Skanda Purana

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Tue Jan 20 18:01:00 CST 1998

On Tue, 20 Jan 1998, Chandran, Nanda (NBC) wrote:

> Does the Skanda in Skanda Purana refer to Lord Muruga, the son of Shiva and
> Parvathi, who is worshipped in Tamil Nadu? I remember some time back Vidya
> made a statement that Muruga or Skanda is worshipped only in Tamil Nadu and

That should be "predominantly in Tamil Nadu" not "only in Tamil Nadu". And
there is sufficient evidence in the Puranas that Skanda was worshipped in
north India too, especially by armies before a war. Skanda is the
commander-in-chief of the army of the gods (deva-senA-pati). deva-senA
gets personified as a daughter of Indra and wife of Skanda. One of the
Gupta kings was named Skandagupta and another was named Kumaragupta. And
Kalidasa wrote a great poem titled kumArasambhava, which celebrates the
birth of Skanda to Siva and Uma. None of these people were south Indians,
let alone Tamizh.

> not elsewhere. Is this true? If this is true, how come Skanda Purana is in
> Sanskrit and not Tamizh? Or is it Skanda's following has declined in the
> North of Bharat over a period of time?

Yes. Nowadays, it is only in Tamil Nadu that Skanda/Muruga commands a
fierce devotion that can equal or rival the devotion shown to Siva or
Vishnu. It is rare to find such a devotion to this god even in Kerala and

The only moderately old (more than 500 years old) Purana that is in Tamizh
is the Periya Puranam, but then this is not one of the Puranas
traditionally attributed to Vyasa. Its author is Cekkhizhar, and it is
concerned mainly with the lives of 63 Saiva nAyamnArs, all of whom were of
Tamizh origin. Interestingly, the vIraSaivas, who originated in northern
Karnataka, count these 63 nAyanmArs as saints of their own tradition.
As you can see, Indian history is extremely complicated.


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