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.
The letter "Ya" in the Panchakshara Mantra, Namasivaya, stands for the soul. Bodhinatha uses the Panchakshara Mantra to show how the soul is initially drawn by Siva's veiling grace, which leads the soul to maturity through experience in the world. Then comes Siva's revealing grace. When we've had enough of the world, Siva's grace pulls us toward God. The mantra also has the simple, two-syllable form. Si- Reflecting on God the Transcendent Absolute, Va-God as the All Pervading Consciousness