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Devotion of Subramania is an eclectic cult reflecting centuries of cultural synthesis. Murukan is not the god of a single culture. On a basis of Tamil religion he has integrated Saiva and Vaishnava attributes. He is a Tamil hill god that spread to the coast and the towns and then became the son of Śiva as Skanda. He is also known by the names of Kumāra, Subramanya, Kārttikeya, and Velan. The history of Murukan is the history of South India.

Murukan is a manifestation of teyvam, Tamil for the Divine, for his devotees. Other Tamil terms to describe him range from the abstract to his concrete symbols. For some he is a personal being. There is a face of Murukan for everyone. Indeed, the contemporary mythology of Murukan caters for all human needs and emotions.

With the development of Saivism in South India the school of Saiva Siddhanta emerged and this philosophy has been summarized in the fourteen Siddhanta sastras in Tamil. Of these the Śivanyana Potam by Meykanta Teva and the Śivanana Siddhiyar of Arulnanti Śivācārya are the clearest expositions. Such works combined the Sanskrit and Tamil elements. The religion of Saiva Siddhanta and Tamil bhakti is more to be experienced than metaphysical, thus affirming the early Tamil religion. The Tamil renaissance has continued this form of worship.

Murukan is called tamil kadavul, the "god of Tamil." His mythology is based on Tamil Nadu. He combines the Sanskrit and Tamil polarities of creation and destruction, symbolizes eternality, is the Lord of Time, and is closely related to the moon. The word muruku means honey, beauty, fragrance, divine music, eternal youth. It has even been suggested there is a link with the Dionysian cult coming into India with Alexander. Murukan's two consorts, the heavenly Devasena and the earthly Valli, fuse Saiva and Vaishnava motifs, and with them on the celestial mountain of Kanta Matanam he protects the universe. He destroys the asura (demon) Taraka. And he teaches his father Śiva the meaning of the sacred sound om.

Of great doctrinal importance are the six pilgrimage centres which are "topocosms" that "sacralize" Tamil Nadu. These are Palani, Tiruchendur, Tiruttani, Tirupparankunram, Swāmimalai, and the sixth is Kunratal, 'every hill on which the god dances,' that is, every other Murukan shrine.


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