Sri Paamban Swaamigal’s SHANMUGA KAVASAM
Shanmuga Kavasam is a powerful hymn of 30 verses composed by Paamban Swami in 1891 for the benefit of Lord Murugan's devotees to protect them from illness of body and mind as well as from foes, wild beasts, poisonous creatures, demons, devils and biting insects. Several instances prove that this Shanmuga Kavacam verses effective in this respect. If you recite it with heart and soul to Lord Murugan, the results will be swift and miraculous.
To derive the full benefit of the recital of Shanmuga Kavasam, the following invocation verse composed by Paamban Swamigal has to be recited first and then the kavacham.
May my Lord *Saravanathan, the Almighty, who is pervading all spheres of the Universe (including the Heaven and Earth); Who is the Eternal Truth transcending the Mind, World and Body; the celestial Guru to His ardent devotees; who is flawless and pure; praised by all from the eight directions (of the World) and Who is my ever gracious Lord, Eswara; protect my Head every day.
*Note: Saravanathan Lord Muruga emerged as an Avathar, with His six sacred Faces and twelve mighty Arms. From the six sparks of fire which fleshed out of the central eyes (in the foreheads) of Lord Siva They were carried and left by the Holy Ganges in the cool, fragrant. grassy pond known as Saravana poigai on the Himalayas. Hence our Lord is known as Saravanathan or Saravanabhavan i.e. One Who was born in Saravana poigai.
May my Lord Muruga Who is the basic Source and Cause of everything and the darling (Son of Lord Siva) of Mount Kailas, protect my lovely Forehead; may the Wearer of the fragrant kadamba garland, protect my Eye-brows; and the glorious effulgent Delty Thanigesan of *Thiruthanigai, protect my spotless, clear Eyes; the divine Babe and the Lord of the six Karthigai maids (i.e. stars, who fed our Lord with their breast-milk in Saravana poigai) protect my Nose willingly. After vanquishing Surapadma and the Asuras, when His (righteous) wrath against the evil doers was quelled and cooled. our Lord hath come down to Thiruthani (to wed Goddess Valli) and He is seated on this holy hillock (after the wedding) in a quiet and tranquil repose (as denoted by the very name of this place) with His beloved consorts Sri valli and Sri Devasena (Itcha and Kriya sakthees) to confer His perennial Grace on His devotees. Thus Thiruthanigai ranks first and foremost of all the hill temples.
*Note: Thiruthanigai is the fifth of the six Padaiveedoos (Eminent places of worships) of our Lord and it is the crowning jewel of all His hill temples.
May my Lord, the Holder of the red, glowing Vel (Who rouses in us the longing for Mukthi) protect my twin Ears to function normally. may Murugavel-the ever-young, all beautiful, Fragrant Lord protect my Mouth; may the benevolent Lord Kumara protect my Tongue and Teeth; and the younger Brother of Lord Ganesh (with His Elephant Face and Trunk resembling the Form of and signifying the basic manthra "Om") protect my spotless Cheeks; May Lord Sivasubramania (a harmonious combination of Siva, the Father and Subramania, the Son; Who are not different but One and the same Divine Entity) protect my rear Neck to keep it lovely!
May Lord Muruga, the Repository of the wealth of Divine Grace and the darling Child of Karthigai maids protect my Neck; May the *Son-in-law of goddess thirumagal (Lakshmi) protect my Shoulders and ribs to keep them beaming and brawny; May our Lord with His twin-six weapons (including the Vel) in His twelve hands protect my flawless robust Chest; May the (Old) Chief of the flourishing *Kurinji (Mountain) Land (in Tamilnadu, the favourite resort of our Lord) protect my Elbows which are unblemished!
*Note: (1) Son-in-law of Thirumagal When the Devas (including Lord Vishnu and Brahma) were teased and tormented by the cruel Surapadma and the Asuras, they approached Lord Siva for succour, Who promised to send His son Kumara (to he born) to vanquish the Asuras and to release the Devas from their tyranny. This consoling assurance brought down two tears of joy from the eyes of Lord Vishnu which got transformed into two lovely maids known as Amirtha-Valli and Sundara-Valli. They vowed to marry none but Lord Muruga and performed penance for several years. Our Lord appeared before them and promised to marry them in the next birth of one of them in Devaloka i.e. as Sri Deivayanai (daughter of Indra) and the other in Booloka i.e. as Sri Valli (daughter of the red deer). He fulfilled His promises to both of them and so, our Lord is aptly styled as the son-in-law of Thirumal and Thirumagal (2) Kurinji land: Most of the shrines of our Lord are located on hills and elevated places in the rocky parts (of South India) known as Kurinji land. Unlike the other Deities seated in temples on the plains, our Lord is enshrined in plates higher above us which signifier that He watches and protects us from above. Hence out Lord is known as the Old Chief of the Kurinji land, though in fact He is a perpetual youth of peerless beauty.
May my Lord, the younger son of Goddess Uma, protect my Fore-arms to keep then strong and sturdy! May Lord Muruga, the *God Supreme, protect both my Hands in full to keep them mighty and manly; may the holder of the sharp, powerful Vel protect the back portion of my Palms, (which alone is visible when they are joined together during our prayers to our Lord) May the son-in-law of our great and glorious Thirumal protect the Ten fingers of my hands which are indispensible for all handicrafts and manual labour; may the young divine Lord, Kumaresan, protect my Back.
Trinity (i.e. Lord Siva. Vishnu and Brahma) for the following reasons:
May my Lord, the Rider on the blooming multi-coloured *Peacock protect my Stomach which contains food; may the Lord of Devas with His elevated, fragrant shoulders protect my Navel bud: may the Son (who emerged from the devine sparks) of Goddess Gowri who is our Lord Kanda protect our Private parts; May Arumuga (the six-faced Deity) protect the Anus.
*Note: Peacock and Cock: After a tough and terrible fight and in the last stage of the battle, Surapadma transformed himself into a mango tree. Our Lord forcibly cast His mighty Vel (with lightning rapidity) which split the tree into two halves, one of which became the Peacock and the other became the Cock. when they surrendered at the lotus Feet of our Lord. He took both of them into His fold with His infinite grace (mahakarunai) even towards His Foe. Thus the Peacock become His Divine carrier and the Cock adorns His banner of Victory to serve our Lord for ever. This shows the magnanimity of our Lord.
May the Lord of the Invincible *Vel protect my Hip to keep it firm without any slackness or instability; May the beloved Son of God Siva protect my twin lovely Buttocks; May the foster son of Ganges (Kangeyan) and the Embodiment of Eternal Truth protect the twin-split portions of my Back thighs; May my supreme God (and the saviour of my soul) with His red lotus Feet protect the Front portion of my robust Thighs.
*Note: Vel represents the Divine Wisdom (Gnanasakthi) which is conferred on His devotees by Lord Muruga. This divine weapon was given to Him by His Father Lord Siva, (with the blessings of His Mother Sakthi) to vanquish Surapadma and his powerful Asura-force.
The Vel is pointed at its top, broad in the middle and thick at its base which signifies the subtlety and sharpness, width and depth of the divine lore. The dazzling Kathirvel, which radiates like the rays of the Sun, dispels the darkness of Ignorance and Illusion, the dismal effects of our Ego and Karma to enlighten us to achieve the ultimate end of Life i.e. salvation.
May the Presiding Deity of Thiruyeragam* (Swamimalai) protect my two Knees; may the Deity of Seer
Alaivoi (Thiruchendur) protect my well-set Ankles; May the Lord of the renowned Paramgiri
May our beautiful young Lord Kumaresan of the hill-temples* protect the ten Toes of my feet; May our Lord (Nathaswaroopa) of the green **Palani hill protect Soles of my feet; May the pristine pure Lord Shanmuga, the basic cause for all Beings and things, protect my Entire body; May the god of Devas and the Lord (of His birth-star) Visaka be ever in my mind to protect it from the desires and distractions of the World!
(iv) Solaimalai: is the last end sixth Padaiveedu where our Lord is in a happy and lovely pose amidst the dense cluster of shady trees in a secluded hilly tract (near Madurai) with His beloved consorts, to confer on His devotees the sweet Bliss and ever lasting peace.
**Note: Palani is the third Padaiveedu where our Lord revels in His divine pose as an Andi (i.e. Ascetic) with His sacred Body smeared with the holy ash, wearing nothing but a "Kowpeenam'. His celestial Hand holding the Mace ( to destroy the evil forces) and to impress on His teeming millions of devotees the need for austerity and a detached frame of mind with a feeling of renunciation of the pleasures of Life so as to attain His lotus Feet and enjoy the Eternal Bliss!
Legend says that this place has been rendered sacred due to the following incident. Sage Narada took a rare mango fruit to be presented to Lord Siva and Uma Devi. Their two sons, Ganesh and Kumar, vied with each other for getting the fruit from their parents. To settle the matter amicably between them, Lord Siva said that who ever of them went round the world First would have the prize of the fruit. Lord Kumara immediately started His flight (with lightning rapidity) on His Peacock. But Lord Ganesha could not do so with His bulging belly and big body. He hit upon a plan. As the entire Creation is in the womb of Goddess Uma and as Lord Siva is the Progenitor of all the world, Ganesh went round them and got the fruit, urging that He fulfilled the mandate of His Father in its spirit and essence.
Lord Muruga who was amazed and upset on seeing the fruit in the hand of His Brother, quietly left Mount Kailas to His lonely Abode at Palni, renouncing His Pomp and Parents. He would not return inspire of the entreaty of His parents and They appropriately praised our Lord that though He did not get the mango fruit, yet He was the Fruit of Divine Wisdom to the World!
May the peerless, powerful Vel of my Lord Muruga terrorize and drive out (from my presence) the ghosts and apparitions which threaten me with their huge noise and uproar, the Raksha Devil which longs for and lives upon animal and human sacrifice and Evil Spirits of all kinds which are apt to cause distress and deadly effects on me.
May the sharp Vel of my Lord protect me from the bad effects of sorcery, witchcraft and the Like, performed by wicked persons and from the powerful effects of their Manthras and Thantras!
May the powerful Vel in the sacred Hand of my Lord protect me from any injury or harm sought to be done to me by my wrathful foes with their fierce weapons of sword, bow, Vel, trident, mace, wheel, stick "Parazu", spear etc. (may His Vel be an impregnable shield to guard me from the onslaughts of my Foes!)
May the sacred Vel (which safeguards all the worlds), of my Lord Muruga, Who was a terror to the wicked Surapadma who was ever ready to pounce on his foes, protect and guard me) if those who are jealous, flesheaters, mean, devilish, cruel(like Asuras) ignorant and enemical towards me, daringly come to pounce upon, embrace and wrestle with me with a foul and firm determination!
May the bright, beautiful Vel of my Lord, the foster son of Ganges, come to my aid quickly to protect and prevent any harm to be done to me by the deadly poisonous snakes, lion, bear, dog, tiger, mighty elephant, cruel wolf, monkey, pig, cat, fox and such other quadrupeds.
My Lord! Just as the Tamizh letter "Nn" is an adjunct to the other letters of that language (by embracing them), may Thy supreme Vel of divine Wisdom (Gnanasakthi) likewise protect me and those of my coterie of Thy devotees! May the Vel also guard me against any harm to be caused to me by the species of cruel birds, rat, scorpion, "Nandukkali", "Seyyan", poisonous Lizard, Vonan", "Pooran", spider and other slim bodied poisonous insects.
May the sharp Vel of my Lord Muruga Who emerged from the divine sparks (from the eyes of Lord Siva) afford me, with its immense power, timely protection from any danger or distress to be caused to me by the crocodile which is powerful in water and the pointed long-horny fish known as " Thirikkai" as also by the brood of other cruel beings Living on earth or in water!
May the Vel in the sacred Hand of our Lord on the beautiful Peacock guard us from the mal-aspects of the Planets! May the victorious Vel of my Lord, with His twelve robust shoulders, protect us from the diseases of the eye, tooth, nose and ear, Thimirnoi, Vatham and Sogai (i.e. Anaemia ).
May the vel in the sacred Hand of my Lord, Who split the Krouncha mountain, protect us from the approach and affliction of acute diseases such as the terrible headache which torment the head, beating like a drum, Adenitis neck (Kandamaalai), the severe hook-worm disease, Intestinalcolic, Bronchitis, Asthma, Tuberculosis the deadly disease of Gonorrhea (Which disables us from holding erect, or even rising from the bed) and Diabetes.
May the Invincible Vadivel of my Lord save me from the deadly sway of the family of poignant diseases such as the Pile (which causes burning sensation in the stomach) Virulent fever, Leprosy which reduces and deforms the fingers of the hands and toes of the feet, Piles, Peptic Ulcer, Dypepsia and Sinusitis (Janni) which causes death in no time.
May the strong and impregnable Vel of my Lord protect me from the disease which causes perpetual unquenchable thirst (by drying up the tongue), Vatham, Sayithiam, Arosagam, internal excess of bodily heat which reduces us with a wasting effect, undue and prolonged tiresomeness, Hiccough, diseases causing Pus, Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Anda-vaathum and Soolai (accute stomach pain).
May the Gracious Vel of my Lord protect me from the infliction, even for a moment, of the dire diseases of Granthi (which causes itching sensation), the disease of Paandu which causes swelling, Leprosy of white and black colour, vomiting and the disease of Pavuthram which appears in no time, causing no little pain.
When the messengers of Yama, with their bodies darker than pitch-dark night, hearts harder than stone, biting their teeth, rolling their fierce eye-balls and twitching their moustaches with grim looks, approach me (to snatch away my life), may the owerful Vel of my Lord (Muruga), Who vanquished the Asura Tharakan rapidly come to my rescue and save me with its divine all-powerful manthra "Om, Ayim, Reem"!
May the sacred Vel in the Hand of my ever-gracious Lord *Shashtinathan come to me, of its own accord, and protect me wherever I may be, whether on earth, tree, mountain, fire or in cool water or when I ride in a vehicle or even if I be in the sky or underground or in any other place, anywhere!
*Note: Shashthinathan: The sixth day in the growing phase of the moon of a Tamil month is the shashti day considered as sacred to propitiate our Lord and the six days of Skanda Shashti in the months of October- November each year are the most sacred days. When the ardent devolccs of our Lord observe rigorous last and perform continuous poojas, day in and day out, for the Victory of our Lord in His fierce battle with Surapadma on those days. When our Lord put an end to the Asura on the sixth day (Soorasamhara), His devotees break their fast on the next day and celebrate the Victory with boundless joy. Thus, our Lord is known as Shashtinathan (i.e. the Lord Who came out victorious during the period of shashti).
May the victorious Vel of my God Muruga Who is the Lord of the sweet-tongued Sri Deivayaanai and lovely Life-partner Sri Valli(our Divine Mother) protect me ably well on the Easternside; May the Vel of the Hero of Divine Wisdom guard me on the South eastern side (swayed by the God of Fire);May the powerful Vel of the sacred Hand (which destroyed its foes) of my Lord of *Kathirkamam Who never retracted in battle, protect me on the South.
*Note: Kathirkamam is the sacred place of our Lord in Ceylon which is held in high esteem by his devotees as it is eminently suited for penance to quench our thirst for spiritual Bliss. Our Lord is Formless in this shrine, though his lovely form and those of His consorts Sri Valli and Sri Deivayanai are to be seen painted on the screen hung up at the entrance.
The version is that a great saint known as Kalyana Munivar came from Northern India to this place and performed rigorous penance for many years to invoke the powerful Grace of our Lord which, when he had, was confined and concealed by him in a box, by his yogic power, to be taken away to his place for daily worship. While he was contriving to remove the box one day, Goddess Valli, Who played the role of his trustworthy servant-maid for some days, look away the box on her head, assisted by our Lord in His pose as the servant and Her Husband. When both of them ran towards the shrine, chased by the saint (who could not snatch away the box), they entered the temple and disappeared.
When the saint felt aggrieved and disappointed at the failure of his plan, he was consoled by our Lord and ordained to spend the rest of his life at the Feet of our Lord in Kathirkamam. The saint gladly obeyed the mandate and passed away in the sacred place where his tomb is kept enshrined. It is understood that this sacred box, which contains the Essence of Divine Grace of our Lord, is worshipped with all veneration and taken out on the back of an elephant only on festival occasions. Our Lord hath wrought several miracles in this place to bless and convince His devotees of His supreme power. Above all, this place served as the Military Base to Our Lord Who halted here for some days before he set out in his Martial Glory to fight with Surapadma in his beautiful Island Kingdom admist the seas (Veeramahendrapurem).
May the Vel of the sacred Hand of my Lord Muruga; Son-in-law of Lord Thirumal (with the conch in His hand) Who danced on the back of the big black body of Rakshasa Serpent known as Kalingan when its strength was crushed and its body trembled, twisted and curved like the Tamil letter "su" "LA" protect me (in my devotional pose) on the South western side; and may the dazzling, radiating (Kathir) Vel of Kuga (the dweller of the cave of our hearts) protect me on the North western side.
May the sacred Vel of the beloved Son of Lord Easwara guard me on the Northern side; May the Vel of my celestial Guru Who taught the Vedas protect me on the Northern side, pertaining to Lord Easwara Who rides on the bullock (representing the four footed Dharma Devatha); May the Almighty Vel of my Lord, Which pierced right through the krownji mountain, protect me when I walk, sit, speak, get up, lie down or sleep tie. in all poses and at all times during day and night.
May the Vel in the Hand of my Lord *Muthayyan, which confers on me the life of Eternal Bliss, protect me graciously when I take my delicious food, when I participate in tiresome physical exercises ( such as wrestling, fencing, etc.), when I control and concentrate my mind to worship the lotus feet of my Lord which are praised by the ancient Devas; May the Peacock of my Lord likewise protect me well.
*Note: Muthayyan means One who confers Mature Divine (wisdom and Liberates) us from the bondage or earthly ties.
May my ever-flourishing Lord Arumuga graciously appear before my humble-self and protect me in my boyhood, prime of youth and advancing old-age (when I will be affected with grey hairs, shrivelled limbs, disease and infirmity); May my Lord (Om) Sivaswami (Who is the basic Pranava Manthra) protect me in the early Morn (i.e. before sun-rise); My Lord Sivagurunathan (the Preceptor of Lord Siva) protect me during (the bright)Noon and Afternoon.
May the Lord of the lovely feathered Cock and the plumed Peacock protect me in the prior part of the night; May my Lord, the Foe of the Egoistic Surapadma, protect me in the latter part of the night; May my Lord (Muruga) Whose Lotus Feet are adorned with anklets, and garlands of honeyful fragnant flowers, protect me at midnight; May my youthful Lord Kumara adored by the Vedas protect me (without any break or Slackness) for ever!
My my Lord, the *Setty, who is eminent and capable of acquainting me with and admitting me as a member of the Coterie of His devotees protect me; May my Lord Saravanabhavanar protect me both when I am alone and in the company of others; May the God and Guru of saint Arunagirinathar who composed and sang the immortal and intensely devotional Kandar Anubhoothi songs (with divine wisdom) guard me for ever; May my Lord (Shunmuga) protect me (Kumaragurudasan) who has composed these precious verses (of powerful effect) to be chanted with the fullness of heart, zeal and devotion!
*Note: The word *Setty means an adept who does his work to perfection. It also means, in common parlance, a merchant. Our Lord Muruga also plays the role of a merchnt because he exchanges (out of compassion for us) His precious goods of divine knowledge (for our self-effacement and salvation) to our worthless goods of the Ego. Ignorance and Illusion of this mundane world.