Why Lord Murugan's Devotees Carry KAVADI ?

Discussion in 'God' started by Aum, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. Aum

    Aum New Member

    "Kavadi" appears to be a word of Tamil origin - a combination of the words 'kavi' and 'adi'. 'Kavi' means 'saffron' implying asceticism and 'adi' means 'foot' signifying pilgrimage. Taken together the significance of the word is very clear. The devotee takes a vow to live the life of an ascetic for a particular period and then, as the culmination, travels to the temple of Muruga by foot, bearing that symbol of purity - the "Kavadi".

    Offering Kavadi to Lord Muruga is of great significance as it brings peace and good luck. The story of taking Kavadi is associated with Lord Murugan testing Idumban of his determination and duty towards his Guru. The Kavadi that each devotee carries symbolizes his/her burden like the two hills carried by Idumban.

    Idumban's divine help came in the form of Brahma's 'danda' poised over the two hillocks, while the celestial snakes fastened themselves to the rod like ropes. Idumban slung the hillocks over his shoulders and proceeded southward. Near Palani in South India [where a famous shrine of Muruga exists], Idumban kept his burden down to rest awhile. When he attempted to lift the hillocks again to continue with his journey, he found that the hillocks were rooted to the spot!

    Idumban spotted a youth with a stick wearing only a loin cloth round his waist. On being approached for help for lifting the hillocks, the youth nonchalantly replied that the hillocks belonged to him! In the scuffle that ensued between the angry Idumban and the scantily clad youth, Idumban was defeated. Only then did Idumban realize that the youth was none other than Muruga or "Subrahmanya" Himself - the ruling deity of the region. Idumban craved the pardon of the divine youth and also sought the boon that anyone who comes to the hills to worship Muruga with an object similar to the two hillocks suspended by a rod, may be granted his heart's desire. Idumban's wish was granted.

    The usual Kavadi is a small wooden structure with an arch covered with a piece of cloth and is held on shoulders. The two sides of the Kavadi are covered with feathers of peacock – the vehicle of Lord Muruga. The sides also contain two bags to carry offerings to the Lord. Some devotees beg at houses to collect the offerings to the Lord. But today most people fill the bags on their own.

    The person who takes the Kavadi should observe certain austerities. The austerities start with food. Most Kavadi bearers avoid non-vegetarian food, liquor and other intoxicating objects. Orange and yellow are the preferred dress color. These colors are associated with Lord Muruga. The person on the day of journey holds a cane in his hand.

    Some Kavadi bearers insert ‘vel’ (small lances) and hooks on the body. People do such austerity to please Lord Muruga.

    Today, artistic talent comes to the fore when it comes displaying Kavadis and the shape and structure of Kavadis have undergone sea change. Different types of Kavadi are offered by devotees at the Batu Cave Temple in Malaysia. And some of latest Kavadis are mindboggling.

    In spite of all these changes, even today one finds people taking the simple traditional Kavadi and begging in South India to go to Palani Temple in Tamil Nadu.

    The thol kavadi usually consists of two semicircular pieces of wood or steel which are bent and attached to a cross structure that can be balanced on the shoulders of the devotee. It is often decorated with flowers, peacock(the vehicle of God Murugan) feathers among other things.

    Carrying a brass pot of milk on their heads as offerings for their deity.

    The most spectacular practice is the Mayil/Shadal kavadi, essentially a portable altar up to two meters tall, decorated with peacock feathers or sometimes coloured and carved polystyrene and attached to the devotee through 108 vels/spears pierced into the skin on the chest and back.

    Mortification of the flesh by piercing the tongue or cheeks with vel/spear is also common. The vel/spear pierced through his tongue or cheeks reminds him constantly of Lord Murugan. It also prevents him from speaking and gives great power of endurance.

    This type of kavadi involve hooks pierced into the back and either pulled by another walking behind or being hung from a decorated chariot.

    Small hooks pierced to the skin where pots of milk/vibuthi/sandhanam/kumkum are tied to it as an offering to their deity, some may also tie fruits to the hooks.

    Vel Vel Vetri Muruga....

    Via : Arun Dorasamy

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