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Vel with Stand PL 2.5″

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According to Shaiva tradition, the goddess Parvati presented the Vel to her son Murugan, as an embodiment of her shakti, in order to vanquish the asura Surapadman. According to the Skanda Purana, in the war between Murugan and Surapadman, Murugan used the vel to defeat all the forces of Surapadman. When a complete defeat for Surapadman was imminent, the asura transformed himself into a huge mango tree to evade detection by Murugan. Not fooled by asura’s trick, Murugan hurled his vel and split the mango tree into two halves, one becoming a rooster (Tamil: சேவல், lit. ’Cēval’), and the other a peacock (Tamil: மயில், lit. ’Mayil’). Henceforth, the peacock became his vahana or mount, and the rooster became the emblem on his battle flag.
Vel, as a symbol of divinity, is an object of worship in the temples dedicated to 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.

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