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SWAMIMALAI

Swamimalai is a panchayat town near Kumbakonam in Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu. It lies on the banks of river Cauvery, on the road connecting Kumbakonam and Thiruvaiyaru. It is most famous for the being one of the six "Padai Veedugal" (Battle Camps) of the Lord Murugan. The name of the town means 'God's mountain'. It has the only school that teaches the art (craft) of making bronze icons. Like the rest of this part of the Thanjavur District it is mainly an agricultural town producing rice and sugar cane.

The town has one of the six (padal petra sthalangal) temples of Lord Karthikeya. It is fourth among the Padai Veedugal. The sacred story associated with this temple is that Lord Karthikeya expounds the meaning of pranavam (AUM) to His father, Lord Shiva, at this location. Hence, one can see the Lord Karthikeya depicted as Guru (teacher) and Lord Shiva listening as shishya (disciple)in the raja gopuram of the temple complex.

The reinitiation and reassertion of the knowledge takes place after an intense debate with regards to the pranava mantram (AUM) between Lord Brahma (who is the embodiment of creationary aspect) and Lord Karthikeya, during which Lord Brahma fails to adequately convey the meaning of AUM. Hence, Lord Karthikeya suspends Lord Brahma from his duties by imprisoning him. Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakthi object and Lord Shiva asks Lord Karthikeya if He(Murugan) is aware of the meaning. In response Lord Murugan says that He is well aware of it and that He will teach Lord Shiva the meaning of the mantram if He(Lord Shiva) will take Him (Lord Murugan) as His Guru. Thus Murugan imparts this universal mantra to His father.

The Murugan here is also known as Swaminathan and "Thagapan Swami" (literally "Father God" - referring to the fact that Murugan taught His father and hence was His father's Guru.)

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