Murugan and the Egyptian Horus and Thoth

V. Krishnakumar, N. M. Krishnakumar

All facts pertaining to Egyptian deities are from [5] unless explicitly stated. Thoth and Horus are closely related gods in Egyptian mythology. Thoth helps Isis in reviving Horus after a scorpion bite. Also, Thoth is the son of Horus born when Seth tries to seduce him. As the story goes, Horus avoids insemination and makes Seth eat his semen instead; Thoth is born from the forehead of Seth as a consequence [18,19,20]. We are going to show that they both together represent Lord Murugan, one of the most prominent gods of south India. Lord Murugan is also called Karthikeya, Subrahmanya, Skanda, Kumara and Bala. Ashby has compared Murugan to Horus [4], of course the themes compared are different. Following are the points in support of this:

Thoth and Horus: 

  1. Isis gave birth to Younger Horus in the swamp. The legend goes that he was cradled on the papyrus flower or reed [14]. The papyrus reed is so sacred to the Egyptians that they suspend it above the hut to announce birth of a baby [14]. Lord Murugan was born among tall reeds, in a marshland and hence gets his name Sharavana. Sharavana means reeds in Tamil.
  2. Buto the cobra goddess was the foster mother of Horus [1].  This brings the association of Horus to snakes. Similarly, Lord Murugan is associated with cobras. He is viewed in the form of a cobra in two of his very sacred temples at Ghati and Kukke in Karnataka, India.
  3. Thoth is born from the forehead of Seth [18,19,20]. Murugan was born out of rays from the third eye on the forehead of Shiva.
  4. Thoth is the product of homosexual union between Seth and Horus p. 94 in [15]. Lord Murugan is also the homosexual product of Shiva and Agni [16]. Agni transfers the premature fetus to river goddess Ganga; Ganga becomes red and dry, and prematurely delivers the fetus in the marshes and then he is taken care of by Sapthamatrikas [16]. The Egyptian counterpart of the story is that Thoth was born of homosexual union between Seth and Horus; we will be mapping Seth to Shiva in a later article; we have already shown Horus to be the son of the goddess of fire, that is Isis. Horus transfers the semen [29] to a river where, it is taken up by an Ibis [18]. This is similar to Agni transferring the premature fetus to Ganga from whom it is taken up by Sapthamatrikas. Horus was born during winter solstice according to Plutarch [67], which falls in the ‘Proyet’ season when the Nile starts receding and drying; this is similar to Ganga becoming dry during birth of Murugan.
  5. Saptamatrikas were the foster mothers of Murugan. Hathor was the foster mother of Horus, see p. 82 in [28]. Hathor is the Egyptian equivalent of Sapthamatrikas as will be shown in later articles. Since we merge Thoth and Horus into Murugan, the mapping holds.
  6. Another version claims that the seed of Horus came out of Seth’s forehead to provide evidence that Seth swallowed the semen of Horus, see page 94 in [15]. Murugan was born out of the spark from Shiva’s forehead.
  7. Thoth, being the son of Seth, got the golden disc from his father’s head, see p. 94 in [15]. Thoth holds the Wadjet eye in his hands while Lord Murugan has a third eye on his forehead. Murugan also is depicted with third eye on his forehead, as is his father Shiva.
  8. Thoth is the god of knowledge and he is represented as a child. Murugan is called “Jnaana Kolandai” in Tamil meaning the “child of knowledge”. Horus has similar attributes: he is requested to recite sacred words that are useful to him and help others in warding off death, heal disease and protect from attacks and sooth emotionally [87].
  9. Thoth taught Isis the spells through which she could restore Horus stung by a scorpion [1]. Several Murugan temples in the state of Tamilnadu in south India claim to have medicinal trees unique to them [21]. Marudham is one such sacred tree in the Dandayudhapani temple at Marudamalai in Coimbatore District in Tamil Nadu, the ashes of which when applied are said to cure scorpion bites [21].

10. Cippi are the healing plaques of child Horus. Murugan of Palani has healing power. In particular, the idol of Palani Murugan is made of an amalgam of nine minerals popularly called Navapashanam. It is believed to have healing power and one of its ingredients is called Chippi [22]. Chippi in Tamil means shell or outer layer, thus may map to the plaques of Horus [23]. The waters from Abhishekam, the sacred ablution of god of Palani is believed to have healing power. Further, Thoth is also associated with healing, as he heals Horus from eye injury and scorpion bite.

11. Images of child Horus called Harpocrates were found on stelae called Cippi. Water was poured on such stelae found in the courtyards of temples and collected for drinking [87].  This is similar to the Abhishekam water being taken for drinking in Indian temples.

12. Horus, or Heru as the Egyptian name goes, is similar toHara in India. Note that the Egyptian hieroglyphs lack vowels [24], and hence it can as well be closer to Hara of India. Hara is not only Shiva the father of Murugan, but Murugan himself is addressed as Hara in songs: refer the famous song “Subrahmanyam Subrahmanyam, Shanmukhanaatha Subrahmanyam, Hara Hara Shiva Shiva Subrahmanyam, …”

13. The name ‘Horus the child’ was given to a number of divine infants. Horus is depicted as a child. Murugan is depicted as child, he is addressed as “Kumara”, “Bala” and “Kandan” in Tamil which means child or young boy.

14. Guha is another name for Lord Murugan, meaning ‘reared in a secret place’. This may be because, Horus was reared in a secret place in order to protect him from Seth. The Indian counterpart story of Lord Murugan as son of Shiva might not have involved such a threat to his life, thus supporting our view that the name Guha may have origin in Egyptian mythology.

15. Thoth has a lunar disc on his head, as is Murugan who has a crescent moon on his head. Iah is another god comparable to Lord Murugan, who is also a lunar god.

16. Pictures of Horus on p. 132 in [5] and p. 129 in [4] are seen holding snakes in hands. Murugan is represented as a snake, for example, in two of his very sacred temples in South India: Kukke and Ghati.

17. Horus as a boy has side lock: see the picture on p.132 in [5]. This is similar to the side-lock of priests in the Chidambaram temple, South India.

Final Conclusion:

Lord Murugan in Hindu culture is the amalgamation of Horus and Thoth of Egypt. We have explained several of his attributes such as his birth story,  association with snakes, his representation as a child, his association with knowledge and medicine, the origin of his name Hara and Sharavana, his third eye and lunar crescent, the side-lock of his priests and the origin of the word Chippi.


[1] J.G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, A study in Magic and Religion, 3rd Edition, Macmillan and Co. London, 1914

[4] Muata Ashby, The African origins of Civilization, Religion, Yoga Mysticism, and Ethics Philosophy, 2nd Edition, ISBN 1-884564-50-X, 2005

[5] Richard H Wilkinson, The Complete gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson, London, 2003

[14] Gerald Massey, Ancient Egypt: the Light of the World. A Work of Reclamation and Restitution, ISBN 1-59547-606-7, 2008

[15] By James Neill, The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations In Human Societies, ISBN-13: 978-0786435135, McFarland, 2009

[16] Skanda Purana, Translated by G V Tagare, MLBD, New Delhi, 2003


[19] Conflict of Horus and Seth, a one act play

[20] Meeks, Dimitri. 2006. Mythes et Légendes du Delta: d’après le papyrus Brooklyn 47.218.84. Cairo: Institut français d’archéologie orientale



[23] Tamil-English Dictionary, LIFCO, Chennai, 1966

[24] Egyptian Writing Systems and Grammar, Shawn C. Knight, Spring 2009

[28] Geraldine Pinch, Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt, Oxford University Press, USA, 2004




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4 Responses to Murugan-1

  1. Narasimha says:

    Hi I like this

  2. very good, thank you for writing these great infos!

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