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In my eyes

Changing faces of Lord Murugan

posted Aug 2, 2012, 3:49 AM by Aadhavan Kumaran   [ updated Aug 2, 2012, 4:33 AM ]

Our home had a temple for Lord Murugan inside.  I grew up hearing his name many times a day.  On occations, I see worshippers (often relatives) who dance on thorny shoes.  The dance is called veriyaattam.  They also perform kuravaiyaatam.  The traces of it can be date back to sangam times.  Calendar we buy and pictures we have at home often portrays a contradictory figure - a child form of the deity - that doesn't fit with the dance.

Ancient Tamil literature Tholkappiyam refers to the diety as Cheyon - the red colored or fierce warrior.   It describes warriors dancing veriyaattam after a successful war.  Kuravai - mother of Cheyon - is represented as a goddess of victory.  There are only few references of it.  Iravatham Mahadaven - an archeologist who decyphered ancient tamil scripts - gives an explanation for Murugan as Murukku+an - fierce or ruthless warrior.  He also mentions the term has recently morphed to fit the current form - a child - and some refer to it as murugu - beauty.

Recently I came across some interesting names, when I read about some Indian history.  Kumara Gupta Maurya, and his successor Skanda Gupta Maurya, who printed coins of Lord Karthikeya.  The coin interestingly has a child diety who sits on Peacock.  The word kumar in sanskrit means ilavan in Tamil.  These borrowed words are now in use in Tamil.  There is no mention of name Murugan or Cheyon in Maurya literature.  According to their legend, Karthikeya is born from Lord Shiva.

A wave of regious mission swept through India few milleniums before.  It started with Jainism around 5AD, then Buddism and then Shaivam and Vainavam.  Shivaties adopted local languages and integrated dieties, while vanavites called local dieties as avathars.  The omission of Kuravai and inclusion of Shiva, transforming Cheyon - a fierce warrior - to Skanda - a child,  including wifes of both dieties Valli of Murugan and Deivaanai or Skandan - shows the struggle Shivaites went through to integrate the faith.


posted Sep 29, 2010, 6:46 PM by Aadhavan Kumaran

It is survival of the fittest, that shaped evolution, according to Darwin.   This has been ingrained into many of us from our school days.  But new studies are suggesting that the availability of living space could have greater influence.  When birds reached the sky, this new space gave evolution a leap.  When Dinosaurs died out, the new space gave mammals a chance to flourish.  It is an interesting outlook.

The same ideas of competition and space influence our decision in different walks of life.  Some believe a highly competitive school produces smart kids.  Keeping one fully engaged, makes them smarter.  While some see having space gives room for new ideas and help them think out of the box.  Many learning techniques, suggest spaced and comfortable learning, helps learn faster and with confidence.

Looks like for our thinking to evolve on this subject we need space 

Population menace

posted Sep 29, 2010, 6:45 PM by Aadhavan Kumaran   [ updated Feb 18, 2011, 7:11 PM ]

We have a number of justifications for having more kids.  "If single, the kid gets lonely", said a friend.  Economists want  more workforce to improve the country's economy.  Faith systems ask us to be fruitful and multiply.  In some countries, political and religious authorities gain power by having more of the kind.  There were good reasons in the past for these justifications.  But inevitably the world is changing.

Today the population has steeply increased and shows no sign of slowing down. The effects of it are already felt in many countries, like reduction in forests, excessive logging, mushrooming housing into areas once known as wild, drying up of rivers, excessive fishing, housing in catchment areas, vanishing life-forms and more.  With ever dwindling resources and unsustainable population growth, the future we leave to our loving kids becomes questionable.


posted Sep 29, 2010, 6:45 PM by Aadhavan Kumaran

As simple as it seem, it is hard to keep the mind still or be free – to be and let be.

Is it right or is it not?

posted Sep 29, 2010, 6:44 PM by Aadhavan Kumaran   [ updated Feb 18, 2011, 7:22 PM ]

"எவ்வது உறைவது உலகம், உலகத்தொடு
அவ்வது உறைவது அறிவு"

Chief Seattle of Native American tribe, in a reply to George Washington's offer to buy the land said, "How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land?  The idea is strange to us...".  The values as we know, the rights and the nots, are from what we see, hear and learn.  These are not absolute and changes with time.

Harms division can bring

History is our best guide as it has seen many such changes.  Indian subcontinent has seen many migrants adding richness to its culture.  It is said migrants to ancient India brought the caste based system to define social order and to govern their people.  As they integrated, so did their system and it eventually spread to the whole of the Indian subcontinent.  In the course of time, many have observed the ills this division brought to the society.  There were various movements to bring awareness and change.  But people still take pride in their divisions and the practice is passed between generations.  It seems, as long the values are accepted by the society, the change becomes difficult.

Some of conflicts we see in the world or even in our day to day life, can be attributed to the stand we take towards our values.  The rights and the nots are subjective.  A free inquiring mind can help us find our choice.

Skewed Truth

posted Sep 29, 2010, 6:37 PM by Aadhavan Kumaran   [ updated Feb 18, 2011, 7:46 PM ]

“எப்பொருள் யார் யார் வாய் கேட்பினும் அப்பொருள்
மெய்ப் பொருள் காண்ப தறிவு”

The truth is the whole and it dies when skewed – selected, tailored or distorted.  Skewed truth is all around us.  We can see this in politicians wanting to spin the happenings to their advantage.. TV ads magnifying the benefits and hiding the negatives..  A strained relationship - where partners skewing the truth to their favor etc.  Skewing can also be unintentional at times.  We owe this to the way mind recollects what has happened.  The hard part is to know when the truth is skewed. The circles we form in relationships often aid in acceptance by association - making it even difficult.  So it was no surprise that at time of war, the word "Truthiness" became word of the year 2006.

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