Maugre the Mouna Matam’s publication of the English translation of the Kandha Puranam by the late- lamented S. Swaminatha Iyer, the need for a fresh and more comprehensive version was persistently felt by scholars. No doubt Iyer’s translation sharpened our taste for the Puranam and like Oliver Twist we demanded more of the fare. This demand is now met with by Dr. Akila Sivaraman to a great extent. Indeed her work brings to the fore the salient features of Hinduism as inculcated by our Puranas.
Hinduism, I daresay, has declared ex cathedra, long; long ago that God is one only and all lives constitute but i one family (Ondre Kulamum Oruvane Devanum). Yet God is worshipped in His threefold nature, they being paternal, maternal and filial. In this context it should be remembered that God is the transcendental Ens that is neither male nor female and is neither of either sex. It is the Self-Born and also the Self-Existent. Yet the deity which is sex- transcending is also androgynic. No wonder Hinduism which is the Sanatana Dharma (the Aeviternal Way of Life) is more admired than understood or followed in its nascent splendour. It is given to a few only to pursue Hinduism.
There are two distinct versions of the Kandha Puranam. The Sanskrit version, hailed as the original, is known as the Skaanda Maha Puranam. It is yet to be translated in full. The Tamil Kandha Puranam is but a part of the Sanskrit original which is made up of Sanatkumara, Suta, Brahma, Vishnu, Sankara and Sura Samhitas. These respectively contain 55,000, 6,000, 3,000, 5,000, 30,000 and 1,000 slokas. Sankara Samhita is composed of twelve Kandas. The first Kanda is Siva Rahasya Kanda comprising 13,000 granthas. It is made up of Sambhava, Asura, Mahendra, Yuddha, Deva, Daksha and Upadesa Kaandas. Of these the first six were translated into Tamil by Kacchiyappa Sivacharya. It is these six that consitutce the Tamil Kandha Puranam. As commmanded by Kacchiyappa himself, his chela Koneriyappa (also known as Guha Neriyappa) translated into Tamil the Upadesa Kaandam. This work is composed of 4,348 verses.
Skanda, hailed as Muruga in the Tamil Nadu, made His avatar long before Sri Rama. Sarga 37 of Sri Valmiki’s Ramayana speaks with rapture on the multifoliate glory of Skanda. It is said that history repeats itself. The exploits occurring in the Ramayana are truly the replicas of those of the Skannda Puranam. However it should be observed here that before Surapadhama, Ravana is but a Lilliputian.
Muruga who is the Vedic Subrahmanya is the divine rebel par excellence. His wedding with Valli pioneered intercaste connubium. The esoteric significance of this matrimony is never to be lost sight of. Valli is truly the soul that is referred to in the eighth sutra of the Siva Gnaaria Bhodam. The Guru, like the Hound of Heaven, chases the soul that is fleeing from him, stakes his claim and eventually possesses it only to confer on it sempiternal bliss. Valli the lass belonging to the cynegetic clan deemed untouchable, becomes the Consort of Muruga and what is more, She thereafter rules Him. Muruga gladly implements all her behests (Pani Yaa Vena Valli Padam Paniyum).
Kacchiyappa’s Kanda Puranam is in 10,345 verses. A concise version in English was indited by S. Swaminatha Iyer and it was published about fifteen years ago. It was my good fortune to contribute a Foreword to this work also.
The Periya Puranarn, the Tiruvilaiyaadal Puranam and the Kandha Puranam are hailed as the .three eyes of the Lord Siva. The three Puranas which are in vogue in Sri Lanka are the Periya, the Vathavur Adikal and the Kanda Puranas. Before translating the Saiva Sastras, the American missionary Rev. Hoisington studied the Kandha Puranam in depth and prescribed portions of it as part of the curriculum in his school. It is Sri Lanka which totally embraced the Kanda Purana culture. "Kandha Purana Kalaachaaram" by Ganapathy-p-Pillai of Sri Lanka is even today cultivated with care by the Sri Lankans. His another work known as "Kanda Purana Bhothanai" is equally popular. S. Shivapadasundaram of Sri Lanka is the author of "Kanda Puranam Vilakkam". Kasivaasi Senthi Naatha Iyer a chela of Sri-la-Sri Arumukha Naavalar -, indited -the "Kanda Purana Navanitam" - a work small in size but great in content. The Tiruvaavaduthurai Aadhecnarn supplied a felt want by republishing this work in 1969 under the name and style of "Kanda Purana Navanitiyam".
As Sri-la-Sri Arumukha Naavalar could not complete his concise prose version of the Kanda Puranam, his disciple took upon himself the task of completing it and brought it to a close. Pattuswami Othuvaar’s prose version was published by Kasi Matam in 1953.
The earliest prose version of the Kandha Puranam including the Upadesa Kaandam by Mutthuswami Mudaliyaar appeared in two volumes during the last decade of the nineteenth century.
The propagators of the Kandha Puranam in Tamil Nadu were Guha Sri Krupaananda Vaariyaar - the author of the prose version of the Kanda Puranam namely the Kandar Tiruvilaiyaadal and the Kanda Puranak kaviyamudam, and Vaakisa Kalaanidhi K.V. Jagannathan - the author of the Kandavell Kathai Amudam.
Devotees of Muruga insist that one should read the whole of the Kanda Puranam at least once a gear, and once a month a work called "Kanda Puranacchurukkam" and should recite every day "Kandar Kali Vennpaa".
The Kandha Puranam is a major puranam. It is encyclopaedic. It provides the reader with the key to open all the other Puranas which in the dim, distant past, was propagated by Suta Pauraanika. Kandhan hailed as Murugan - the ever-young and handsome God -, is the divine Guru par excellence. His Puranam should be known the world over. So, to begin with, at least a concise version of His puranam is a pressing desideratum.
Fortunately for us, this work was undertaken by Dr. Akila Sivaraman - a competent scholar and an earnest devotee of Murugan. Small wonder that she is endowed with the vision required for fulfilling her mission.
A perusal of her work reveals that it is a labour of love, yes - immense love for the filial Godhead that not only shows the WAY, but guides us through it to reach the goal. Her opus is in simple and highly readable English. A few Indianisms found here and there in her work, do not mar its beauty. Strangely these bring the reader closer to the Indian way of thinking. Her work is at once readable and dependable. It has a beckoning intimacy, in particular, with the Tamil tradition of Bhakti which is truly representative of the pan-Indian Bhakti movement. The talented autor is able to bring home the message to the careful reader both imperceptibly and palpably, as the occasion demands. She has by the grace of Grace, earned our thanks.
A Poser to ponder
Lord Muruga comes to clarify
The wheel sent to Earth by Lord Brahma
The Divine child on the Lotus
The maiden at the hermitage
The kind soul under the tree
Manmatha gets the command
The spark that burnt down Manmatha
A man in disguise at the forest
The sages arrive to fix the marriage
Lord Siva as the bridegroom
Sage Agasthya’s greatness
The birth of Lord Muruga
Nine warriors were born
The divine couple at Saravanam with their son
The goat becomes the vehicle
Brahma gets imprisoned
Mahavishnu gets two daughters
The army marches on
Asura fights the illusion
Asurendra at Mahendrapuri
Vadivelan reaches Sendhil
The birth of Asuras
Asuras perform yaga
The great world
The Asuras go round the world
Rules come to create
The coronation of Soorapadhman
The Sun gets arrested
Vilvalan gets a peculiar boon
Indra stands as a bamboo
Vatapi gets digested
The crow spills the water in Kamandalam
Lord Siva at Kutralam
The demon’s hand gets chopped off
Bhanugopan on the move
The son of Indra lodged in prison
Lanka faces destruction
Veerabhahu at Veeramahendrapuri
Velan appears in dream
The kind-hearted messenger at Soora’s court
Soorapadhman and Veerabhahu
Muruga and Narada meet
The splendid war by Asura’s sons
The prince fights again
The son’s advice
Agnimukhan gets killed
Three thousand sons disappear
Diggaja gets back to its place
The heads grew again
A miracle at the battlefield
Padumakomalai’s husband turns a bird
Mayai’s son in magical illusions
The child takes the majestic form
Asura becomes the cock and the peacock
Mahendrapuri gets destroyed
Thirumuruga at Thirupparankunram
Wedding arrangements for the Princess
Monkey does Sivapuja
The wedding of Deivayanai
Indra changes his mind
Lord Siva is Supreme
Narada gets cursed
The anger towards the Moon
The Advice by Pulakar
Devi gets affected by blemishes
The child found in Kalindi River
A confusion in the marriage
Daksha gets insulted
Brahmayaqa gets disrupted
Daksha does yaga without Lord Siva
Daksha raises a query
Sage Dadeechi explains the significance
Brahma loses his head due to his pride
Indra fights with Lord Siva
Asura takes birth from anger
The goddess of Dharma becomes the Rishabham
Poison in the throat
Gangadhara takes the Ganges
God gives his left side to Devi
The birth of Vinayaka
The curse of sage Dadeechi
The yaga gets disrupted
God who has no beginning or end
God without a beginning or end
Vratas dear to Lord Muruga
Veerabhahu gets a curse
Musukunda brings Tyagesar
Velavan marries Valli
Shower of gold
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