Pazhani article courtesy of Mr. Suresh
Most prominent among the six padai veedu temples (the Third among the Six), Pazhani (or Palani) is the most sacred Muruga temple and one of the most famous temples in India. Millions of devotees come here with kavadi in their hands, seeking the blessings of Muruga.
The story of the ‘Fruit of Knowledge’
Long ago, Shiva and His divine consort Parvati were living in the Kailas (Himalayas). Their children Ganapati and Subrahmanya were mere kids then. One day, the celestial sage Narada came to visit them. He presented Shiva a mango. The divine parents, like their human counterparts, were eager to give the fruit to their children; but here was a catch: there was only one fruit and two children. The fruit was no ordinary fruit: It was the very fruit of knowledge (Jnana Pazham), which could not be cut and should be given wholly. Who should be given the fruit? - Ganapati or Subrahmanya? The parents were puzzled. They thought over the matter and devised a way to settle the issue: They told the children: “Whoever of you circumnavigates the world and returns first will get the fruit.”
Hearing this, Subrahmanya immediately mounted on his vehicle (vahana) peacock and set out around the world. The elder of the two Ganesh was too heavy for such a feat. So he thought for a moment. He remembered that his own parents represented the entire universe and circling round them would be equal to going round the world. Without losing time, the young god did it. Shiva was pleased with the child’s devotion to his parents and gave the fruit to Ganesh.
Muruga - The Fruit of Knowledge
When the illustrious Subrahmanya returned after his strenuous voyage around the world, he found that the coveted fruit had already been given to his brother. The boy declared it was outright injustice and was very angry. He determined that he will not stay at Kailas, bade good bye to all and started Southwards. When he reached Pazhani, he liked the place very much and decided to settle there. Shiva soon followed His beloved son to Pazhani and persuaded him to change his decision and return to Kailas. He said: “What is that fruit to you when you are yourself the very Fruit of Knowledge?”. Yes, his words “Pazham Nee” (You are the fruit (of Knowledge)) gave the holy place its name. The place itself came to be known as “Pazham nee” or “Pazhani”.
It seems Subrahmanya was so infuriated of the incident that He gave up all His glories and assumed the form of a recluse (Aandi), So we meet this recluse in Pazhani temple, though we find Him in all His glories in other temples. Since He has the divine staff (dand) or Vel in His hand, He is called Dandayudhapani.
Muruga settles at Pazhani
Subrahmanya was in no mood to return to Kailas. We do not know how long He stayed there. However, the divine incident proved a blessing for the millions of Tamil and nearby Keralite devotees.
With all affection, they welcomed Him among them and permanently placed Him in their hearts. The charming young boy stole their hearts: They named Him with the sweet name Murukan. It was the beginning of a romantic and divine relationship: The young God and His loving devotees. To them, He was everything: Beauty, Youth, valour, kindness, poetry… all that is desirable. In turn, He returned their love with His infinite blessings. It was as if the Heaven itself came down on Earth. The rare flower Kurinji blossomed in the nearby Kodaikkanal mountains; Peacocks danced in joy at Pazhamuthircholai; The sea at Tiruchendur sang His glories when her waves dashed against the shores; the very air of Swamimalai echoed the holy mantra “Aum”. To the millions of devotees who thronged at Pazhani, Muruga was really the Fruit of Knowledge which satisfied their hunger of Bhakti.
They made temples for Him in thousands. Most temples for Him were constructed on hilltops. There is a popular phrase in Tamil: “Kunru thorum Kumaran”. Sage Nakkeerar sang His glories; Arunagirinathar sang His praises.
Pazhani - is one of the six padai veedu shrines of Murugan. Pazhani (Palani) is about 3 hours drive from Coimbatore / Madurai / Tiruchy. The rail between Coimbatore and Dindigul passes through Pazhani and it has a railway station. The hill is about 450 m high. The main shrine was constructed by Cheraman Perumal of Kerala. The idol of Muruga was installed by Sri Bhoga Siddhar, who lived about 3000 BC. The Siddhar made the idol with nine poisonous minerals or Navapaashaanam. The Moorthy at the temple Tiru Aavinankudy at the foot of the hill is known as that of “Kuzhandhai Velayudhar” (The child Muruga) seated on a peacock.