Vaikasi Visakam, which usually occurs in May, is said to be the birth day of Lord Murugan. He was born to redeem creations from all evils. This festival, celebrated in South India, has a very deep meaning.
Vaikasi Visakam is the birthday of Lord Murugan, the son of Lord Siva. The divine birth of Lord Murugan, also known as Shanmuga, Subramania, Skanda (or Kanda in Tamil), Kumara, Saravana and Karthikeya, to free the Devas (gods) from their sufferings is believed to have occurred on the star day of Vaikasi Visakam. Visakam is one of the twenty seven stars or Nakshatras thatform a monthly cycle.
Vaikasi Visakam Festival
Every year the star day of Visakam that falls in the month of Vaikasi, the second month of the Tamil Calendar, is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Murugan. It is the festival of offerings and self purification by visiting the temples of Lord Murugan. This festival is celebrated with great veneration in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu. They have special offerings and rituals in all the temples of Lord Murugan.
Lord Murugan: The Incarnation For Redemption
The two Asura (devil or demon) brothers Soora Padman and Tharakasura were terrorizing the Devas. Unable to bear their torture anymore, the Devas requested Lord Siva to save them from the Asura brothers. At their request, Lord Siva opened his Third Eye, the eye seen on his forehead, which he opened very rarely only to save his creations from any evil attack. The third eye emitted six sparks which were carried by the gods Agni, Vayu and the other Devas to the divine river Ganges and Ganges in turn carried them to Saravana Poigai, a stream where it is believed that the six fire sparks took the shape of six male babies, cradled by lotus flowers that floated in the stream.
Six young girls, who saw the babies floating in the river, took them and reared them till Goddess Parvathi (the other part or the wife of Lord Siva) came there and fondly hugged the six babies to her bosom. The six babies who were fondled in her bosom coalesced to form into a single child with six faces and twelve hands. And thisis how Lord Shanmuga (Shan+Mugam, which literally means “six faces”) was born without the sexual involvement of any female ovum for conception in order to save the Devas. When the appropriate time came, Skanda got himself ready to fight the Asura Soora Padman and his clan, equipped with arms in all the twelve hands. Above all, Goddess Parvathi gave him the Sakthi Vel (the Spear of Power) with which Lord Murugan fought the Asuras. At last, when Soora Padman’s wife requested the Lord to spare her husband, Murugan honored her request by allowing the Asura to remain as his own flag symbol. We can see his flag symbol cock (seval kodi- the flag with a cock emblem) and his vehicle – peacock (Mayilvahanam).
Lord Murugan: The God of Punishment and Mercy
Murugan is considered to be a god who punishes with mercy. He is the only god who is both angry and kind. We sometimes threaten the children to punish them but at the same time we are kind to hem. In the same way, it is said that, he treats the humans who realize their mistakes and correct themselves. He did not give any severe punishment even to the Asura who threatened to annihilate all the creations. Rather he transformed the Asura into two parts one as a cock and the other as a peacock and brought both of them under his control as his flag and vehicle, respectively.
Vaikasi Visakam for Self Purification
The festival of Vaikasi Visakam is celebrated to make it an occasion for self analyzing and purification. To err is human as man is weak and commits mistakes. But to realize ones mistakes and live a rectified life is the divine part. Lord Murugan was born on Vaikasi Visakam to redeem humans from all their evils. The day should make us free from the bondages of our sins and lead us to a peaceful life!