Vel

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Vel
GOD CAVE 3 0271.jpg
Murugan holding the Vel at Batu Caves, Malaysia
Type Spear
Place of origin India

The Vel (Tamil: வேல்) is the divine javelin (spear) of the Hindu deity Murugan.

The spear used by ancient Tamils in warfare is also commonly known by this name.

Vel in Hindu History[edit]

The Goddess Parvati presented the Vel to Murugan (her son) as an embodiment of her shakti or power in order to vanquish the evil asura Soorapadman.

According to the Skanda Purana and its Tamil version, Kanda Puranam, in the war between Murugan and Soorapadman, Murugan used the Vel to defeat all the evil forces of Soorapadman. When a complete defeat for Soorapadman was imminent, the asura transformed himself into a huge mango tree to evade detection by Murugan. Murugan, too keen for the deception, hurled his Vel and split the mango tree into two halves, one becoming Seval (a rooster) and the other Mayil (a peacock). Murugan, henceforth, had the peacock as his vahanam and the rooster became the emblem on his battle flag. The Vel became the symbol of valour, and of the triumph of good over evil.

Vel as a Symbol of Worship[edit]

Stone vel from the Sangam period, Saluvankuppam near Mahabalipuram
Karttikeya with Vel and Seval (rooster), coin of the Yaudheyas 200 BCE.

The Vel, as a symbol of Murugan's divinity, is an object of worship in some of the temples of Murugan. The annual Thaipusam festival celebrates the occasion when Murugan received the divine Vel from his mother. During this festival, some of the devotees pierce their skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers while they undertake a procession towards the Murugan temple.

Saiva guru, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami offers a more mystical explanation of the Vel's significance:

"The lancelike vel wielded by Lord Karttikeya, or Skanda, embodies discrimination and spiritual insight. Its blade is wide, long and keen, just as our knowledge must be broad, deep and penetrating. The shakti power of the vel, the eminent, intricate power of righteousness over wrongdoing, conquers confusion within the realms below. The holy vel, that when thrown always hits its mark and of itself returns to Karttikeya's mighty hand, rewards us when righteousness prevails and becomes the kundalini serpent's unleashed power thwarting our every effort with punishing remorse when we transgress dharma's law. Thus, the holy vel is our release from ignorance into knowledge, our release from vanity into modesty, our release from sinfulness into purity through tapas. When we perform penance and beseech His blessing, this merciful God hurls His vel into the astral plane, piercing discordant sounds, colors and shapes, removing the mind's darkness. He is the King of kings, the power in their scepters. Standing behind the temporal majesty, He advises and authorizes. His vel empowering the ruler, justice prevails, wisdom enriches the minds of citizens, rain is abundant, crops flourish and plenty fills the larders."

Vel in Indian Culture[edit]

The Vel was extensively used by the Indians as a weapon[1]"Vetrivel, Veeravel" ("Victorious Vel, Courageous Vel") was a commonly used battle cry. It was common for young boys to wear impressions of the Vel around their neck. Vel or Velu, with a prefix like Shakthi, or Raja, is also a popular first name for Indian Hindu males. Songs of Murugan add descriptive words like vel, parvathi, etc.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Powerful Spiritual & Physical Weapons from Ancient Hindu Texts". The Chakra News. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 

External links[edit]