Friday, April 24, 2020
Indic Past Series 2: Decipherment of Skanda- legends (Vishakha, Deva Senapati and Shura Samhara)
In the 2nd part of the Indic series, the legends of Skanda are being analyzed. The video can be watched here.
Since Skanda antedated Vaivasvata Manu, as known from the mantra of Indradvaja given by Vaivasvata Manu, it is necessary to investigate the legends of Skanda to get a proper understanding of what happened before Vaivasvata Manu came into being. From the Tamil literary sources it is known that Skanda was a real- life character who ruled from a place called Southern Madurai and inaugurated the Tamil Sangam Literary Assembly.
From a verse of Brahmanda Purana it is known that Vivasvan, the sun in whose name Vaivasvata Manu is identified, was born in the constellation of Vishakha in Cakshusha Manvantra. The interesting part of this reference is that the name Vishakha was identified with Skanda in one of the legends. That legend begins with the description of a fire called ‘Adbhuta’ – a reference to naturally occurring forest fires caused by the sun’s heat. But there was a time the fire was about to die – which is a reference to lack of solar heat - corresponding to the time of Ice Age.
Skanda was born to Adbhuta and Svaha who impersonated the wives of six of the seven ‘Sapta rishis’. That was the time the unchanging positional alignment of the star Arundhati with the star Vasishtha was recognized. That was the time the star Abhijit was removed from the 27-star count of the zodiac and was replaced by the star Krittika. This redesign of the zodiac was done by Skanda! The legend also conveys that at any point of time the zodiac had only 27 stars with a total of 108 Pada-s.
The legend continues that Devendra who felt threatened by the growing strength of Skanda attacked him with his Vajrayudha. It split Skanda into two parts, known as Vishakha (divided). But what was split also became Skanda himself which started spewing fire. This frightened Devendra even more that he conceded defeat and accepted the supremacy of Skanda. He anointed him as the Commander in Chief of the Devas.
This legend sounds symbolic of a fierce lightning strike on the ground which simultaneously witnessed a fissure on the ground or burst of a volcano spewing fire. Skanda must have lived at that time. The cataclysm caused widespread damage to life and property that people had started thinking the ‘Vishakha’s children’ were tormenting them. Skanda had successfully managed to bring succor to the people then.
Vaivasvata Manu had carried the memory of the calamity and the succor given by Vishakha (Skanda) that his progeny (Ikshvaku) started regarding Vishakha as their family star.
Further on I am discussing the legend of Shura Samhara which was found to be the case of a volcano tormenting the people. A chain of volcanoes had burst around the time – with the probable location along the Sunda trench where Mt Krakatoa, Mt Samalas, Mt Tarakan and Mt Agung are found. The people had run into safety from the bursting volcanoes with the nearest place of refuge being South East India – in the region in and around Tiruchendur.
Mt Agung in Bali is known as Mt Meru - an important location of the temple Pura Besakih. My investigation takes me to the conclusion that Besakih was the probable location of Vishakha – of the Skanda legend. Further legends are to be discussed in the next episode.