Vaikasi Visakam is a very special day for Hindus, especially devotees of Lord Muruga. It was on this day that Muruga, the son of Parvati and Shiva, was born. He is also called Kartikeya or Shanmugham. It is celebrated on the day of Visakham Nakshatra, which also coincides with the full moon. Vaikasi Visakam 2021 is on May 25, as per the Gregorian calendar.
Legend of Muruga’s birth:
According to legend, Murugan was born from the third eye of Lord Shiva. The flame was so intense and unbearable that even the Devas could not handle it. Hence, the fire split into six sparks and got immersed in the river Ganga. Ganga carried them to a stream known as Saravana Poigai, where the flames cooled down.
Once the flames cooled down, six nymphs who lived in the stream and went by the names of Dula, Nitatni, Abhrayanti, Varshayanti, Meghayanti, and Chipunika, found one spark each in the river. Another version says that the six maidens were actually known as Karthigai Pengal.
Their names were Siva, Sambhuti, Priti, Sannati, Anasuya, and Ksama. The six sparks turned into six male infants, and later, Goddess Parvati combined all the six babies to create one male child with six faces and twelve hands, who became Muruga.
Muruga’s six faces represent six traits. They include Tatpurusam, Aghoram, Sadyojatam, Vamadevam, Eesanam, and Adhomukam. As he has 6 faces, Lord Murugan can look in the east, west, north, south, heaven, and hell directions.
The reason for Muruga's birth:
Once there was an Asura (demon) called Tarakasura. He was very powerful and defeated the devas many times. Soon, he became arrogant and began creating havoc. He had also been given a boon by which only Shiva's son could kill him. At the time, Shiva had been living like a Vairagi after his wife Sati immolated herself by jumping into the yaga fire at her father Daksha’s yaga. Therefore, Tarakasura knew that Shiva would not marry again, so he could not have children. But Sati reincarnated as Parvati and did severe penance to woo Shiva, who was in deep meditation. She also succeeded in her mission, and they got married. It was after this that Muruga was born with the purpose of putting an end to the reign of Tarakasura.
Apart from Tarakasura, Kartikeya also killed the demon’s brothers, Soorapadman and Simhamuhan. The Devas were immensely relieved by the death of the 3 demons who had tormented them.
Muruga is an important deity for Tamil people as he is the patron deity of Tamils. Therefore, his birthday is celebrated with great enthusiasm. It is a very auspicious day because it was on this day that Muruga freed the Devas from the tyranny of the demons, thereby enabling the triumph of good over evil.
Murugan had the divine Vel, a weapon that his mother, Goddess Parvati, gave him for fighting the demons and vanquishing them. Later, as per the request of Soorapadman’s wife, Muruga released her husband. He also turned the demons into his flag (with a cock emblem) and vehicle, the peacock. The battle between Muruga and the demons was in Thiruchendur. During the battle, Tarakasura was killed in Tirupporur, close to Chennai. To celebrate the victory, Lord Indra fixed the marriage of his daughter Deivanai with Murugan.
Vaikasi Visakam is celebrated in a grand manner in Tamil Nadu and by the Tamil diaspora in various countries. Devotees go in procession to Muruga temples, and many carry milk pots. The milk is later used for 'abishekam' at the temples. Some also observe vrat or fast, taking only milk or fruits. They chant Mantras and sing hymns in praise of Muruga. Prasad is also distributed to the devotees once the rituals get over.
Benefits of Observing Vaikasi Visakam:
- Protects against evil forces and removes obstacles.
- Creates joy and positivity.
- Restores peace and harmony in conjugal life.
- Removes confusion from the mind.
- Gives a sense of direction.