Palani malai is called
by the name Arulmigu Dandayudhapani Swami Devasthanam.
>> The story of
Lord Muruga, why He left Kailasa and came to Palani, and how Palani got its name.
>>How kavadi tradition came to palani?
>>The beauty of
>> An Oceanic Life Story
>>The icon made
by siddha Bhogar by combining nine poisonous substances (navabashana).
The story of Lord Muruga,
why He left Kailasa and came to Palani, and how Palani got its name.
The devas (gods) and saints used to go to
Mount Kailasa to worship Lord Shiva. At Mount Kailasa Shiva and Parvati were
greatly pleased to see saints meditating, Nandi Deva praying for God's blessing,
Lord Muruga playing at the feet of Lord Shiva, and Ganapati dancing with his
At that time Narada arrived there. Playing
his veena and chanting a “Hara-Hara! Shambo Maha Deva!” Lord Shiva welcomed him
gracefully. After worshipping the God and Goddess, Narada offered them a very
special mango fruit.
Upon seeing this, Muruga and Vinayaga
anxiously waited to receive the fruit. This fruit (Gñâna Pazham) had
unparalleled taste. So the Lord decided to conduct a contest to choose the right
person for the fruit. The winner should circle the world first.
Muruga and Vinayaga were astonished by
this order for a while but soon got to work. Goddess Uma watched them with a
The brave young Kandavel (Murugan) started
his journey around the world at once.
"Within a second I will go around the
world upon my blue peacock," he said.
The blue peacock fluttered its wings like
a golden chariot an flew around the world in the blink of an eye.
Meanwhile, Vinayaga realised his
disadvantage and thought of a solution. He went around his father and mother and
Then Lord Shiva asked his son Lord
Ganapati, “Vinayaga! What did you do?”
Saying to his father and mother, “Because
of you only, this world arises and falls. Father and mother are the world,” he
claimed the prize fruit.
Shiva and Uma were pleased by this act of
Vinayaga and presented the fruit to him.
Lord Muruga reached his father Lord Shiva
within a second to claim the fruit. But it had already been won by his brother
Muruga was very surprised and angry. At
that time Shiva told Lord Muruga that Ganapati had completed the contest faster
by circling his parents.
Lord Muruga could not accept this reason.
Hence he became hard-hearted and his lips became reddish.
Lord Muruga went and sat upon his peacock
Goddess Parvati's heart was beating
rapidly. She came to Muruga, said, “Darling! Kathirvela! Stop!” and took her son
Muruga in her lap.
At that time Vinayaga did not know what to
do. But Muruga flew away on the peacock.
This happened for the welfare of the
people in the world. This is known as “Grace Play” and “Grace Anger”.
From Mount Kailasa Lord Muruga traveled to
the extreme South and landed at Tiru Avinankudi Hill and settled there. To cool
the heat of Lord Muruga's anger, the God and Goddess followed him.
They consoled him by saying you need not
worry about this fruit. “You are the fruit (Pazham nee),” said Lord Shiva
to Palani Muruga.
From that day onwards, Lord Palani Muruga
sheds His grace upon devotees.
Lord Muruga showed his grace just like a
saint (ândi) in Tiru Avinankudi.
His bright face in equal to the rising
sun; His very sight pours grace upon the devotee. His forehead displays
tilakam, sandal and tiruneeru (vibhuti).
His broad chest having a cord with
danda (staff) gives safety for others; His left hand on thigh shows abundant
grace; His jeweled ankles shine with beauty; He shows grace to all wearing only
a kaupîna (loincloth) along with the blue peacock.
Idumban and Kavadi
Sage Agastya wanted to take two hills —
Sivagiri and Sakthigiri — to his abode in the South and commissioned his
disciple Idumban to carry them. Idumban bore the hills slung across his
shoulders, in the form of a kavadi one on either side. When he was
fatigued, he placed the kavadi near Palani to take rest.
At this stage, Subrahmanya or Muruga had
been outwitted in a contest for going round the world. Ganapati had won the
prized fruit (pomegranate or mango) by simply going round His parents. Long
after, this, Subrahmanya came sweating on His peacock to find that the prize had
already been given away. In anger, the frustrated child left the divine parents
and came down to Tiru Avinankudi at the Adivaram (pronounced Adivâram. It means
foot of the Sivagiri Hill). Siva pacified Him by saying that He (Subrahmanya)
Himself was the fruit (pazham) of all wisdom and knowledge; nee
—you. Hence the place was called 'Pazham Nee' or Palani. Later, He
withdrew to the hill and settled there as a recluse in peace and solitude.
When Idumban resumed his journey, he could
not lift the hill. Muruga had made it impossible for Idumban to make it. In the
fierce battle that ensued, Idumban was killed but was later on restored to life.
Idumban prayed that:
whosoever carried on his shoulders the
Kavadi, signifying the two hills and visited the temple on a vow, should be
he should be given the privilege of
standing sentinel at the entrance to the hill.
Hence we have the Idumban shrine halfway
up the hill where every pilgrim is expected to offer obeisance to Idumban before
entering the temple of Dandâyudhapani. Since then, pilgrims to Palani bring
their offerings on their shoulders in a kavadi. The custom has spread
from Palani to all Muruga shrines worldwide.
Palani Hill Temple and the Idol Lord Murugan is the deity of the Tamil Land. Palani (Tiru Avinankudi) is the third Padai Veedu. The temple at Palani is an ancient one, situated at an elevation of 1500 feet above sea level. It is a charming campus from where one can take a look at the Idumban Hill, the Kodaikanal Hills, the Western Ghats, the greenery of the paddy fields, rivers, tanks, Palani town and the colleges. On a lovely, clear and mist-free day, the Kurinci Andavar Temple is visible from here against the bright Sun. In daytime, Palani is Hill Beautiful; at night, it is Hill Resplendent.
Siddha Bhoganāthar: An Oceanic Life Story
Click on pictures at right to visit:
The Life of Bhogar in Pictures.
Bhoganāthar or Bhogar, the Jñāna Guru of
Babaji, in the poem “Bhogar Jñāna Sagarama” (Bhogar’s Oceanic Life Story,
consisting of 557 verses, verse number 2, lines number 3 and 4), identifies
himself as a Tamilian, (Ramaiah, 1979; 1982. p. 17).
In the same verse he states that the great Siddha Kālangi Nāthar initiated him
in Jñāna Yoga (supreme self-knowledge).
Kālangi Nāthar was born in Kaśi (Benares). He attained the immortal state of
swarūpa samādhi at the ago of 315, and then made China the center of his
teaching activities. He belonged to the ancient tradition of Nava (nine) Nāth
sadhus (holy ascetics), tracing their tradition to Lord Shiva. There are nine
important shrines associated with this tradition, five of which are in the
Himālaya Mountains: Amarnāth (where Shiva first taught Kriya Yoga to his Shakti
partner, Parvati Devi), Kedarnāth, Badrināth (India), Kailāsanāth, (Tibet) and
Meanwhile, Bhoganāthar practiced Kundalini Yoga in four stages. The first
three stages arc described in a later chapter on “The Psychophysiology of Kriya
Kundalini Pranayama”. Bhoganāthar chose the Palani Malai (mountain) in
what is now southwestern Tamil Nadu as the site for intensive yogic practice (tapas)
for the final stage. He attained swarūpa samādhi at Palani, through
the grace of Lord Muruga, or the eternal youth, “Kumāra Swāmi”. The
Kumāraswāmi temple at Palani became the epicenter of his activities. He visited
many countries astrally, and physically and through transmigration. In one of
his songs Bhoganāthar claims to have flown to China at one point in a sort of
airplane which he built: he held discussions with Chinese Siddhas before
returning to India (Kailasapathy, 1969, p. 197-211). His visit to South America
has been confirmed by accounts left by the Muycas of Chile:
“Bocha, w ho gave laws to Muycas, was a white, bearded man, wearing long
robes, who regulated the calendar, established festivals, and vanished in time
like others (other remarkable teachers who had come across the Pacific
according to numerous legends of Incas, Aztecs and Mayans).” (Lal 1965, p.
He convened a meeting of many siddhas just before the beginning of the
present Kali Yuga, in 3102 BC, to determine the best way for humanity to
progress along the spiritual path during the coming period of darkness. The Yoga
of love and devotion, Bhakti Yoga, was chosen as being the best means.
Bhoganāthar was entrusted by the siddhas with the task of defining the rituals
for the worship of their favorite deity “Palani Āndavar”, the Lord (Muruga) of
Many rituals that center around the bathing (abhishekam) of an idol of
Palani Andavar with many substances, including panchaamirtam consisting
of five fruits and honey, were developed by him and continue to be followed to
this day. The idol had to be created from a substance that would last throughout
Kali Yuga. The most resilient of known substances, granite, was known to wear
and crack after thousands of such rituals. So Bhoganāthar fashioned it out of
nine secret herbal and chemical ingredients, nava pashanam, which made it
harder than granite. Eight of the ingredients were combined in a mold of the
idol. The ninth, was added as a catalyst, to solidify it.
In recent times the scientists who attempted to determine the composition of
a small sample of the material of the idol, were startled to find that it
immediately sublimated when heated. Thus its composition remains a mystery to
date. The traces of the substance are contained in the ritual offerings in which
it is bathed. When these are returned and consumed by the devotee, their
spiritual progress is enhanced.
A mission to China and transmigration
Kālangi Nāthar decided to enter into samādhi in seclusion for 3,000 years. He
summoned Bhoganāthar telepathically from Tamil Nadu to China to take over his
mission. Bhoganāthar traveled by sea, following the trade route. In China, he
was instructed by Kālangi Nāthar in all aspects of the Siddha sciences. These
included the preparation and use of the kaya kalpa herbal formulae to promote
longevity. After Kālangi Nāthar entered into trance, Bhoganāthar assumed his
teaching mission to the Chinese. To facilitate this, he transmigrated his vital
body into the physical body of a deceased Chinese man, and thereafter went by
the name “Bo-Yang”. “Bo” is a derivation of the word “Bhogam” which means bliss,
material and spiritual. This bliss, for which he was named “Bo-Yang” is
experienced when the Kundalini shakti, the feminine primordial yin energy
awakens, passes up to the crown of the head, the seat of Shiva, the masculine
yang pole, in the Sahasra cakra at the summit of the head and unites with
it. The result of this integration of feminine and masculine parts of the being,
or union (“Yoga”) of Shakti and Shiva, Yin and Yang, is
Satchidananda: Absolute Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.
Transformation of his physical body
Bhoganāthar decided to overcome the limitations of the Chinese body, with its
degenerative tendencies, and prolong its life through the use of the kaya kalpa
herbs long enough for the effect of Kriya Kundalini Pranayama and related yogic
techniques to bring swarūpa samādhi. In his poem Bhogar Jñāna Sutra 8,
verse number 4, he describes vividly what happened after carefully preparing
a tablet using thirty five different herbs:
With great care and patience I made the (kaya kalpa) tablet and then
Not waiting for fools and skeptics who would not appreciate its hidden meaning
Steadily I lived in the land of the parangis (foreigners) For twelve thousand
years, my fellow!
I lived for a long time and fed on the vital ojas (sublimated spiritual energy)
With the ojas vindhu I received the name, Bhogar:
The body developed the golden color of the pill:
Now I am living in a world of gold
(based upon translation by Yogi S.A.A. Ramaiah, 1979, p. 40-42).
He chose three of his best disciples and his faithful dog, and took thorn to
the top of a mountain. After first offering a tablet to the dog, the dog
immediately fell over dead. He next offered it to his leading disciple, Yu, who
also immediately fell over dead. After offering it to the two remaining
disciples, who by this time were extremely nervous, and who promptly hid their
tablets rather than swallow them, Bhoganāthar swallowed the remaining tablets
and also fell over unconscious. Crying with grief, the two remaining disciples
went down the mountain to get material to bury the bodies. When the disciples
returned to the spot where the bodies had been left lying, all that was found
was a note, in Bhoganāthar’s handwriting, which said:
The kaya kalpa tablets are working. After awakening from their trance I
restored faithful Yu and the dog. You have missed your chance for immortality.
This kaya kalpa enabled Bhoganāthar to transform the Chinese body over a
period of 12,000 years, during which time it developed a lustrous golden color.
(The physiological transformation to the state of swarūpa samādhi was, however,
completed only later, at Palani in the final phases of Kriya Kundalini Yoga and
related practices. These phases will be described in chapter 11. Bhoganāthar’s
own graphic description is recorded in the poem at the end of this chapter
Initiation into Samādhi.)
In this poem Sutras of Wisdom — 8. he sings prophetically of the
taking up of the practice of pranayama in modern times by millions of persons
who would otherwise have succumbed to drug abuse:
Will chant the unifying verse of the Vedanta.
Glory to the holy feet of Uma (the Divine Mother of the Universe. Shakti),
Will instruct you in the knowledge of the sciences, ranging from hypnotism to
alchemy (kaya kalpa).
Without the need for pills or tablets, the great scientific art of pranayama
breathing, will be taught and recognized
By millions of common people and chaste young women.
Verse no. I (based upon translation by Yogi S.A.A. Ramaiah, 1982, p. 40).
Becomes known as Lao-Tzu, founder of Taoism
After this incident with the Chinese disciples, Bo-Yang became also known as
Lao-Tzu, and was accessible for nearly 200 years, and trained hundreds of
Chinese disciples in Tantric Yoga practices, wherein semen and sexual energies
are conserved and sublimated into spiritual energies. The advanced techniques
which he taught involve raising the energies from the mūladhāra cakra
corresponding to the perineum up to the sahasrara cakra during sexual
intercourse with a spiritually minded partner, resulting in sublimated energy,
tejas. manifesting throughout all the cells of the body. In the fifth
century B.C., Confucius met Lao-Tzu Bo-Yang and afterwards said of him:
I know a bird can fly, a fish can swim, and an animal can run. For that which
runs, a net can be fashioned; for that which swims, a line can be strung. But
the ascent of a Dragon on the wind into heaven is something which is beyond my
knowledge. Today I have met Lao-Tzu, who is perhaps like a Dragon. Among the
Chinese, particularly, the Taoists, the Dragon is the symbol of Kundalini Shakti,
the primordial force.
At the end of his mission to China, about 400 BC, Bhoganāthar, with his
disciple Yu (whom he also gave the Indian name Pulipani) and other close
disciples, left China by the land route. As recorded in the Taoist literature,
at the request of the gatekeeper at the Han Ku mountain pass Lao-Tzu
crystallized his teachings. He did so in two books, the Tao Ching, with
37 verses, and the Te Ching with 42 verses (MacKintosh, 1971).
In book two he says ‘Do good to him who has done you injury’, which
was also said by the contemporary Tamil Siddha, Tiruvalluvar in his
Tirukkural (Tiruvalluvar, 1968). Taoist yoga traditions continue to seek
physical immortality using techniques remarkably similar to those taught in
Tamil Shiva Yoga Siddhānta.
Kriya Babaji, disciple of Bhogar
Bhogar Nath and his young disciple
Babaji Nagaraj at Kataragama, illustration from Babaji and the 18 Siddha
Kriya Yoga Tradition
Kriya Babaji shrine, Kataragama
Return to India
Along their way, they visited several shrines in the Himalayas and Kāmarūpa,
the famous Tantric Shakti shrine in Assam.
He composed his greatest work of 700,000 verses near Mt. Kailasa with the
blessings of Lord Shiva. It was later abridged to 7,000 verses, and is known as
Bhogar Sapta Kandam. He later visited Gaya, India and Arabia. Upon his
return to Tamil Nadu he introduced the Chinese salts and chemistry, which he
called Cīna-cāram and porcelain making. He submitted his 7,000 verse
manuscript for evaluation to his guru, Agastyar at Courtrallam and to an academy
of siddhas there. It was endorsed by all of them as a great work.
Following this, many siddhas, including Konkanavar, Karuvoorar, Nandeeswar,
Kamala Muni, Satta Muni, Macchamuni, and Sundarandar became his disciples to
study the sciences of kaya kalpa and yoga. He eventually turned over his
teaching mission to Pulipani.
Establishes shrine at Katirkamam and attains swarūpa samādhi
After performing tapas at Sathura Giri, and Shiva Gin, he went to Katirkamam
in Sri Lanka to perform tapas and win the grace of Lord Muruga. Under
inspiration from the Lord he established the famous Yantra shrine, representing
the 1,008 petalled lotus cakra, which blossomed in Bhogar there. Next he went to
Palani where he attained swarūpa samādhi. He retired to
Katirkāmam, where Babaji Nagaraj
met him around 211 AD.
Second Mission to China
Later, after the period of the Six Dynasties (220 to 590 AD), Bhoganāthar
returned with some Tamil disciples to China. He left his mission in Tamil Nadu
with Pulipani, the Chinese Siddha. During the construction of the Brihitīswarar
Shiva Temple in Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, around 900 AD. Bhoganāthar advised its
builders as to how to raise the eighty ton capstone to the top of the temple,
more than 200 feet high. This was done through his disciple Karuvoorar and
another Tamil disciple who acted as intermediaries and through messages tied to
the legs of courier birds, like today’s homing pigeons. At Bhogar’s suggestion a
gradient ramp five miles long was built, up which the stone was pulled to the
top of the temple. This was one of the most remarkable engineering feats of all
times. About this time he also advised the King of Tanjore to build a small
shrine dedicated to one of his greatest disciples, Karuvoorar, behind the
Bhrihiteeswarar Shiva Temple.
While Bhoganāthar is reported to have left the physical plane at Palani, he
continues to work on the astral plane, inspiring his disciples and devotees, and
even in rare instances he transmigrates into another’s physical body for
Source: Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition, by M.
Govindan (Kriya Yoga Publications, 1991), pp. 113-118.
 Material in this chapter is
based upon the life story of the Siddha Bhoganāthar narrated by Yogi S.A.A.
Ramaiah in his introduction to the third volume of the collected works of
Bhoganathar, Bogar Kandam Yogam: Babaji’s Yoga of Boganathar, and
notes in lectures.
 Authorities quoted by
Bancroft in the Pacific States, Vol. V., 23-24.
 See ‘The Wandering Taoist’,
by Deng Ming-Dao. 1983 for a contemporary account of Taoist immortals and
their practices in China, and ‘The Tao and Chinese Culture’ by Da Liu. 1979
for a description of the highest goal of Taoist practices, ‘golden”
 It is here that Macchamuni
(Macchendranātha), one of his disciples, later composed the first great
treatise on the scientific art of Kriya Tantra Yoga, from which arose the
Kalpia and Kapalika tantric traditions.
The deity of Palani is known as Dandayudhapani Swami, the Lord having the Staff in his Hand. The deity at the sanctum sanctorum is made out of an amalgam of nine minerals popularly called Navabashana. The deity is in a standing position with a baton in his hand. He has the look of a person who has renounced all worldly pomp. He has just a loincloth besides the baton. He is a mute messenger of the great precept 'Renounce all to reach Me'. The icon is unique in the whole world. It was made by siddha Bhogar by combining nine poisonous substances (navabashana). Murugan signifies beauty and Lord Murugan of Kurinji land is the god of Beauty and Youth.