Tamil Hindu Encyclopaedia – 41; வேலன் வெறியாடல் Skanda in Sangam Tamil Books (Post No.11,578)


Post No. 11,578

Date uploaded in London – 23 December 2022                  

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This is the Fourth and Last part on Muruga/Skanda/Kartikeya/Subrahmanya

Let us continue with Skanda/Muruga

Muruga alias Skanda carried three different weapons in his 12 handed form. They  are  Ankusam (Thotti), Ai iru vattam (Parisai) and Eghu (Vel) according to Murugu110-111. But when he is shown with two hands Vel/ spear is the only weapon he holds. So, he is known as Velan (one who has Vel)

Vel / spear is mentioned in Kurinj-51-52; Sirupan.172; Murugu.45-46; Pari.5-7; 21-8; 21-66

வேலன்Velan  , வேல் Vel , பரிசை Parisai, ஐ இரு வட்டம் Ai iru vattam,

எஃகு Ehhu

வேல்வல்லான் Vel Vallaan – Kali.104-14

வல்வேல் கந்தன்-  Val Vel Kanthan in Puramபுறம் 380-12


பரிபாடல் 5

Pari. verse 5 described all the things he was holding in his 12 hands.



When Indra requested him,  he became the Commander in Chief of the Divine Army (Murugu.260;  Pari.5-63/70

வெற்றி வெல் போர்க் கொற்றவை சிறுவ!   

இழை அணி சிறப்பின் பழையோள் குழவி!   

வானோர்வணங்கு வில்தானைத் தலைவ!  260 (Murugu 260)

போர் மிகு பொருந! குரிசில்!’ எனப் பல,

யான் அறி அளவையின், ஏத்தி, ஆனாது 276-77 திருமுருகாற்றுப்படை


Murugan destroyed the enemies of Devas (Kurun.1-2; Murugu 59-60; Pari.5-7

Among the demons he destroyed Surapadman was the prominent one. He came in the shape of Mango Tree and entered sea. Murugan fought with him and killed him. This is enacted even today during Annual Kantha Shasti in Tiruchendur in Tamil Nādu which attracts lakhs of devotees.

This is described in Pari 5-1/7


பாய் இரும் பனிக் கடல் பார் துகள் படப் புக்கு,

சேய் உயர் பிணிமுகம் ஊர்ந்து, அமர் உழக்கி,

தீ அழல் துவைப்பத் திரிய விட்டெறிந்து,

நோயுடை நுடங்கு சூர் மா முதல் தடிந்து,

வென்றியின் மக்களுள் ஒருமையொடு பெயரிய 5

கொன்று உணல் அஞ்சாக் கொடு வினைக் கொல் தகை

மாய அவுணர் மருங்கு அறத் தபுத்த வேல், –பரிபாடல் 5-1/7 

This Sura Padman episode is mentioned also in Puram 23-3/7;Pathit.11-56, Perum456-460; and more than ten places in Paripatal and Kalittokai. 

My Comments

Tamil Chieftains had Trees as Totem Symbols. Sura Padman had Mango Tree as his totem symbol and he had it in an island in Indian ocean. When the Chieftain is killed the tree is also destroyed.

This story is not found in ancient works like Kumarasambhava of Kalidasa


 Krauncha Bedanaar 

Karuncha/Crane Pass in the Himalayas is known as Niti Pass now. The migratory birds come to India from Central Asia through this pass and Kalidasa mentioned it in his  Megadutam .

Muruga / skanda is said to have created the Pass when the mountains were flying. Hindus have watched the Migratory birds coming through this pass.

It is mentioned in Murugu.266; Pari.8-29; 19-26, 102.

Pari.5-8 mentioned the location of Krauncha  Pass. 

Krauncha – Water birds such as cranes, storks, goose, herons 

நாவல்அம் தண் பொழில் (Jambudwipa) வட பொழில் ஆயிடை,

குருகொடு பெயர் பெற்ற மால் வரை (Krauncha Hill) உடைத்து,

மலை ஆற்றுப் படுத்த மூ இரு கயந்தலை!   10

‘மூ இரு கயந்தலை, முந் நான்கு முழவுத் தோள்,

ஞாயிற்று ஏர் நிறத் தகை! நளினத்துப் பிறவியை!

காஅய் கடவுட் சேஎய்! செவ்வேள்!

சால்வ! தலைவ!’ எனப் பேஎ விழவினுள்,

வேலன் ஏத்தும் வெறியும் உளவே:            


வெறியாடல் Veriaadal — VERI Dance

Tamil women in Ancient Tamil Nadu thought that Love sick women were possessed by Murugan spirit and they invited Velan Priest to drive away the spirit that caused the sickness. This is called Veriaadal. But Sangam poets mock at this ceremony in many places. It is not Velan that caused the sickness but the lover she met,  they say.

In North India also women are not allowed inside the shrine of Muruga/ Skanda. Kalidasa also sang about it.

Veriaadal is a special rite associated with Muruga Worship

P T Srinivasa Iyengar describes it in his book History of the Tamils (Year 1930)

“The god of the hilly region was the Red God-  Seyon- also called Murugan, who was the patron of pre-nuptial love. He was offered by his worshippers balls of rice mixed with the red blood of goats killed in his behalf. He was the hunter who carried Vel or spear and hence called Velan- Spearman. His priest was also called Velan. This god created the love frenzy in girls. And when girls were obsessed by him, the priest performed magic rites for curing the lovesick girl. When the priest was in communion with the god, he was also seized with the divine frenzy and sang and danced a devil dance (Veriyaattam. Women too took part in the priestly functions. Men or women priests when under the influence of god, not only sang and danced, but also read the dim past and predicted the future, diagnosed the diseases (and the particular demon who caused the disease) and cured all the ills that the flesh and the brain were heir to. The means of cure were not solely supernatural for the hilly region abounded in simples, the magic of the priests and priestesses was fortified by the use of drugs. Hence the early priest was also a medicine man.


Veriadal is described in the following places in Sangam literature

Murugu 190-193

The place where the Velan priest danced is known as Veriyayar field

வெறியயர் களம் Murugu.222, Kurun.53-3, Akam.98-18 and verse 114

The open courtyard inside the house was decorated for the Veri dance. They spread river sand in the courtyard. Velan danced in the night. Akam.138-10; Natr.268-8. A rooster flag was planted there. To the accompaniment of musical instruments he sang about Lord Muruga. He invoked the god and then cut the goat tied in the nearby tree. He used to offer it with rice balls. This rite is described in 10 to 15 poems. They give us more minute details .


A few passages are  given here :

Fearsome Thunangai dance is described in Thirumurgatruppatai


சூர்முதல் தடிந்த சுடரிலை நெடுவேல் –46

உ லறிய கதுப்பிற் பிறழ்பற் பேழ்வாய்ச்

சுழல்விழிப் பசுங்கட் சூர்த்த நோக்கிற்

கழல்கட் கூகையோடு கடும்பாம்பு தூங்கப்

பெருமுலை அலைக்குங் காதிற் பிணர்மோட் (50)

டுருகெழு செலவின் அஞ்சுவரு பேய்மகள்

குருதி ஆடிய கூருகிர்க் கொடுவிரற்

கண்தொட் டுண்ட கழிமுடைக் கருந்தலை

ஒண்டொடித் தடக்கையின் ஏந்தி வெருவர

வென்றடு விறற்களம் பாடித்தோள் பெயரா (55)

நிணந்தின் வாயள் துணங்கை தூங்க

The fearsome devil-woman of dry hair and uneven teeth of large wide-open mouth, greenish eyes rolling with rage and cruel look and rough and uncouth belly, struts about frighteningly; her huge cave-like-ears, wherein live owls with bulging eyes and fierce snakes, which creep over her breasts, causing them pain; her thick-set- bangled-arms holding a black skull of foul smell with sockets empty of eye-balls scooped out by the sharp nails of blood-stained fingers, and with her shoulders heaving and mouth dripping with blood, she performs the thuNangkai-dance and sings the songs of victory over enemies in fair battles, striking great terror into the demonic hearts …”


மன்றமும் பொதியிலுங் கந்துடை நிலையினும்

மாண்டலைக் கொடியொடு மண்ணி யமைவர

நெய்யோ டையவி அப்பி ஐதுரைத்துக்

குடந்தம் பட்டுக் கொழுமலர் சிதறி

முரண்கொள் உ ருவின் இரண்டுடன் உ டீஇச் (230)

செந்நூல் யாத்து வெண்பொரி சிதறி

மதவலி நிலை இய மாத்தாட் கொழுவிடைக்

குருதியொடு விரைஇய தூவெள் அரிசி

சில்பலிச் செய்து பல்பிரப் பிaIஇச்

சிறுபசு மஞ்சளொடு நறுவிரை தௌiத்துப் (235)

பெருந்தண் கணவீர நறுந்தண் மாலை

துணையுற அறுத்துத் தூங்க நாற்றி

நளிமலைச் சிலம்பின் நன்னகர் வாழ்த்தி

நறும்புகை எடுத்துக் குறிஞ்சி பாடி

இமிழிசை அருவியோ டின்னியங் கறங்க (240)

உ ருவப் பல்பூத் தூஉ ய் வெகுவரக்

குருதிச் செந்தினை பரப்பிக் குறமகள்

முருகிய நிறுத்து முரணினர் உ ட்க

முருகாற்றுப் படுத்த உ ருகொழு வியனகர்

ஆடுகளஞ் சிலம்பப் பாடிப் பலவுடன் (245)

கோடுவாய் வைத்துக் கொடுமணி இயக்கி

ஓடாப் பூட்கைப் பிணிமுகம் வாழ்த்தி

வேண்டுநர் வேண்டியாங் கெய்தினர் வழிபட

ஆண்டாண் டுறைதலும் அறிந்த வாறே

ஆண்டாண் டாயினும் ஆக காண்டக (250)

[Worship of Lord Murugan at the sanctuary on the hill] begins with the raising the flag of rooster. The kuravar-maiden smears the mixture of ghee and tiny mustard-seeds at the entrance to the sanctuary. She softly mentions the Lord’s sacred name and pays homage by reverently joining the palms of her two hands. She sprinkles the propitious and fertilizing flowers. She is clad in twin apparel of different colours, worn one upon the other. She is wearing on her wrist the protective string of red colour. She strews white pori [parched rice] on the ground. She lays down in several spots the delicious dishes of pirapparisi [பிரப்பரிசி] consisting of pure white rice, mixed with the blood of powerful ram, as a sacrificial offering. She sprinkles small pieces of young turmeric and other fragrant things in several places. Around the precincts of the sanctuary she has hung up the wreaths of red-araLi-flower, which she had sliced into uniform little pieces. People of the good villages on the thick hillsides are singing the praise of the Lord. They take hold of the incense-smoke and wave it around; they are singing the melody of the KuRinji-region. They are playing the musical instruments sweetly in harmony with the sound of the waterfall of the hills. They sprinkle a variety of pretty flowers. They have laid down millet-rice, mixed with blood as a sacrificial offering, which excites certain amount of fear among spectators. The kuRavar-maiden plays the percussion drums of thudi, thoNdagam and siRupaRai, which are adored by the Lord. The atmosphere here is one which excites awe and fear even among people of diverse disposition. This is the Lord’s sanctuary in the pretty and broad township, to which the devotee is being guided …”

“Those, who sing of Lord Murugan’s renown of at the venue of ecstatic dance, blow the horn and ring the bell, and praise the unfailing valour of the elephant/peacock, may worship the Lord for attaining whatever they desire, and the Lord will certainly be there in the sanctuaries …”

–from kaumaram.com

Since Paripatal has eight long poems and the Ten Idylls (Paththup paattu ) has one whole book Tirumurukatruppatai ,devoted to Lord Skanda/ Muruga, we get  encyclopaedic information about this God.

No one can reject this devotional part of Sangam Tamil literature as later additions because we have coins with Six Faces from second century BCE in northern most part of India. Moreover Kalidasa’s Kumarasambhavam of first century BCE or earlier also support most of the things said in Tamil literature. With a vast land mass of different climates, topography, flora and fauna there would be some differences. Those who studied the broken down Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and existing divisions in Great Britain would easily understand the minor differences.


Tags- Tamil Devil Dance, Thunangai, Veriaadal, Velan dance, Vel, Goat blood, rice balls

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