Peacock Becomes a Mountain

மயில் வாகனம் மலையாக மாறிய திருக்கதை தெரியுமா?

Do you know the story of Peacock Mount becoming a Peacock Mountain?

Kunraikkudi Shanmuganathar Temple

Sakti Vikatan

தைப்பூச தரிசனம்எஸ்.கண்ணன் கோபாலன்

S. Kannan Gopalan

We all know Muruga Peruman’s mount is peacock. Purana depicts Sūra Samhāram (killing of the demon Sūra) by Murugan. The demon morphed into a tree which Murugan split with his trident and from which emerged the peacock mount ( his ride) and the Rooster Flag.  (The demon could morph into anything he desired.)
If that is so, did Murugan not have a mount? To obtain the Fruit of Wisdom (
ஞானப்பழம்) from his father (Siva), he circumambulated the world on his peacock mount, according to Puranas.  Whatever happened to that Peacock Mount?

Since Murugan was of beautiful form, he took the peacock as his mount.  Against the peacock that emerged from the tree-demon, Murugan levelled a curse, which transmuted the peacock into a mountain.
The peacock that transmuted into a mountain observed severe penance beseeching Murugan’s grace.  The mountain was of the shape of the peacock in Kunrakkudi. 

The story of transmutation of peacock to a mountain

Isan the prototype of Eternal Wisdom is immersed deep in eternal silence. He split his Sakti into two parts: 1st, Bhoga Sakti (Pleasure Principle) and the 2nd the Divine God Muruga.

By inscribing the power of Wisdom (Jñānasakti) in his heart, Isan gave Iccha Sakti (Will) and Kriya Sakti (Action) to Murugan.  Murugan goes by multiple beatific names: The Repository of Jñānasakti, Gukan (Cave Dweller), Visākan (2nd lunar month, and 16th nakṣatra). Isan established a temple for him on the left side of Kailas and enjoined him to do pañca-kiruttiyam (ஐந்தொழில் = five functions).

ஐந்தொழில் = ai-n-toḻil = pañca-kiruttiyam: Five functions of God. = பஞ்சகிருத்தியம் = The five functions of God, designed by Divine Grace for the deliverance of the souls, viz., ciruṭṭi, titi, caṅkāram, tirō- pavam, aṉukkirakam ( = Creation, Maintenance, Destruction, Obscuration, Grace)

The Primeval gods (Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra…) who came to pay homage to Aṇṇal (Great God, Siva) who drank poison (to save the world), paid homage to Lord Murugan. When they saw the strutting peacock there, they felt compassion towards it. Reason?

Demon Sūra with his brothers was doing austerities in Kanchi. The aim of their austerities was to transmute and become the mount of Lord Murugan: It is an honor to serve as the Mount of Murugan. If they fulfilled the desire of their penance, what is the status of the erstwhile peacock?  Having considered these possibilities, the Brahmādi Devas (Primeval gods: Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra… ) felt sympathy to the peacock. The devas departed informing the peacock, “ Sura and his brothers are engaged in severe penance in Kanchi, wanting to become the Mount of Lord Murugan.”

Hearing the bad news from the Devas, the peacock meditated on Lord Murugan to alleviate his mental anguish.  Sympathetic to peacock’s predicament and impressed with the supplication, Lord Murugan appointed Sūra and his brothers as his Gaṇas (attendants) and kept them close to him.
Though Sūra and his brothers did not have the good grace to become the Mount of Lord Murugan, they became angry with the gods who revealed the plans to the peacock. They looked forward to the day to reap vengeance. That day came.  
Tirumal and Brahma came to offer homage to Lord Murugan, leaving their mounts Garuda and Swan outside.  The Sūra brothers, bearing false testimony, said to the peacock, “The Swan and the Garuda dishonored you saying you could not fly faster than they could.”


Hearing this, not taking a moment to reflect and in a fit of anger, the peacock swallowed the Swan and the Garuda.  Returning to where they parked their mounts and not finding them, the worshipful Tirumal and the four-faced Brahma complained to Lord Muruga of disappearance of their mounts. Muruga Peruman ordered the peacock to regurgitate the birds, which it did and whom Tirumal and Brahma mounted and left the premises.

For causing difficulties to the duo, Lord Muruga became angry with the peacock and cast a curse on it to transmute into a mountain.  The peacock feeling unhappy about its hastiness and thoughtlessness, asked for relief from curse. Compassionate and loving Lord Muruga realizing peacock’s remorse offered grace and release from the curse saying, “Go to Kunrukkudi’s royal gardens south of Tiruppaththur in Pandiya country and remain there as a mountain. I will see you there in the future and give you release from your curse.”

Kunraikkudi-GoogleMap.jpg                                                             Kunraikkudi.jpg

So, the peacock came to Kunrakkudi assumed the form of a mountain with its face in the north looking at Lord Murugan and its feathers in the south and immersed itself in austerities.

Lord Muruga cast a curse on the Sūra brothers to become Asuras (anti-gods, demons, degraded cousins of gods), because they were responsible for the present condition of the peacock. They roamed everywhere haughtily causing difficulties to Devas and Munis.  Blessed by the grace of Siva, Lord Muruga came into being bearing six faces and destroyed the Asuras.  He made Sūra the peacock a Mount and the rooster the flag. 

Having been ordained by Siva, Lord Muruga was of the mind to offer grace to the cursed peacock-mountain in the state of severe penance.  Appearing in Kunrakkudi, he split the mountain into two parts, offering Sārūpya Mukti state to one part and the other to remain a mountain.  The peacock released from the curse asked for a Varam (boon) saying, “O Lord Muruga, continuing your offering of grace, please take residence on the mountain and offer grace and boon to the devotees who come seeking you on the mountain.”  In that spirit, Lord Muruga took residence on the Kunrakkudi mountain with Valli and Devasena as companions (consorts). 


Kunrakkudi is located 8 KM from Karaikudi on Karaikudi-Tiruppathur Highway.  The mountain is smack in the center of the town standing high, Rajagopuram facing south and titillating our vision, imagination and thoughts. The holy temple is of two parts. One is lower temple, wherein Tenarru Nathar and Azakambikai offer grace facing south. Lord Muruga offers grace on the mountaintop. 
In the foot of the mountain, due south of shrine of graceful Shanmuganatha Peruman, there is the ‘Sannidhi Vinayakar’ Temple.  To the south of Vinayaka Temple, consecutively in a row, there are the one-pillar Mandapam and the beautiful Shanmuga Tīrtham (sacred pond). 
The below four images are from
Shanmuganathar with Valli and Devayanai


The foursome Nayanars: Appar, Sambandar, Sundarar and Manickavasaakar.  art on the wall.

Having Dharsan of Sannidhi Vinayakar, we proceed to mountaintop temple through the decorated entrance.  Past the entrance at the foot of the hill, there is the Thokaiyadi Vinayakar in the northwest corner.  At the mountain entrance, there is the Kārttikai Piḷḷaiyār Mandapam, wherein Piḷḷaiyār is facing south.  As you go up, there are the Tani Mandapam and water Mandapam.  Going past, there is the Idumban Temple.  To the west, there is the Vallabha Ganapathi shrine. Paying homage to him, and going to the next Mandapam after an ascent of 149 steps, we arrive at a flat platform.  The mountaintop shrine’s path of circumambulation has a Piḷḷaiyār statue known as Sorna-Ganapathi for Dharsan and worship.

Beautiful artistic work
Muruga Peruman, remaining in the Mountain Temple’s sanctum sanctorum, with his six faces, 12 holy hands, has descended to embrace the devotees, sits on the peacock nattily, faces south and offers his gracious presence.  The peacock carrying the six-faced god faces north.  On either side of the six-faced Lord are Valli on his right and Deyvanai on his left both seated on the peacocks offering grace.  It is very rare to experience such Darśan anywhere.  Muruga’s peacock mount, Tiruvasi (the arch, aureole, Nimbus), and Mulamurtham (The fixed statue of god) are a one-piece metal sculpture.

 Maruthu receiving Muruga’s Grace.
That was the era when MarthuPandiya brothers ruled the Sivaganga island. The elder Maruthupandiyar developed an abscess. Muruga devotee Kādan Chettiar on the recommendation of an elder supplicated to Kunraikkudi Murugan and offered the sacred water to the king. 

That night a young Sannyāsī had a dream as follows. He came with peacock feathers, extirpated the abscess, put it on the plantain leaf, and applied holy water on it. The dream woke the Sannyāsī up and came true in all its aspects and he was happy that the severe pain went away completely. 

In a few days, having recovered fully from his illness, Maruthu Pandiyar went to Kundraikkudi with the Chettiar and his attendants, offered homage and worship to Shanumuganathar and performed a multitude of holy services.


The god restored (gave where there was none) the speech.
Senthilvelu son of Sundaravelu Mudaliar and Nilayathatchi Ammal in the town of Kizparappai near Chidambaram had congenital lack of speech from birth.  He was seven years of age in 1973 and yet did not speak.  The parents were distressed very much and made a solemn promise (நேர்த்திக்கடன்) to Kunraikkudi Shanmuganathan to perform service to him every month on the day of Rohini birth Star of his son. 

நேர்த்திக்கடன் = நேர்த்தி + க் + கடன் = Vow + debt. Vow to pay back debt in the form of service to the Lord in expectation of a gracious gift (or fulfillment of desire) from the Lord. To make it simple, it is as follows. You want to buy an expensive jewelry. You pay the price in instalments and get the jewelry on giving the last instalment. When you pray to god you have a need. If there is no need (No one is free of some need), why are your worshipping the god? In Hindu religion, it is normal to ask god for favors in return for services. Remember we are children of god. When was the last time a child did not ask for something from the parents?

Grandfather Chokkalinga Mudaliar took his grandson Senthilvel 11 times consecutively to Kunraikkudi Shanmuganathar.  The 12th time on the day of Rohini star coming to Kunraikkudi, he worshipped the graceful Shanmuganathar with his melting heart, desirous mind and merging soul and looking at his grandson said, “go say ‘Om Muruga’.” The youngster was keen on lipreading his grandfather. In the sanctorum at that moment, the screen opened revealing the gracious and shining face of Shanmuganathar in the brightness of the waving lights.  From the mouth of the youngster, came the sweet and soft sound of Mantra “Om Muruga.” From then on, he spoke articulately.
To this day, the miracle continues happening…Kunrakkudi Kumaran’s dance of grace and wonder.
Photos: S. Saidharmaraj