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Kaumaram is a sect of Hinduism whose primordial deity is Lord Kartikeya. This sect is popular in South India and Sri Lanka where he is deeply associated with the Tamil language. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka and Malaysia are places where Kaumaram is still practiced extensively. It was one of the six major factions of Hinduism that Adi Shankara worked to unite in the period of the Bhakti Movement in India.

Association with Tamil language

According to local legends and Tamil folklore, he is regarded as a veteran and a guardian of the language[1] that is believed to have been founded by a Sage Agastya,[2][3] with the blessings of Kartikeya. Lord Muruga is considered the patron of the Tamils, due to His worship being widespread amongst those of Tamil descent.

Legend of Kartikeya

According to the Skanda Purana, Kartikeya Muruga was the second son of Lord Shiva and Parvati younger to Lord Ganesha. According to the Puranic sources Lord Muruga incarnated as six sparks emanating from the Third eye of Lord Shiva.[4] According to Skanda purana Lord Muruga imprisoned Lord Brahma,protected Lord Vishnu from the asuras and taught the Pranava Mantram to Lord Shiva.Thus Muruga is considered superior to the Trimurti. The worshippers of Lord Muruga are called Kaumaras.

Worship traditions

Tamil Nadu has six primary temples for Kartikeya that are known by the name Aru Padai Veedu that translates roughly as "the Six Stations". Modes of worship include Kavadi that is a form of dance, Alagu which is a sharp piece of metal that one pierces on the body, carrying milk and water on the heads to offer to the deity and involves a Satvic diet.

Thaipusam is an occasion that is celebrated in Kaumaram. This is much more prevalent in the Murugan Temple in Malaysia. Another chief period of worship is the Shashti. This is a period of six days when villages in South India with primary Kartikeya deities come together for a celebration. The people involved take a vow on following a vegetarian diet for the period. The six days portray events from the life of Kartikeya. The chief parts covered are the ceremonies in which he is awarded the Spear Shakti Vel by his mother Shakthi, and the killing of the demon Surapadman, and his marriage.

Other than this, Karnataka, that is another prominent place for Kaumaras, would have its own mode of worship. Trekking the Kumara Parvatha where he is believed to have attained Mukthi giving up his life is popular although not essentially in a very traditional manner.

Literature and arts

The primary works in Sanskrit related to Kaumaram are Skanda Puranam detailing the history of Kartikeya and Kumārasambhava, a poem by the Sanskrit scholar Kalidas that literally translates as "The Creation of Kumara" or "the Creation of the Son/Boy".

Adi Shankara wrote a piece on Kartikeya called Subramanya Bhujangam .

In Tamil, abundant literature is to be found both in the classical texts and in the folklore. The Skanda Puranam was translated into Tamil. Chief contributors to the classical Tamil texts include Arunagirinathar who wrote hymns of praise with complicated grammar patterns and alliteration and onomatopoeia.

Tamil folk music have hymns written praising the beauty and bravery of Kartikeya. Another chiefly written topic is the way he fell in love and converted his bride Valli. There is a dedicated tune called "Kavadi Sindhu" that is usually used to sing such hymns. This tune became associated with celebrations and dances.

Paramparai and Sampradayam

Lord Muruga in His great mercy and compassion responds to His devotees without the need for a mortal guru. He is the Supreme Guru of the Universe and responds to His devotees in ways that suit their consciousness best. There only is one Sampradaya in the Kaumara faith, that which begins from Lord Muruga Himself. Unfortunately, today the Kaumara faith has lost the glory and majesty it once possessed. It has merged largely into Shaivism. However, ancient texts such as the Kumara Tantra and the Skanda Sadbhava Tantra does give significant insight on the Kaumara faith in its original sense.

Pranava Mantram

There's an anecdote where Shiva pretends to forget the significance of the mantra Om and asks little Kartikeya. The young boy astounds everyone by showing Shiva that it is the source of all creation. This earns him the name Thagappan Swami or Swami Naadha meaning he outdid his father.

See also


  1. Kaumaram-a religion where Lord Muruga is worshipped as the Supreme Lord.[5]
  2. Six sub-divisions of Hinduism.[6]
  3. Worshippers of lord Muruga is called as Kaumarars.[7]
  4. Kaumaram-A religion of God Muruga.[5]
  5. Kumara Tantra-a tantra practised by kaumaras.[8][9]