The Previous Avtar Of Lord Muruga/Kartikeya
Who is Lord Muruga?
I am translating from memory what I read in the book “Deivathin Kural”[ Voice Of the Divine] a collection of lectures by Sri Chandra Shekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal of the Kanchi Math.
The story is from a Purana and the Kanchi saint was a well read person with a researcher’s mind and he feels Lord Kartikeya had a previous Avtar…
[Some historians might say Lord Kartikeya is a foreigner [ as the other Gods] and it is always good for a laugh…]
Lord Brahma’s four manasikha Sons were born seers who were immersed in the absolute Brahman. [ God ultimate] they were jeevan- mukthas[ realised souls] and one day,one of them, Sanath Kumar, was deep in meditation …
Lord Shiva was pleased with the state of mind Sanath Kumar had achieved and he appeared with Goddess Parvati before the enlightened one .
He asked Sanath Kumar to seek a boon and the latter said ,”You sound like you believe in boons and curses. I don’t need a boon, if you want , you may ask me for one…!”
Lord Shiva was even more pleased with this cheeky response .
“The way we feel happy when our kids smart-talk with us” says Swamiji. That’s a charming comparison and goes down well with grahastas [ house holders] like us.
Lord Shiva sought a boon that Sanath Kumar should be born as his Son and the born-free yogi agreed readily. But he said he would be born to the Lord alone and not to the Goddess as she didn’t seek the boon.
She was distressed and argued that a wife is entitled to 50% of any boon a husband might receive…[ I like this concept.Sounds fair].:-))
But Sanath Kumar said words once given cant be taken back and thus Lord Kartikeya/Subramanya was born out of lord Shiva’s third eye…
The whole play was staged because even though Sanath Kumar was a realized one, he once felt intense anger for the Asuras [ evil forces] and wanted to destroy them .
Thus the Avtar of lord Muruga/Subramanya happened, to slay them.
[One cannot even imagine the number of births we , as ordinary souls will have to make for all those angry thoughts we harbour in our minds.
However, Skanda's divine birth was for a reason.
The puranas talk about how Lord Muruga imprisoned Lord Brahma as the latter couldn’t explain the concept of Pranava [ OM] to him and that sounds like Sanath kumar…
When Lord Shiva chides him for that and asks him to explain the concept of OM, the cheeky smart son says “Ask like a student and I’ll tell you”.
Lord Shiva obliges, he seats little Kartikeya on his lap but puts a hand on his mouth reverentially as though the little one were his Guru [ anyone who can explain the Pranava is a Guru, even if he’s your little Son]
This delightful tale is loved by all and Sanath kumar/ Karthikeya is called Swaminathan [ the Lord of Lords] or “Tagappan Sami”[ the Lord of the Father].
Go to Swamimalai in TN and take a darshan of the lovable , over-smart ,precocious child there..
And go to Tiruchendur , TN to witness the victorious warrior, the slayer of evils, standing there at the beach temple waiting to see us…
[ I haven’t been to either of these places yet,[ which are two of the six holy sites in TN associated with Lord Muruga.] May be I’ll ,someday, if the cheeky one wills so].
Skandha Shashti Vizha [ celebrations] started on 10 th November and it culminates in the samhaara of the Asura Soora Padma by Lord Subramanya on the 15 th.
Thiruchendur, TN is the site where the great war happened and that’s where Shri Adi Shankara composed his Subramanya Bhujangam.
Shri Kartikeya is referred to in the Gita, when the dark skinned stealer of hearts talks about the best in everything.
“Among generals, I am Kartikeya”.
Skanda Purana is one of the 18 puranas and comprises of nearly I lakh shlokas [ If I am jot wrong, there are a total of 4 lakh Shlokas in all the 18 puranas put together. That makes the Skanda Purana the largest purana.]
Ancient work like Kalidaasa’s Kumara Sambhavam , Nakkerrar’s ThiruMurugaRRupadai [ Tamil] sing the praises of this fair skinned stealer of hearts.
He is also referred to in the Valimikhi Ramayan when sage Vashisht tells ShriRam about the worship of Karthikeya[ If I am not wrong ,I think he is
referred to by that name]
However we have some scholars in Tamil nadu who tell us this Son of Lord Shiva is Dravidian and Skanda is just Aryanised Muruga.
Some others say he is Greek. Why stop with Greeks, he is called Skanda , he could be Scandinavian too.:-)
These scholars are lucky my grandmother is not alive. Had she been around, she would have given them a mighty piece of her mind.
Her Husband, my grandfather worshipped Lord Hanuman , but to her, Skanda-Kartikeya-Subramanya-Swaminatha was the ishta Devata she called out to when she prayed.
Pluralism and the freedom to choose one’s ishta Devatas are very necessary for householder -beginners like us.
I was thinking about the vrat my grandmother used to observe during this time [ many devout Muruga bhakts fast during this time] and was feeling rather touched by the power of devotion people have.
Here is a verse from Subramanya Bhujangam and you can read the whole text at this link.
4. yadhA sannidhAnam gathA mAnavA me, bhavAm bodhipAram gathAsthe thadhaiva
ithi vyanjayan sindhutheere ya aaste, thameede pavitram parAshaktiputram
O Lord Subramanya! Son of spotless Parashakti [the Mother of the Cosmos], Thou have taken your abode near the sea shore Tiruchendur as if it is an indication that whenever the devotees take refuge in Thee, they can easily cross the ocean of samsara (the eternal cycle of life and death) and reach the other side of the shore safely!
May the Son of Shiva and Shakthi illumine our dark minds and lead us to light!!!
The first part of this article was first posted in Sulekha .
More posts by this author:
- An article from vedanet.com-Some thoughts
- Fancy dress shows-being a little God[ dess]
- Hindu Temple Architecture-IV
- Paavai Nonbu, Sri Andal and the Importance of Margazhi
- Hush! Krishna is About to Fall Asleep