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.
"Stand strong for Saivism." The nature of life for Saivites is to turn work into worship, to turn the secular into the sacred. Each day give a little extra warmth, humanness and upliftment to others. Every day is a holy day, all day long. We want to follow our religion even in our dreams. If we help someone, we're worshiping. Wherever we are, that's a place of worship. "To the Saivite Hindu all of life is sacred. All of life is religion."