Atop Palani Hill in South India stands one of India's most frequented and potent temples.
The deity is Palani Andavar or Dandapani, a form of Lord Murugan or Karttikeya. He holds the danda, a staff symbolizing his renunciation of the world and his yoga disciplines. He wears nothing but a loincloth, for he owns nothing, wants nothing, is attached to nothing.
The murthi in the sanctum here is said to have been made by Bogar Rishi, who took nine poisons (see the bowls) and mixed them in a magical way to create a stone-hard substance.
His hair is shaven to denote his surrender of worldliness and ego, and he wears a band of rudraksha beads on his head and larger ones in his ears.
Dandapani is said to be the first human being to renounce the world and take the path of the solitary seeker of Truth.
Lord Siva is the Supreme Being of the universe, not one of many gods. To Saivites Siva is the supreme being; to Vaishnavites Vishnu is the supreme being. The soul starts with experiencing the world. On one side the soul is pulled by veiling grace toward the world. On the inside the soul is pulled by revealing grace toward God. Resolving karma, maturing in the world, fulfilling dharma, we move toward imperturbability, realization, moksha.