In Hinduism, the puraanas play a great
The puraanas are supposed to be a compilation or collection of stories
and histories. But that would be an understatement at its best.
are somewhat like the encyclopaedias of various branches of
knowledge. The stories are actually interwoven into the fabric of the puraana.
The puraana contained
religious knowledge, Vedic knowledge, and
science, technology of the times, war-craft, politics, history, geography,
philosophy, linguistics, ethnology, ethics, code of conduct, law, dharma,
many other things.
It would describe
the universe and its creation; the worlds within it;
the continents and countries in a particular world; the inhabitants of
the races and languages; the dynasties; the origins of those dynasties;
lineage of kings; the history of the country and its kings.
would usually contain sub stories, mini-stories, and
narrators did not understand what was exactly handed over
to them. Because they lacked the advanced technical knowledge about things
that were there, so many galaxies away, in the very distant remote past.
resultant was something that looked like a fantastic fabrication of the
imagination possible. But, there have also been advantages and uses.
Those who wrote the puraanas were called the pauraaNikas.
of the puranas are huge. Skandha puraana has more than 100,000
are 18 major and 18 minor puraanas.
from these, there are innumerable 'sthala puraana's.
Vyaasa is said to have been the for-runner of all the major and
considered to be an incarnation of Naaraayana during the Dvaapara
Once upon a time, it is
said that there were thousands of vedhas. Vyaasa is
aid to have compiled them into the 4 vedhas - Rig, Saama, Yajur and Aharvana
Then, from the immense available
sources, he compiled the 18 puraanas.
Among these, Skandha puraanam
is made up of six books called 'Samhitha's
containing 100,000 verses.
Sanathkumaara samhithai - 55000,
Suutha samhithai - 6000,
Brahma samhithai - 3000
Vishnu samhithai - 5000
Sankara samhithai - 3000
Saura samhithai - 1000
The six books are subdivided
into 50 kaandams.
Sankara Samhithai contains
a subsection called 'Siva Rahasya Kaandam' of
This is subdivided into
seven sub-kaandams called:
Murugan's story is told
in these seven sections.
I will give a short synopsis
of the Tamil KandhaPuranam and its composition
by its author, Kachchiyappa Sivachariyar.
A brief account about the Tamil Kandha Puranam......
ThoNdai nadu is one of the
twelve regions of Tamilnadu. At present,
it would be the area of land between the North Pennar and South Pennar.
It was divided into 24 kOttams.
Later on, it became the seat of the Pallava
was the capital of Thondainadu. Kanchi is one of the ancient cities in
the world. It was already ancient during Buddha's time.
A famous Sanskrit saying
'Among the Males - Vishnu,
among the flowers - Jasmine,
among the females - Rambha,
among the cities - Kanchi;
these are the most magnificient of all'.
It was a huge city which
is now reduced very much from its original size.
Even though the late twentieth century's population explosion and the residential
developement, Kanchi has expanded, it still has not attained the original
It had sectors separately
for different religious groups - Siva Kanchi, VishNu
Kanchi, Jina Kanchi, Buddha Kanchi, and other places for army groups, artisans,
workmen, business quarters, Emperor's palace and palaces of royalty and
officials and merchant princes. It was the most important and northernmost
entry into Tamilnadu. So it had to be strong. Very very strong.
It was mentioned that it
was a centre for Jainism, Buddhism, Saivism, and
VaishNavism. In addition, it was a very important centre for the Shakthas
- Shakthi worshippers. It was also a centre of the various sub-sects of
Saivism like the
Kaapaalikas, Mahavrathas, and Bairavas.
It was also a Kaumara centre.
It had a KumarakOttam.
Kanchi was a centre for
learning. Chinese Buddhist scholars came to Kanchi
as part of their study tour. Kanchi had a university run for Brahmins.
It was called
There was a Sivachariyar priest of the Kumara
kOttam called KaLaththiyappa
Sivachariyar. His son was Kachchiyappa Sivachariyar. He was well-versed
Sanskrit and Tamil and was also a great creative poet. He was an ardent
One night, Murugan appeared
in his dream and commanded him,
"Our biography is told in the SivaRahasyam
which is the first kAntam of
Sankara Samhithai which is one of the six kanTams of the Sanskrit Skandha
Purana. You must make it into a Southern Tamil book called 'Kandha PuraNam".
('Our biography', here, means the biography
of Murugan. Gods, kings, gurus
and people of such eminence would address themselves in the plural. This
is also found in English. It is called the 'Royal We' because the
royalty use that
kind of address. It is part of a grammatical and verbose style called the
He also gave the first two
words of the beginning verse of the book,
Kachchiyappa woke up and
He sat in the sannidhi of
Murugan and started to compose Kandha
Everyday he would write
one hundred verses on palm leaves and then place
the suvadi in front of Murugan's sannidhi.
He would then go home.
In the morning, he would
open the suvadi and see that there would be
corrections made in certain places.
Thus, all that was written
by him was corrected by Murugan and accepted
A total of 10345 verses
were thus composed and made up into six kantams
of a book.
It was named 'Kandha Puranam'.
Sometimes the composers would give one name
and the book would be called
by another name. Kamba Ramayana was named 'Ramavathara' by Kamban.
Nobody calls it by that name.
Kachchiyappa fixed an auspicious day and invited
all the poets and scholars of
ThoNdai MaNdalam and convened a grand assembly for the launching of the
He did pujais to Murugan and then to the Kandha
Puranam book. He started
with the first stanza:
thigada cakkara cemmukam aindhuLAn
cakada cakkarath thAmarai nAyagan
agada cakkara vinmaNi yAvuRai
vigada cakkaran meyppadham pORRuvAm
As soon as he read these
lines, a scholar got up and raised an objection.
'What is thigada cakkara?
How was that formed and by which combination
of words? Is there any reference in any grammatical works? It
is not mentioned
in any work including TholkAppiyam'.
Kachchiyappa was aghast.
He could not answer that.
And the words were given
But an objection was raised.
Kachchiyappa answered, "O
Leader among Scholars! I would not know the
grammatical rule for this. However this was given by Murugan Himself. Hence
this could be accepted as such".
The scholar replied, "Very
well, then. Whomsoever has given the words,
let him come and give the answer. Or else, you must show the reference.
Otherwise, we will not allow you to proceed any further and launch the
The assembly of scholars
Kachchiyappa fell at the
sannidhi of Murugan and rolled and writhed with
remorse and agony and cried out aloud.
"O Lord! You must show the
grammatical reference to what You Yourself
hath said. Otherwise, I will lay down my life at Your Feet".
Murugan appeared in his
dream again and said, "Gather the scholars again
tomorrow. A scholar from Cholznadu will come with the book and show the
So Kachchiyappa called
forth the grand assembly of scholarsagain, saying
that the grammatical rule will given.
When all had assembled,
a young scholar with a fair complexion,
bearing a suvadi was sitting in the middle of the assembly.
The scholar who had objected
the previous day, repeated it.
The young scholar said,
"We are of Cholza nAdu. We have here
in Our hand, a suvadi called 'VIra COlizyam' which is a grammer
yourself know this book. The 18th verse of the 'santhi patalam' of this
shows how 'lzakaram' and 'thakaram' would combine to form 'dakaram'.
Don't you know this rule?"
('lz' + 'tha' = 'da'; 'thigalz
thasa kara' = 'thigadacakkara')
All the assmbly was taken
aback and they said, "Yes, we all know VIra
COlziya; we also have learned the rule. But it is strange that
itnever arose in
At this the young scholar
Everyone realised that it
was Murugan who had appeared and cleared
the doubt as the new-comer.
After a few days the book
launching was completed.
The people belonging to
all twenty four kOttams of ThoNdai MaNdalam came
together and made an auspicious
festival and carried Kachchiyappa Sivachchariyar
on an ivory palanquin and went in a grand
procession. They paid all the due respects
and honoured him.
taught this book to his students Gnyana VarOdhayar and others. He caused
them write many copies of the book.
After sometime, he attained
the Holy Feet of Murugan.
The puranam that he created lives on............