Lord Skanda, the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and the brother of Lord Ganesh must have been worshipped all over India once upon a time. There is mention of Him in the Vedas and Puranas and in the Mahabharata as well. Archaeological findings related to Him point to His worship from 10 B.C. or before. But as time passed and worship patterns changed, His worship became more localised. In today’s India, He is most prevalent where there are Tamils.
Although my parents worshipped a pantheon of Gods, we did not have Lord Murugan in the altar at home. As a consequence, I was not much attached to this God who is most important to the Tamils, my people. As a Hindu, I believe that each of our Gods and Goddesses is a complete manifestation of the Divine. I quote the Shanti Mantra from Brihadaranyaka & Ishavasya Upanishad (4 BC), a mantra which I recite morning and evening :
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते |
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवा वशिष्यते ||
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ||
Om. That (Paramatma = God, the supreme being) is absolute (complete/perfect). This (Jeevatma = individual soul) is absolute. The absolute arises from the absolute. When the absolute is taken from the absolute, what remains is the absolute. Om Peace Peace Peace.
One of the earliest definition of Infinity (∞ – ∞ = ∞), the interpretation is that God being infinite, each manifestation of Him (including our souls) is also infinite and complete. Whichever God you choose to worship, you still worship the same Infinite.
It is thanks to Carnatic Music and the many songs devoted to Lord Murugan which have brought me to seek Him. How passionate the devotion of the Tamil poets is to Him! How beautifully they sing His praise!! One such song is what I am presenting today.
Sharavanabhava (Sanskrit: He who was born in a clump of reeds) refers to Lord Murugan. The six syllables haves deep esoteric significance as well and this is used as a Mantra by His devotees. This song is written by Papanasam Sivan (1890-1972) and is set to Raga Shanmukhapriya (meaning, the raga which pleases the God of Six Heads i.e. Lord Murugan). If you want to know more about the raga, click here. The lyrics are available here. The superbly talented sisters Ranjani & Gayatri sing this beautifully below :
Alternate link : Click here.
Click here to listen to an excellent instrumental version played by the Sax Maestro Kadri Gopalnath.