Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Muruga & Naga Worship

Muruga or Skanda is the God of war for the Hindus. He is the general of the Devas. Hence he is also known as DevaSenapathi. Muruga's mother is Durga,  the Goddess of war and also victory. The Tamils call her Kotravai. Muruga has many names. Each name has its own meaning.

One of it is Subramanya. MahaPeriyava mentioned that Subrahmanya also known as Subbarayadu in Telugu region refers to serpents or nagas. In the state of Karnataka, there is a temple called Kukke Subramanya temple. In this temple, Muruga is worshipped as the Lord of Serpents. This is something uncommon for many Hindus especially the Tamils.

Kukke Subramanya

However, even in Tamil Hindu temples, he is indirectly worshipped as the Lord of Serpents. It is just that we do not realise it.

Do you notice that there is often a separate shrine under the arasamaram (Sacred Fig) in our temples?
Do you also notice that in this shrine, the statue of Vinayagar is often paired up with a statue of naga?

There is also a ritual where devotees will go around the Vinayagar statue under this arasamaram.

It is best to first drench ourselves wet before doing that. The logic given is that the oxygen from the tree is taken in not only through breathing but absorbed by the wet skin thus cleansing ourselves. It also activates our chakras. It is some sort of therapy for the well being of the mind and body.

So the concept here is to first cleanse ourselves before continuing. The ancient wise people knew that not everyone had the capacity to understand the scientific reason behind. So they placed the statue of Vinayagar and the naga under the tree. They then tell the people that if they go around this two statues good things will happen to them. The people then just do it without understanding the actual reason behind.

One thing to realise here is that they could have used any statues and tell the people to go around the tree. But why did they put Vinayagar and that too paired up with a naga statue?

When we cleanse and energise ourselves, our chakras will be activated. Our Nadi will flow smoothly. Our nervous system will function well.

Vinayagar represents the first chakra in our body, the Mooladhara. This is why he is shown as the first God to be worshipped before any ritual. Activate the Mooladhara first before proceeding to other chakras. The naga statue which you see is actually Subramanya or Muruga.


Let's take a look at Murugan iconography. Muruga is often shown together with his two consorts, Valli and Devasena. There is another scientific reason for this.

There are many Nadi in the human body. To understand what Nadi is all about, you can do a quick Google search. Of the various Nadis, there are 3 main ones. It is known as Ida, Pingala and Sushumna.

Valli is Ida
Devasena is Pingala
Muruga is Sushumna

Both Ida and Pingala coils together with the Sushumna in the centre. When you look at it, it looks like serpents. Hence, this image of the Nadis is shown in the form of naga statues. Since the Nadis begin in Mooladhara, the statue of Vinayagar representing Mooladhara and naga representing Muruga with his consorts is kept as a pair under the tree.

So going around the arasamaram by having these two as focal point is a symbolic way of telling us that when you go around, inhale the air under the tree, you activate your Mooladhara and that is good for your Nadi and nervous system!

This is why Muruga or Subramanya is worshipped as the Lord of Serpents.

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