Why Does Murugan Have Two Wives?

 He is handsome. He is a great warrior. He is the commander-in-chief of the Devas. He even taught his own father the meaning of the Pranava Mantra, such was his knowledge and intellect. He is Murugan, the patron god of Tamils in India and the son of Shiva and Parvati.

Murugan was born to vanquish a clan of demons who were wreaking havoc in heaven. To make possible his birth, Kama, the god of love, disturbed Shiva’s meditation. Shiva went into deep meditation following the death of his wife, Sati. Only the son of Shiva could slay the demons, so Shiva had to get married and produce a son. After Shiva emerged from meditation, he married Parvati, and Murugan was born.


He became the commander of the army of Devas and led them into battle against the demons, Taraka, Soorapadman, and Simhamukhan, who were brothers. His mother, Parvati, gave him a divine weapon, the Vel, to vanquish them. He is often depicted with the Vel.  


Murugan has many names - Skanda, Karthikeya, Subramanya, Kumara, Shanmukha, Shaktidhara, etc. He is depicted with six faces and twelve hands. Five faces depict the five elements of nature, while the sixth face embodies the spirit that activates all of them.


Murugan’s Wives

Amritavalli and Saundaravalli were the daughters of Vishnu. They were born from his eyes. Both fell in love with Murugan and performed severe austerities to gain him as a husband.


On Murugan’s instructions, Amritavalli took birth as Devasena, a young girl whose guardian was Indra in heaven. Saundaravalli was born as Valli, a girl who was under the protection of Nambiraja, a hunter who lived near Kanchipuram. ‘Valli’ is a Tamil word for the Sanskrit term, ‘Lavali,’ which is a kind of creeper. As he found her among some creepers as a baby, Nambiraja named her ‘Valli.’


After the war against the demons ended, Murugan married Devasena, as per Indra’s wishes.

The divine wedding was celebrated grandly at Tirupparankundram near Madurai. Shiva and Parvati were also present. It was followed by Indra’s re-coronation in Amaravati. The Devas also regained their power.


Skanda settled down in Skandagiri. He went to Tiruttani near Chennai, where Valli was tending to some barley fields. After some love pranks, in which his brother Ganesha also played a part, Murugan married Valli.


The Symbolism behind Valli and Deivanai

Hindu divinities are rich in symbolism and meaning. Each of them embody spiritual truths and moral values. Murugan represents warrior-like qualities and knowledge. Being the ruler of Mars, he personifies supreme power, consciousness, and wisdom. He can liberate humans from karmic bondage.


Murugan’s wives have their own symbolic meanings. Valli and Devasena represent Ichcha Shakti and Kriya Shakti - the power of will and the power of action, respectively. Murugan represents Gnana Shakti, the power of wisdom.


Valli was raised by hunters in the forest. As she grew, she developed a great love for Murugan. Becoming his wife was her dream and life’s purpose. She expressed her devotion to Murugan in many ways.


Murugan accepted her prayers and married her after unfolding a divine drama. Overwhelmed by his compassion and mercy, Valli ascended to the divine level by marrying him. Valli represents the Jivatma or the soul that is caught in a veil of ignorance. With the guidance of the Guru (in this case, Sage Narada), the veil of ignorance is removed, and the soul attains Moksha or liberation. This is the symbolism behind Valli’s marriage.


Indra gave Devasena in marriage to Murugan after he defeated the demons. Muruga’s wives also represent two types of devotion or devotees. One type follows the spiritual path that is prescribed by the Shastras and Vedas. The other type follows an individualistic and unconventional path marked by powerful feelings and emotions toward the deity.


In Devasena and Valli, we can see these two different approaches to god.

Muruga married Devasena in a traditional ceremony described as the Vaidika type of wedding. But he married Valli in an unconventional way which can be described as a Gandharva or Paisacha kind of marriage. The message behind the marriages is that there can be two different paths to attain the divine, and two ways of worshipping Murugan.



Post a Comment