gangeya,
Of birth immaculate, thrice purified
By air and fire and Ganga to be rid
Of the pollution of descent into the gross,
Thou took form on the lake of Beauty and Peace:
Chaste Gangeya, Redeeming Gangeya,
May Thy breath spread as our panacea.

O Form of Truth that shows the ALL in ONE,
The ONE in All, at Gauri’s touch Thy forms
Of bodies six dissolved in ONE. So, too,
When light will touch the darkness of our minds,
The multiple will vanish and ONE will shine.
O Form of Truth that shows the ALL in ONE,
By us may Thou, the ONE in ALL, be won.


O Lord whose birth shows the descent into dust
Of the Soul, grasping the five senses and mind,
And elements five that make the frame and sheath:
Thou whose first cradle play was to show as ONE
The seeming many, Thy life is the full Truth:

O Lord, whose birth shows our descent into dust,
May we know that life is more than flesh and rust.

O Star that guide the galaxies, O Sun
Of realms supernal – Light of the worlds seven
That lie exalted in our Selves; O Shanmukha,
Whose sixth head is the world of Truth entire
That governs the world of five elements:
O Star that guide the galaxies, O Sun,
Our own sixth head, the Self, may we not shun.

Supreme God of Gods, Guru first and last,
Before whom bow the Holy TRINITY
That see their inner self, devoid of Gunas
In Thee: what loving kindness drew Thee down
To help alike the wise and the least evolved!
Supreme God of Gods, O Guru first and last,
Let Thy tread echo ere the storms of life blast.


O Shanmukha, whose birth and form display
Creation’s mode and purpose and fulfillment
The elements with which the soul combines,
The mind and senses that the soul does seize,
The ascent through six stages to the state
The Soul left and forgot in its descent:

O Subramanya, O Brahmamaya,
Intelligence Pure, whose high attributes
Are radiant as knowledge and dispassion,
Effulgent as renown and Righteousness,
And glorious as Power and Divine Sheen:

O Kumara, eternal youth, whose beauty
Will never fade – health, strength, the fullness of life,
And bliss and courage, all these lie in Thee,
And lie in being of the stuff of Thy Self
Of knowledge, Jyoti stainless, Light Supreme –
O Paragon among the Gods, O SEVVEL,

King on the Peacock throne of mental equipoise
That in contentment blessed seeks and finds the light,
O Master of maya, the serpent black,
O Substance, and Great Mystery, of OM:

Lord of the Forests, God of the Hills and Seas,
Let Thy flag with the Cock as ensign float,
Let evil forces that among men riot
Be drawn apart in their own monstrous forms,
And held in subtle height, be torn by Thy spear:
Lord of the Forests, God of the Hills and Seas,
The battle dread is Thine; ours is the cry for peace.

…to continue…

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