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2. Myths of Murugan: Asymmetry and Hierarchy in a South Indian Puranic Cosmology

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Chapter Summary

The story of the Kandapurāṇam is one of cosmogenesis. It begins with a form of cosmic destruction and then relates the reconstitution of cosmic order. The first section of this chapter discusses the fragmentation of the cosmos, in which Shiva, the embodiment of the male principle, is separated from Shakti, the female principle. The second section takes up the asymmetry of Shakti, apart from Shiva, which produces the asuras and their vision of a materialist cosmos that wrecks the processes of karma, of death and rebirth, and the order of the dharma. The third section relates the devolution of the deity, from encompassment to immanence, through his marriage to two consorts, or shaktis. The fourth section introduces some factors that continuously unbalance the triad of deity and consorts. These factors help to keep him, and the cosmos identified with him, in an ongoing condition of self-transformation.

Keywords: Kandapurāṇam; Murugan myth; Shiva; South Indian Puranic Cosmology



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