The Earlier Avatara of Lord Muruga

Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri



In Part II of this blog, I shall try to explain how Lord Siva creates Kartikeya, as a result of a boon that he obtained from Sanath Kumara, the Manaseega Putra of Lord Brahma.  I know  you will all rise in arms if I say that Sanath Kumara gave a boon to Parvathi Parameshwara and as a result of the boon, Sanath Kumara was born as Lord Kartikeya to Maheswara?  - that is how the first part of this story concluded.


It s ridiculous to say that Sanath Kumara the mind born son of Lord Brahma, gave a boon to Lord Siva and to make it come true, he took the avatara of Skanda, or Subrahmanya.  If  one needs to know more about the exploits of Sanath Kumara, one has to read the Chandogya Upanishad, where one finds that the great Narada Maharishi completes his education, at the feet of Sanath Kumara. The origin of this story is found in the Tripura Rahasyam, Mahatmiya Khandam,(canto), Chapter 37. 


Lord Brahma had four Manaseega Putras, who were born seers and being self enlightened, were immersed in seeking the absolute Brahmam. They were collectively known as the Sanath Kumaras a name  derived from one of the fours sons.  In their quest for the absolute Brahmam (the Ultimate God-Head) they were in deep meditation most of their waking hours. 


One night, Sanath Kumara had a dream in his sleep, wherein he had become a Devasenathipathi, or the Lieutenant of the Devas' Army under the leadership of Lord Indra and annihilated the Asuras who were tormenting the three worlds, because of the power of the boons that their warlords had obtained from Lord Siva. The dream was so life like; he could not dismiss it as just a dream.


On awaking, he explained the dream to his father Lord Brahma.


“My son, in your previous birth, you had read the Devasura battles and those incidents had become indelible memories within you.  Because of your wow for Dushta Nigraha Sista Paripalana and the intense dislike of the Asuras you were ever ready to annihilate the evils in this world and the dream is just one of those manifestations in this birth. You are a trikala gynani and what ever comes into your mind it will happen and that is the specialty of you in this birth. I shall not be surprised if in the near future or in your next birth you actually do become a Devasenathipathi and annihilate the Asuras on this earth”.


To make that event a reality Lord Siva and his divine consort Parvathi decided to make  it come true.    As Sanath Kumara was meditating on the Paramathma, the Parameshwara and his divine consort Parvathi appeared before him and they were very much impressed and pleased with the height of austerity Sanath Kumara had achieved in his meditation. So immersed was Sanath Kumara in his meditation, he did not realize that the Lord and his Devi were standing before him for hours. 


Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi were surprised. With his trisulam (trident), Lord Siva prodded the meditating Sanath Kumara and intimated to him, that he was waiting before him with his Devi. And when Sanath Kumara opened his eyes, in his usual booming voice Lord Siva intoned: “We are pleased with your penance and the austerities that you have suffered. You may ask for a boon from us, and it shall be given.” 


Sanath Kumara's reaction was like that of a dead log. First and foremost he did not recognize their presence before him.  Being an enlightened one, to him every thing was same. 


He replied: “You seem to believe in your boons and its sibling, curses.  I really do not need any boons and that too from you.”


Mahakala was absolutely taken aback by the cheekiness of a puny little man.  Feigning anger the Lord threatened to curse Sanath Kumara.


Sanath Kumara burst out laughing. Totally undisturbed and with a lot of composure he replied: “Even if you are the Jagat Rakshaga, the provider of everything to all the Jivarasis, in the three worlds, please note I am beyond these boons and curses.  If you so desire, I shall give you a boon."


“Ask and it shall be yours.”


In fact, Lord Siva was waiting for such an opportunity, because the Devas in Kailasa had appealed to him,  for deliverance from the atrocities of Surapadman and his brothers.


The Lord, supplicated before Sanath Kumara and pleaded that he be born to HIM as HIS son. Caught in his own promise the sage had to agree but with one condition. And that was, he would be born as the son of Lord Siva, but without the participation of his Divine consort, because, .....because she did not seek the boon!!! In other words, no female womb would carry him.


Goddess Parvathi was miffed. She argued with Sanath Kumara that a wife is entitled to half of any boon the husband receives from any where. But Sanath Kumara was adamant. He said, that words once given cannot be taken back and unable to suffer the misery the Devi was put in, he explained  further:


“Loka Matha there is reason in what you say.  But I have promised your Lord and master that I will be born as a son to him only and you were never in the picture.  Then again, the neeti sastras say that one should give alms only to those who ask for it. Since you did not specifically ask for the boon, that I should be born as your son also, my dear lady, you have lost the opportunity. Besides, in spite of many people calling me as a Brahmajnani, I am still not perfect.  I have an extreme dislike for being born as a by-product of a sambhogam between a man and a woman and after residing in the woman’s womb, to be born through the Jananendriyam with my head facing the South is total anathema to me.  Hence you should pardon me and accept me as the son of Lord Siva only.”


Lord siva was in a quandary.  On one side, the Asuras of Surapadma and his brothers were annihilating the Devas and torturing the lesser mortals in the three worlds and on the other side, the time had come for deliverance of the Devas from the grip of the Asuras which could happen only through his son.


He worked out a compromise.  Long back, Lord Siva had given a boon to Basmasura, the specialty of the boon was that whomsoever kept his hands on his head, he would turn into ash. To test whether the boon given by the Lord was genuine or not, Basmasura requested the Lord to keep his hands on his head, and Lord Siva vanished from this world. Unable to bear the separation from her Lord, Parvathi melted into a liquid, which was stored in the poigai at the Sara Vana.


Little did she realize this as one of the Maya Jals of her Lord.  The Kapada  Nataka Soothradhari, returned alive, after regaining his Divyya Shareeram.


As promised, to the Devas, Lord Siva issued six sparks of Agni from his third eye, as an answer to their prayers.  He then commanded Agni to carry these six sparks and deposit it in the Sara Vana Poigai.  The intensity of the fire was so great; Agni was unable to carry them.  He called for assistance from river Ganga who also was distressed by the intensity of the fire and rushed from the great Himalayas to the Sara Vana Poigai and deposited there.  There these six sparks transformed into six babies who were suckled by the six Krittika nymphs.  Thus he got the name of Karthikeya.


Devi Parvathi was forlorn.  She could not bear that a son could be born to her Lord, without her participating in the act. Lord Siva, then took her to the Sara Vana Poigai, where she saw these six infants. She was so enamoured, she rushed and embraced  all the six of them in between her two hands. A miracle happened.  All the individual six bodies fused together into a glittering  divine body, but with six heads.


Arumugha was born.  It is this infant, who had been chosen to kill Surapadman and all the other Asuras.  Devi Parasakthi manifested from her Shakthi a javelin, the Vel, the Vetri Vel and Velavan was on his way from Himalayas, to battle the asuras. Maheshwara manifested his Shakthi in the form of a War General, Veerabaahu, who kept a constant vigil on the Kumaran. Lord Siva anointed his son, Guhan as the Supreme Commander of the Deva's army, a Devasenathipathi, and Lord Indra became a peacock to Mayilvahanan, so that he could meet Surapadman in land, air and in ether.

Within five days from the start of the battle, Kathirgaman vanquished all the forces of the Asuras, as well as the brothers of Surapadman.  On the sixth and final day, when Surapadman was defenceless, he turned himself into a huge mango tree and was about to buttress the  Vallimanalan to death. That is when he remembered the Shakthivel given to him by his Mother. Meditating on his mother, he threw the javelin at the huge mango tree which was split asunder into two.  By the grace of Skanthan, one part became a peacock and the other a cock.  As an act of forgiveness, to the Asura, Saravanan accepted the peacock as his vehicle and relieved Lord Indra from his duty and put the cock in his flag.


Surapadman was a Brahmin.  And when the Sevalkodiyon killed him, he was afflicted with Brahmahathi and he turned into an ugly black caricature of his once resplendent self.  As a result of this, he prayed at Sikkal and took a bath in the tank made out of the milk of the celestial cow, Kamadhenu and got back his original beautiful form and complexion.


This is why he is worshipped as the Singaravelar at Sikkal in the Thanjavur District, Tamilnadu.






"From a reading of the Chandogya Upanishad, we can conclude that Sanath Kumara was Skantha, as well as the Gyanapanditha. In educating brahmarishi Naradha, Sanath Kumara proved that the remover of Avidya or the darkness of ignorance is none other than Skantha.


One of the eternal attractions of Hindu Philosophy is the attempt of our seers, to educate us that we should acquire knowledge from those who can impart it without any Ahankara or ego.  This is amply proved by Lord Siva, who first asked for a boon from Sanath Kumara and then again became a disciple of his own son Skantha, for understanding the significance of the Pranava Mantra, thereby lifting his own son to the position of the Supreme Teacher, who would initiate his own father into the Pranava Matra,  verily a Gyanapandhithar".



                                         Velum Mayilum Thunai. 




Disclaimer:  Various sources.  Images from the Internet and the copyright rests with the individual artist. VP.








Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri

My dear Meera:

Thank you once again.  You have no idea, how emotionally charged I was, while writing this blog.  Over the dining table, while I was recounting the exploits of Skantha, to Lalitha, my wife, without my knowledge I was shedding tears, when it came to HIS disfigurement after the killing of Surapadman, a brahmin.  I could not proceed further, and hence I had to redeem the Lord, after his dip in the Kamadhenu's Milk  at Sikkal, when he becomes the Singaravelan again.  

I was startled, when she exclaimed that I was crying like a child?

Kind regards. 

Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri.

Meera San / / 4 yrs ago
Meera San

VP sir,

Subramanian, Skanda, Shanmuga, En Appan Murugan, Vadivela - household words we swear by - handed down by fore-fathers, slokas from my mother, hear-say information who had affinity towards a temple, glorifying the powers - energy centers. The special significance you brought out and presented indeed is enlightening.

I had meager information thanks to Soolamangalam sisters and some movies in Tamil industry - which is nothing much, but contributes to faith in general without solid ground rules.

Special thanks to you, for bringing all the information together and presenting and going to the roots and telling as a story. Yes, enlightening, informative and imparting knowledge for me, specifically.


Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri

Meera San:

Thank you for the recommendation and I admit there is a lot of truth in your comment, not because this blog was written by me, but in the very avatara of Lord Muruga. It is like tasting the Panchamritham, the prasadam at the Temple of Dandayuthapani  at Palani?

Kind regards.  

Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri.

Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri


Thank you.  I acknowledge your words of appreciation, as a benevolence from the Almighty.  In spite of  all our efforts one cannot see the Lord God in person in this Kali Yuga, but HE compensates this loss through other mortals who are enlightened. 

Kind regards. 

Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri.


Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri


Thank you for the contribution.  Now I see the difference between parental affection and the prema of the devotees.  To me, as Vaidyanatha, Muruga is all the same whether he is Balamuruga or Deva Senapathi?  In all his different forms he is still a son, to his father Vaidyanatha?

Kind reagrds. 

Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri.

annaakka / / 4 yrs ago

Thank you so much for this enlightening blog VP Sir. So special a treat.. enjoyed reading it.. waiting for more:)

City Lover / / 4 yrs ago
City Lover

Dear VP sir,

Enlightening blog.

Love to read more about Lord Muruga and the Thiruppugazh connection.


The photo I see here is Balamuruga...I was expecting the Senapathi photo so special to Tiruchendur - the handsome youngster. Here I go -- my 2 cents to this wonderful blog.


Meera San / / 4 yrs ago
Meera San

Enlightening, informative and imparting knowledge, thank you for this blog VP sir.

Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri


Thank you.  While I was collecting material for this blog, I read an article  where in it was stated that when a jivatma takes birth,  and passes from the womb of the Mother to the outside world  through her Jananaendriyam, Maya takes control of the infant, and makes him / her forget its past, or what transpired in the previous birth of that particular jivatma.  Since Sanath Kumara was a Trikala Gynani he did not want to be born with his head towards the South and emerge from the womb of Goddess Parvathi.  He was certain, he would be reduced to an ordinary mortal, with all the Aasa Pasam that is common among the mortals.  His worst fear was that he would forget his poorvikam, as Maya would not leave him alone.  Hence, hisinsistence that he would be born as the son to Lord Siva and not to Parvathi.  

Similarly Lord Subrahmanya, when he was born, he was fully  aware of his previous births and acted accordingly. 

Am I digressing? 

Kind regards. 

Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri.

unnikrishnandr / / 4 yrs ago

Dear Sir,

God has his own uncanny abilities to teach ordinary mortals like us the inclusiveness in this society.

 only if we had lived as per his directions and desires this present day society would not have been the way it is, looking at the differences rather than the more common things and features we share.

The Hindu mythology is full of facts and figures as to how all the living forms, explicit in the incarnations, including even the lowest forms of creations can have a profound influence and impact on our lives.

Yet we forget again, is not forgetfulness a boon by the lord for ordinary mortals like us.

Just imagine could we carry on with our lives without leaving the past miseries, sorrows and even happiness. 

am i off track.

Thank you

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