At Kauai Aadheenam during our last retreat the Dandapani mound in Siva's Garden was taken apart in preparation for a major overhaul. It had grown dense and needing of resuscitation, as life often is. Sadasivanathaswami was supported by Tandu Sivanathan and Vel Alahan, and the three of them removed all but a few of the plants, getting it ready for new gems.
The mound holds a four-foot-tall Dandapani which came from India in 2006. His name means "One who holds the renunciate's staff, or danda."
He is the deity we draw close to when we wish to meditate, when we want to let go of some small (or large) part of our worldliness, when we are in need of healing, when we wish to undertake special penances and yogas.
At Palani Hills this song is sung to Dandapani:
O Lord of Palani Hill! O Dandapani! O Karttikeya, O Muruga! Salutations unto Thee.
Thou art the younger brother of Ganesha. The six Krittika Devis nursed you Thus are you named Karttikeya. Thou art Nirguna Brahman. Thou art Siva's sparks of Light Divine, Thou art the great General Of Celestial forces, Thou art the Destroyer Of Tarakasura and Simhamukha. Surapadma became Thy vehicle and flag.
Come, O come, Lord Subrahmanya You blessed Arunagiri. Now Bless me, O Skanda, I am Thine, all is Thine my Lord!
The murthi was freshly oiled, awaiting his new forested surroundings that will slowly unfold in the weeks ahead.
Religion needs to be of the present. Mankind is evolving spiritually; mass consciousness is rising. When we go to the temple, in the right spirit, contributing devotion and prana, being open to the blessings of the Deity; it purifies the mind. The Hindu religion focuses on the mind; purifies it; controls it, subdues the ego, makes us more humble.