Murugan-2

Murugan and many more Egyptian gods

V. Krishnakumar

All facts pertaining to Egyptian deities are from [5] unless explicitly stated.

Nefertem: 

  1. Nefertem was the youthful god of the lotus blossom; he rose from the primeval waters. Lord Muruga is also called Kumara, Bala and Kandan meaning a ‘young boy’. Typically Brahma is depicted sitting on the lotus of primordial waters. Muruga is also called Subrahmanya, meaning kind to Brahman.
  2. Nefertem was the son of Sekhmet and Ptah and the three formed a divine triad. In Tamil Nadu we come across plenty of idols in which Murugan also called Skanda is seated between Lord Shiva and Parvathi, this triad is called Somaskandar. Amun, Mut and Khonsu, the local divine triad of Thebes, are also shown similarly [101].
  3. Nefertem was the son of the cobra goddess Wadjet of Buto. Murugan is represented as a snake, for example, in two of his very sacred temples in South India: Kukke and Ghati.
  4. Nefertem holds a scepter in one of his hands. Murugan is depicted holding either a staff or a harpoon.

Iah 

God Iah was originally an independent deity and later absorbed by Khonsu and viewed as adult form of that god.

  1. Iah wears the same full or crescent moon symbols on his head as does Murugan.
  2. Iah carries a tall staff. Murugan is shown to be carrying Dandayudha in some temples, thus he is called Dandayudha-pani, meaning “One who is holding a staff”.
  3. In Pyramid texts the deceased king announces that the moon (Iah) is his brother and father. ‘Ayyah’ is used in Tamil to designate chiefly father but also brother or any other senior man in the family.
  4. The name of God ‘Ayyanar’ of Tamilnadu is close to Iah. Again, ‘Ayyan’ means father or any ‘respectable person’. The suffixes ‘–ar’ is added for respect.
  5. The name of Lord Ayyappa of Kerala is close to Iah. ‘Ayya’ means father or any ‘respectable person’. The suffixes ‘-appa’ is also added for respect. Also, devotees of Lord Ayyappa wear black clothes; the black color is sacred for Egyptians.

Khonsu: 

Khonsu has the following additional points of resemblance to Lord Murugan and Lord Shiva of Chidambaram:

  1. The word ‘khenes’ means ‘to cross over’ or ‘to traverse’ meaning ‘he who traverses (the sky)’. Chidambaram Shiva is viewed as a manifestation of sky.
  2. Egyptian god Khonsu is viewed as a child as is Murugan.
  3. Khonsu is represented with the side lock of youth, similar to that seen among the priests of Chidambaram.
  4. Khonsu is a lunar god and wears the entire lunar disc resting in a crescent moon upon his head. Lord Murugan wears a crescent moon on his head.
  5. In the New Year festival-Opet, the statue of Amun was carried from the Karnak temple to the Southern temple in Egypt. The god was in ithyphallic form and met his divine consort Mut for union. The statue of Khonsu was also brought in this festival from Karnak. As part of the festival, the statues of Amun, Mut and their son Khonsu were carried in the Nile on barges [25]. The gods returned to Karnak after the twenty four days of festivity. This has the following counterpart in Madurai in South India. Lord Murugan, son of Meenakshi and Lord Shiva is taken in procession to Madurai to celebrate Meenakshi’s wedding, which is known as Chittirai festival or Puthandu, which is the celebration of the first day of the Tamil New year.

There are 4 points of similarity between the two festivals:

  1. Southern temple of the goddess is visited by her consort
  2. Son in both the places is a visitor
  3. The day of visit is the first day of the new year
  4. Opet and Puth-andu sound similar (‘Puth’ means ‘new’ and ‘andu’ means ‘year’). It may be noted that Egyptian hieroglyphs lack vowels [24], hence ‘Opet’ can be ‘Puth’ as well.

Further, there is another daily ritual in Madurai, the goddess Meenakshi is the presiding deity of the main temple. The processional image (Utsavar) of her husband Lord Shiva in this temple is brought to her sanctum, which is to the South-west of Lord Shiva’s shrine, to celebrate their divine union every night, and taken back in the following morning. Here, Shiva is in the form of a phallus.

There are two ceremonies in Hindu temples that are similar to Opet:

  1. Kalyanotsavam is the ceremony where marriage of the presiding god and goddess is celebrated
  2. Also ritual carrying of the processional images on rivers or water bodies in a coracle is done in South India called ‘Teppotsavam’, comparable to the one discussed above in the river Nile.

Ihy 

Ihy is the son of Isis and Horus. We have shown in an earlier article that Horus resembles Murugan.

  1. Ihy was a child god, as is Murugan.
  2. He is depicted as a naked boy with the side lock of youth. Palani Murugan is naked. Murugan is also called Kumara meaning ‘youth’. The priests of the Chidambaram Shiva temple of Tamil Nadu wear a similar side lock.
  3. Horus, Hathor and Ihy formed a triad at Dendera and this was his main cult site. In Tamil Nadu we come across plenty of idols in which Lord Shiva and Shakti are found with Murugan seated between them, the triad is called Somaskandar.
  4. His divine conception and birth are celebrated in the Mammisi or birth house at Dendera; a thirteen act plays called ‘ mystery plays’ involving his birth was enacted as part of the celebration. It is interesting to note that there is another Egyptian drama called “The contendings of Horus and Seth”, where Horus kills Seth. Since we are comparing both Ihy and Horus to Lord Murugan, the above two plays map to the two logical sub-divisions of the Sanskrit poetry Kumarasambhava by Kalidasa: wherein the first eight cantos mark Murugan’s birth, while the latter cantos discuss Murugan killing Taraka. We map Taraka to Seth.
  5. A second birth house at this site built for Caesar Augustus celebrates the divine birth of Ihy as the son of Hathor. Again the mapping completes as follows:  Hathor is the foster mother of Horus. Horus maps to Murugan, whose foster mothers are the Sapthamatrikas. We will show in a subsequent article that Saptamatrikas are equivalent to Hathor.

Neferhetep as both Muruga and Shiva 

  1. Neferhetep was depicted as an infant deity as is Murugan.
  2. He is the son of Hathor. Hathor’s resemblance to Sapthamatrika will be shown in a later article. Sapthamatrika are the foster mothers of Lord Murugan, thus supporting the mapping of Neferhetep to Murugan.
  3. Neferhetep’s name was ‘perfect in conciliation’. Neferhetep resembles Thoth in this respect, because Thoth reconciled Seth and Horus and resembles Murugan.
  4. Neferhetep was viewed as a symbol of male potency. Thus he may resemble Shiva in phallic form, the Linga.
  5. It is said that Neferhetep was loved by ‘wives at the site of his beauty’, in which, ‘beauty’ is defined as a circumlocution for the god’s phallus. This suggests a phallic form for Lord Murugan. We will be discussing this in greater detail in a later article.

Shed 

  1. Shed is depicted with serpents and noxious animals in his hands, and standing on crocodiles. He was amalgamated with Horus, to form Shed-Horus. We have shown the resemblance between Horus and Lord Murugan. He is found on protective plaques, we have already discussed this in the context of Cippi of Horus.
  2. He is master of weapons of war and hence provides protection from dangerous animals, illness and magic. This resembles two roles taken up by Lord Murugan, as Devasenapati where he is the Commander-in-chief of the army of gods and his healing aspect, where he is associated with curing diseases and scorpion bites. Lord Shiva, father of Murugan is called Vamadeva, meaning ‘god of witchcraft and occult sciences’.
  3. Shed was depicted as a child with shaven head, but for the side-lock of youth. Palani Murugan is depicted with shaven head. The priests of the Chidambaram Shiva temple of Tamil Nadu wear a similar side lock.

Mandulis

  1. A text called the ‘Vision of Mandulis’ equates him with Horus. We have shown Horus to be similar to Lord Murugan.
  2. Mandulis’ actual name in Egyptian was Mervel. It may be Meru+Vel. In Tamil Vel means harpoon, the weapon in the hands of Murugan. Mount Meru has a counterpart in Congo and Murugan is a mountain god [4].
  3. He wears a crown of ram horns and cobras. Murugan is represented as a snake in two of his very sacred temples in South India: Kukke and Ghati.

Arensnuphis 

  1. He is called the ‘companion of Isis’ in the temple of Arensnuphis. Isis is a consort of Horus and Horus is equated to Murugan, thus Arensnuphis may be Murugan.
  2. He holds a spear in hand like Lord Murugan.

Panebtawy: 

Panebtawy resembles Lord Murugan in the respect that he is depicted as a young man with the side-lock of youth. Lord Murugan is called ‘Kumara’ meaning youth. The priests of the Chidambaram Shiva temple of Tamil Nadu wear a similar side lock.

Imhotep

  1. Imhotep was an architect, learned and a patron of writing and knowledge. Murugan is called ‘Gyana Kulandai’ in Tamil meaning ‘knowledgeable child’.
  2. Imhotep was the priest of Ptah, which led to the legend that he was the son of Ptah through a human mother Kreduankh. We will be showing in a later article that Shiva will be equivalent to Ptah, hence making Imhotep equivalent to Murugan.
  3.  Imhotep was a highly skilled physician who became a medical demi-god after death. Lord Murugan is viewed as the god of medicine [26].
  4. Because of his reputation for learning, he was linked to the cult of Thoth. We have already shown Thoth to resemble Murugan in an earlier article.

Final Conclusion:

Lord Murugan in Hindu culture is the amalgamation of not only Horus and Thoth, but of many more gods of Egypt. We have explained several of his attributes such as his association with snakes, his representation as a child, his association with knowledge and medicine, the origin of his lunar crescent, the triad of Somaskandar with his parents, the origin of the names Ayyah and Ayyappah, the origin of the festival of Puthandu, the association Chidambaram Lingam with sky, the worship of the Lingam in Chidambaram, the side-lock of his priests.

Bibliography 

[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

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

[25] http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Opet

[26] Lord Murukan – The God of Medicine by Prof. J.G. Kannappan from http://murugan.org/events/2003_synopses/synopses.htm#sudhakaran

[87] http://henadology.wordpress.com/theology/netjeru/

[101] http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/mut.html

 

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One Response to Murugan-2

  1. Narasimha says:

    Hi I like this

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