Sunday, 6 November 2011

Lord Muruga - Essence of Beauty

|| Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||

Murugan - essence of beauty
Aum Namo Narayanaya

Dear readers, inspiration for this week’s blog was not hard to come by as I virtually tripped over it since the previous writing. As devotees were engaged in daily prayer and 'sadhana' in light of the Skanda Shasti festival which commenced on 27th October 2011, I tried to journey inward to make some sense and relevance of this festival in my life’s journey. Our life at times is very much like a “thiruthu vcd” a term used by Tamilians to refer to pirate movies sold on the streets before it is released. Governed by our ego and senses, we have left the pure path and prefer the cheap non-quality thrills off this world.

It was by His divine grace alone that I was invited by the Tongaat South Vishnu Temple to say a few words on behalf of the Tongaat Hindu Unity Forum, on the occasion of the Skanda Shasti Kavady. Never failing to invoke devotion in the 'bhakta's' heart the kavady festival is the heat that can melt even the hardest heart into some devotion.The music on the loud hailers penetrates every space in the vicinity, even drawing curious onlookers from their homes to come and sample some grace of Muruga, Kathir Vela, the commander-in-chief of the heavenly armies. The smoke and fragrance of the smouldering 'samagri' (used in hawan) dilutes and carries away with it all the despair and worry of the devotees, as they stand, body and head smeared with sandal paste inscribed with the insignoir of Shiva - the 'patta' (3 lines); palms together; eyes closed; with a serene smile on their faces calling on Subramanya to answer their prayers.
Lord Muruga on his peacock

But the answer to my  earlier enquiry came to me when I heard one of the bhajan groups on the ground burst into frenzy with the song “Aadu Mayaler  Koothadu Mayalier” which when translated means "dance peacock dance". In the Bhagavat Gita, Bhagawan Krishna declares: "Of all army Generals, I am Skanda".  We all know that when a peacock does this dancing ritual with its plumage all open, it's to attract the female. When we look at the iconography of Muruga, we find that he is seated on such a peacock. It defied my mind then how the General of the heavenly army would be able to lead an army into attack with his vehicle dancing all over the place. At the commencement of the war with the asuras, His Mother Parvathi endowed him with a very powerful weapon called the 'vel'  which is a one pointed weapon which Muruga used to vanquish Tharaksura. Hence by many he is also known as Vellan.Therein lies the beauty (Muruga means beauty) of this warrior and general; where in one hand wielding the 'vel' whilst riding his peacock was able to defeat the asuras.

Many young girls will allude to the fact that they are yet to come across a man or boy that can match the beauty of Lord Muruga. As much His physical beauty is beyond description, there is a spiritual beauty which we must emulate.The peacock represents our senses and ego which dance to the tune of the world. We have become slaves to sense stimuli and our egos have become so inflated that we believe that we are the doers and with the result have forgotten God in the equations of our lives.

Lord Murugan has taught us that we must bring the senses and ego under our control by using the weapon given by the Divine Mother. The 'vel' represents the one pointed mind which gives way for the intellect. By engaging the intellect instead of the mind (which feeds off the senses) in any situation we are able to defeat the asuras that deviate our minds from purity. A typical example is the exam season we are currently in - the night clubs and cricket matches present a better option than to sit in the room and study. If we fail to utilise the intellect which will say that we must sacrifice these pleasures and study so that our future will be better, then our minds will overwhelm us to engage in this temporary pleasure and you can be found  without a proper education struggling  to earn a living in the world.

Everybody wants to lead a pleasant and beautiful life full of prosperity and devoid of pain and suffering. This is entirely possible and it is all up to us. That beauty is born in the intellect.
Saravana, another name for Muruga because he was born in the saravana forest. 'Sara' means pointed grass and 'vana' means forest. The mind is the forest and He (Muruga) was born in the pointed grass which is representative of the intellect. So the beautiful life (Muruga) we seek is possible to us if we become masters of our senses and ego and utilise our intellect instead of the mind when making decisions in our lives. Then we become the 'Senapathy' (commander) of our destiny .

The world will see the beauty in everything that we do. Victory will come to us always when we use the intellect and we will be beautiful physically and spiritually.  In essence, that's what we mean when we all in chorus chant "Vetri Vel Muruganaka Haro Hara" (this part acknowledges and glorifies the preceding statement).

May Lord Murugan give us strength to utilise our intellect and become commanders of our lives in our journey to liberation from the cycle of birth and death is my sincere prayer.

Aum Saravana Bhavaya Namaha
With love and prayers always.

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