Sri Subramanya (Sri Murugan)

Sri Murugan - Affectionately called Kudumba Kadavul (Family god) by Tamil Hindus
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"Thuthipporku valvinaipom thunbampom
nenjil pathipporku selvam palithuk kathithongum
nishtaiyum kaikoodum nimalar arul
kanthar sashti kavacham thanai"

"All Sufferings will be removed, wealth will increase, and all prayers will bear fruit for those who keep Murugan in mind and recite the Shasti kavacham."

Sri Murugan is a popular Hindu deity amongst  Tamil Hindus.  He is known by many other names, including Kārttikeya, Subrahmanya,  Arumugan or Shanmukha (one with six faces), Kumāra, Skanda, Vēlan, Saravanabhava and Swaminathan.  

Sri Murugan’s Origin: According to  Skanda Purana, Sati, the consort of Shiva immolated herself at the Daksha Yagna, which was later destroyed by Shiva. Sati was reborn as Uma, or Parvati. Shiva withdrew himself from the universe and engaged himself in yogic meditation in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, the demon Surapadman ravaged the earth and tormented all beings. It was realized by the Gods that only the son born of Shiva could lead the gods to victory over Tarakasuran, Surapadman and their demon companions. They plotted with Kamadeva, to shoot a flower arrow at Shiva, as he sat in meditation, so as to make him fall in love with Parvati. When Kamadeva aimed his arrow, Shiva opened his third eye and burned Kama to ashes instantly.  The sparks of the fiery seed of Shiva were unbearable, and were  transported by the river Ganga through the Saravana forest into a pond called the Saravana Poigai (located at the mouths of river Ganga), where the sparks became six children. They were raised by the six Krittika or Kartika girls - the stars that make up the Pleiades, earning the name Karthikeya. Parvati combined these six babies into one with six faces (hence the names Arumugham or Shanmukha). 

Murugan became the supreme general and led the army of the devas to victory against the demons. In Bhagavad Gita (Ch.10, Verse 24), Krishna says: "Among generals, I am Skanda, the lord of war."  The six sites at which Karthikeya rested while leading his armies against Surapadman are Tiruttanikai, Swamimalai, Tiruvavinankudi (Palani), Pazhamudirsolai, Tirupparamkunram and Tiruchendur- all located in Tamil Nadu with famous temples.. The lance called Vel in Tamil is a weapon given to him by his mother Parvathi embodying her energy and power. In the war, using the Vel, deman Surapadman was split into two, and each half was granted a boon by Murugan. The halves, thus turned into the peacock (his mount) and the rooster (the flag of his army).

Murugan is married to two deities, Valli, a daughter of a tribal chief, and Devasena, daughter of Indra.  However, Murugan also is worshipped as ‘Bala Murugan’. Besides Tamil Nadu, Sri Murugan is worshipped in Kerala and Karnataka as well. Sri Murugan is also revered in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore. Sri Murugan worship is also very common in North America, Europe and Australia.

Festivals: Sri Murugan is revered through out the year. Thaipusam celebrated in the month of Thai (Mid January to Mid February) commemorating  the day HE was given the Vel or lance by Parvati to vanquish the demons. The Panguni Uthiram (Kavadi) festival is celebrated to commommorate Muruga’s wedding in the month of Panguni (Mid March to Mid April) when the star Uthiram and Pournami (full moon) occur together.   Vaikasi Visakam or the full moon of the month of Vaikasi (Mid May to Mid June) signifies Muruga’s birth.  Skanda Shashti is a six day period of penance and prayer in the Tamil month of Aippasi (Mid October to Mid November) known as the commemorating the destruction of evil by Sri Murugan. 

At Sri Ganesha Temple, Sri Murugan is also worshipped every month on Shukla Shashti (sixth night of the waxing moon) as well as on the star Krithika. Worship includes the recitation of Kandar Shashti Kavacham, which is believed to remove all evils and miseries and bestow happiness to all devotees.