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Significance of Vaikasi Visakam

DateMay 3, 2024

Vaikasi Visakam is a Hindu festival celebrating Lord Muruga’s birth anniversary, the son of the deities Shiva and Parvati. It falls in the month of Vaikasi (May-June), on the day of Visaka Nakshatra. This usually coincides with a full moon and is also called Vaishaka Pournami. The festival is very important for Shaivites in Tamilnadu.

Muruga is the god of courage, wealth, and wisdom. Muruga took birth from Shiva’s mind, not from physical union with Parvati. He awakens our spiritual impulses and propels our souls forward so that we can gain material and spiritual progress. He is the god of will and divine love. He helps us walk on the righteous path with willpower and strength. Muruga holds and controls our Kundalini force and drives it upwards. He gives us courage and removes our fears. The Vel or spear that he carries represents his power to eliminate the forces of darkness and ignorance. His blessings can bring healing, both physical and mental, and the resilience and strength to overcome problems. He loves bamboo forests and hilltops. His mount is the beautiful peacock.

Significance of Vaikasi Visakam

The 6 faces of Muruga stand for creation, preservation, annihilation, involution, grace, and knowledge. He is the god of all knowledge and taught Shiva, his father, the meaning of the Pranava Mantra, Om.

People worship Muruga to pacify the planet Mars/Kuja and reduce its malefic effects, as manifested in Kuja Dosha.

Significance of Vaikasi Visakam

Shaivaites and Vaishnavites, as well as Buddhists, celebrate this festival. When Shukla Chathurdasi coincides with Vaikasi Visakam, Hindus celebrate it as the day Lord Narasimha, an avatar of Vishnu, appeared on earth. Nammazhwar, one of the twelve Azhwars (Vaishnavite saint poets), was also born on the day of Vaikasi Visakam. Hence, the day is also called Nammazhwar Jayanthi. Guru Purnima also falls on the full moon day or Vaishaka Pournami. It marks the birth of Buddha.

Visakam is Muruga’s birthstar; hence, he is also called Visakan. Visaka constellation comprises three small stars, and one can see them in the sky forming a torana (entrance)–like pattern.

Legend behind Vaikasi Visakam

A powerful demon called Surapadman and his brothers were creating a lot of problems for the gods. The gods approached Vishnu, who told them that the demons could be killed only by a son of Shiva, as they had a boon to that effect. But Shiva had been meditating for many years after the death of his wife, Sati. The only solution was to disturb his meditation and make him fall in love. The gods asked Kamadev to disturb Shiva and make him fall in love with Parvati, the daughter of Himavat, the king of the mountains. She was none other than the incarnation of Sati, and she wanted to marry him. Kama agreed and sent a flower-tipped arrow toward Shiva. It struck Shiva, and, annoyed, he opened his 3rd eye and burned Kama to ashes.

However, the gods calmed him by telling him that Kama was only doing their bidding. On hearing about Surapadma and his boon, Shiva agreed to help the gods defeat him. He opened his 3rd eye, and 6 sparks of fire came out of it.

Agni and Vayu carried them to the Ganges river, which deposited them on Saravana Poigai. The sparks turned into 6 male babies who were cared for by the 6 Karthigai maidens (Pleiades). Parvati embraced the babies, and they became one, but with 6 heads. He came to be called Muruga or Arumugha (one with 6 faces). Muruga also has other names like Skanda, Kartikeya, Kumara, Shanmugha, Subramanya, Velan, etc.

This event supposedly happened on the day of Vaishaka Pournami when the presiding star was Visaka. It came to be celebrated as Vaikasi Visakam.

As commander of the Devas, Muruga led the gods into battle against the Asuras or demons and achieved victory over them. Surapadma and his brothers were killed, and their army was routed. Pleased at having the rulership of heaven restored to him, Lord Indra gave his daughter’s (Deivanai) hand in marriage to Muruga.

Vaikasi Visakham Rituals

On this day, devotees carry Pal Kudam (milk pots) or Pal Kavadi to Muruga temples, where they perform milk Abishekam to him. Many devotees also observe a full or partial fast on this day, eating one meal a day or consuming only fruits and milk. Some walk barefoot from their home to the Muruga temple, which may be far away, carrying Pal Kudams and Kavadis to show their devotion to the god on this day.

Murugan temples also conduct the wedding ceremony of Muruga and Valli, a tribal girl, on this day. Being a part of this ceremony is believed to remove marital problems. Special Poojas, Abishekams, Japas, Homas, and Aarti are performed as well. Muruga’s idol is adorned with beautiful garlands and flowers. Many temples celebrate a 10-day Brahmotsavam as well on this occasion. People also perform Poojas at home. They offer 6 Nagalinga and crimson oleander flowers to the deity. Some also offer coral gemstones. The main food offering is Pongal.

The Arupadai temples in Tamil Nadu (that are dedicated to Muruga), especially the Subramanyaswamy temple in Thiruchendur, the Palani temple, and the Tirupparankundram temple, see huge crowds of devotees on this day. This festival is celebrated grandly by the people of Tamil Nadu and Tamilians living in other states of India and countries like Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, etc., as Murugan is the patron god of Tamil Nadu.

Benefits of Observing Vaikasi Visakam

  • It can remove all impediments.
  • It can protect one from enemies and negativity.
  • It can bestow a good job.
  • It can boost knowledge.
  • It can bring wealth.
  • It can remove negative karma from past life.
  • It bestows progeny and removes delays in marriage.

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