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The Six Battle Camps of Lord Muruga's Army (Aaru Padai Veedu)

On May 27, 2009

1. Tiruthani Tiruthanikai ranks prominent as the crown jewel of Lord Muruga. As its very name indicates, when we propitiate our Lord in this holy shrine, He blesses us with mental peace and bodily happiness. His righteous indignation towards the asuras for their cruelty is said to have been quelled and cooled at this place, which is, therefore, known as Shantipuri (Abode of Peace). As the prayers and desires of the devotees who worship our Lord Thanikeshan on this hill with unswerving faith and intense devotion are fulfilled in no time, this hill is also called Thanikachalam.In Treta Yuga, Lord Rama, after putting an end to Ravana, worshipped Lord Siva at Rameshwaram, at whose request Rama came to Tiruthani and found perfect peace of mind by worshipping our Lord Subrahmanya here. In Dwapara Yuga, Arjuna got the blessings of our Lord here by offering prayers to Him on his way to the South for Teertha Yatra (pilgrimage to take sacred immersion). Lord Vishnu prayed to our Lord at this place and got back His powerful Chakra (sacred wheel), Shanku (sacred conch), which were forcibly seized from Him by Tarakasura, brother of Soorapadma. Lord Brahma propitiated Muruga here at the holy spring after his imprisonment by Karthikeya for his failure to explain the Pranava ('Om' mantra) and got back his creative function of which he was deprived by Lord Muruga due to his egotistic impudence in neglecting to worship Subrahmanya on his way to Mount Kailash to worship Lord Siva.

Sage Agasthya worshipped Lord Muruga at Thanikai and was blessed with the rare divine gift of the ever-sweet peerless Tamil language, the beauty of which has been extolled by all the great saints and poets of Tamil Nadu.2. Palani Legend has it that the celestial sage Narada approached the abode of Shiva, Mount Kailash with the celestial Fruit of Knowledge - Gnyana palam. While both the sons of Shiva wanted the fruit, Shiva and Parvathi decreed that the one to first complete circumambulating the universe would get the celestial fruit. While Subramanya mounted his peacock and went around the Universe, Ganesha circumambulated his parents Shiva and Parvathi on the premise that Shiva and Parvathi stood for the Universe and thus obtained the coveted celestial fruit. Angered by this denial, Subramanya left Kailash and took up his own abode at Palani and refused to return to Kailash.

It is said that Muruga stopped at many places en-route for a few moments for a quick rest as also to enjoy their natural beauty, only to find that Ganesha was already present before His arrival.

3. Swami Malai The presiding deity is known as Swaminathan. It's here that Muruga, as Lord Siva's Guru, expounded the meaning of the Pranava mantra OM to his own Father.

Sage Bhrigu, before commencing arduous tapas, got the boon that anybody disturbing his mediation will forget all his knowledge. Such was the power of the penance that the sacred fire emanating from the head of the saint reached up to the heavens, and the frightened Devas surrendered to Lord Siva praying for his grace. The Lord extinguished the sacred fire by covering the saint's head with His hand. With the saint's penance thus disturbed the Lord became oblivious of all his knowledge and is said to have regained them by learning the Pranava mantra from Lord Muruga at this shrine.

4. Tiruparamkundram The importance of this temple is that here was celebrated the marriage of Lord Subrahmanya with the daughter of Indra, Devayani. A cave temple dedicated to the element of earth and mentioned in various classical Tamil texts as the 'Southern Himalaya' where the Gods assemble, Tiruparamkundram is also mentioned in legend as 'the place where the sun and moon abide'. Muruga was married to Devayani upon the hill and for many centuries the Tamil people have considered it the most auspicious place for their own marriages, especially during the time of the Panguni-Utharam, the festival of marriage held in late March.

5. Tiruchendur This is the only temple of Lord Muruga located on the seashore. His shrines are always situated amid mountains and forests, for these regions are considered dear Him. The variance here is due to Muruga's divine mission to free the devas, and the vanquishing of evil in the form of Surapadma and his mighty hosts in VÄ«ra Mahendram, their mid-ocean fortress.

6. Pazhamudhircholai This place is full of natural beauty and sylvan surroundings. This hill is also known as Vrishabhadri or Idabagiri. Atop the hill Lord Muruga stands majestically in the temple as the Lord of the Hills. This shrine is venerated in Skanda Purana.

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