Polygynous Gods, A Rooster, and An Ancient Civilization

Karttikeya

Murugan (Tamil: முருகன், Sanskrit:सुब्रह्मण्य, Hindi: कार्तिकेय) also called Kartikeya, Skanda and Subrahmanya, is a popular Hindu deity especially among Tamil Hindus, worshipped primarily in areas with Tamil influences, especially South India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius and Reunion Island. His six most important shrines in India are the Arupadaiveedu temples, located in Tamil Nadu. In Sri Lanka, Hindus as well as Buddhists revere the sacred historical Nallur Kandaswamy temple in Jaffna and the sacred Buddhist and Hindu shrine or Kataragama temple (also in Sinhala “Katharagama Devalaya”) dedicated to him, situated deep south in the country. Chinese in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, of Malaysia also pray to Lord Murugan during Thaipusam.

Lord Murugan is more popular in South India especially among Tamil people famously referred as Thamizh Kadavul (God of Tamils) compared to other parts of India. He is the patron deity of the Tamil land (Tamil Nadu). Like most Hindu deities, He is known by many other names, including Senthil (Smart), Saravaṇa, Kārtikeya (meaning ‘son of Krittika’ ), Arumugam, Sanmuga(from Sanskrit Ṣaṇmukha), Shadanana (meaning ‘one with six faces’), Kumāra (meaning ‘child or son’), Guhan or Guruhuha (meaning ‘cave-dweller’), Skanda (meaning ‘that which is spilled or oozed, namely seed’ in Sanskrit), Subrahmaṇya, Vēlaṇ and Swaminatha. In Indonesia, the name Kartika is more commonly a girl’s name.

In Durga Puja in Bengal, Murugan is considered to be a son of Parvati along with his brother Ganesha and his sisters Saraswati and Lakshmi.

Archaeological findings of pottery and relics in several places in Tamil Nadu, particularly in Adichanallur had ideographic inscriptions of this name and show signs that Murugan worship was prevalent at least as early as 10th century B.C, if not earlier.

Lord Murugan is also associated with Ahmuvan, an Indus Valley Deity.

According to noted epigraphist Iravatham Mahadevan, the ideographs signify a brave warrior capable of killing evil beings to save the devoted.

In Tamil Nadu, Murugan has continued to be popular with all classes of society right since the Sangam age. This has led to more elaborate accounts of his mythology in the Tamil language, culminating in the Tamil version of Skanda Purana, called Kandha Purānam, written by Kacchiappa Sivachariyar (1350-1420 AD.) of Kumara Kottam in the city of Kanchipuram. (He was a scholar in Tamil and Sanskrit literature, and a votary of the Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy.)

He is married to two deities, Valli, a daughter of a tribal chief and Deivayanai (also called Devasena), the daughter of Indra. During His bachelorhood, Lord Murugan is also regarded as Kumaraswami (or Bachelor God), Kumara meaning a bachelor and Swami meaning God. Muruga rides a peacock and wields a bow in battle. The lance called Vel in Tamil is a weapon closely associated with him. The Vel was given to him by his mother, Parvati, and embodies her energy and power. His army’s standard depicts a rooster. In the war, the Surapadman was split into two, and each half was granted a boon by Murugan. The halves, thus turned into the peacock (his mount) and the rooster his flag.

As Muruga is worshipped predominantly in Tamil Nadu, many of his names are of Tamil origin. These include Senthil, the red or formidable one; Arumuga, the six-faced one; Guha and Maal-Marugan, the son-in-law of Vishnu.

Murugan is venerated throughout the Tamil year. There is a six day period of fast and prayer in the Tamil month of Aippasi known as the Skanda Shasti. He is worshipped at Thaipusam, celebrated by Tamil communities worldwide near the full moon of the Tamil month Thai. This commemorates the day he was given a Vel or lance by his mother in order to vanquish the asuras. Thirukarthigai or the full moon of the Tamil month of Karthigai signifies his birth. Each Tuesday of the Tamil month of Adi is also dedicated to the worship of Murugan. Tuesday in the Hindu tradition connotes Mangala, the god of planet Mars and war.

Yaudheya

Yaudheya (Hindi:यौधेय) or Yaudheya Gana (Hindiयौधेयगण) was an ancient confederation who lived in the area between the Indus river and the Ganges river. They find mention in Pāṇini’s Ashtadhyayi and Ganapatha. There are other references to them namely in Mahabharata, Mahamayuri, Brihatsamhita, Puranas, Chandravyakarana and Kashika. As references are spanned from writings of early period to the medieval period, the chronology of Yaudheyas perhaps spans from as early as 500 BCE till 1200 CE. They were in zenith of their power from about 200 BCE to 400 CE.

Jat/Ahirs/Rajput of clans Joiyas, Joyias, Joyas, Joyeas, Joeyas, Joiyas or Johiya of Bahawalpur and Multan Divisions (Pakistan) and Bikaner, Rajasthan (India) sometimes claim Yodhey ancestry. Yodhey community and kings of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab were probably Jats. There are some Yodhey in Rajputs as well, in Rajasthan.

Puranas (e.g. Brahmanda, Vayu, Brahma and Harivamsha) described Yaudheyas as the descendants of Usinara and Nrigu.

We find earliest mention of Yaudheyas in Ashtadhyayi (V.3.116-17 and IV.1.178) of Pāṇini (c.500 BCE) where Yaudheyas are mentioned amongst Ayudhajivin Sanghas.

Later, the Junagadh rock inscription (c. 150 CE) of Rudradaman I[10] acknowledged the military might of the Yaudheyas “who would not submit because they were proud of their title “heroes among the Kshatriyas””, although the inscription explains that they were ultimately vanquished by Rudradaman.

“Rudradaman (…) who by force destroyed the Yaudheyas who were loath to submit, rendered proud as they were by having manifested their’ title of’ heroes among all Kshatriyas.”
—Junagadh rock inscription

The Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta also mentioned about the Yaudheyas. Varahamihira in his Brihatsamhita (XIV.28 and XVI.22) placed them in the northern division of India.

– Gameness til the End




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