Thiruchendur Murugan Temple – Nakkirar’s Tirumugattrupadai
Muruga with his six faces and twelve hands as Shanmukha graces Tiru-Ceer-Alaivai ('sacred place of the everlasting waves') or Thiruchendur. In his classic poem Tiru-Murugatrupadai ('A Guide to Lord Muruga'), the great Tamil Sangam poet Nakkeerar describes the coming in of Muruga borne by Pinnimukam the celestial elephant and of the special attributes of his faces and arms.
Muruga comes "borne aloft on elephant, swiftly striding, irresistible as death, fleet as the risen wind, on whose brow, scarred deep with sharp goad, unfading wreaths and medals toss, and bells of alternate peal ring on either side, beauteous gems of changing sheen flash like lightning on His crown, five shapes in one and wrought consummately; bright pendant ear-rings of varied work shine like stars clinging around the moon, shedder of light on far lands."
In the minds of sages who with unfaltering devotion follow their own life, visions arise of His glorious faces: One face spread afar rays of light, perfectly lighting the world's dense darkness; one face with gracious love seeking, grants the prayers of his beloved devotees: one face watches over the sacrificial rites of the peaceful ones who fail not in the way of the scriptures; one face search and pleasantly expound hidden meanings, illumining every quarter like the moon; one face with wrath, mind filling, equality ceasing, wipe away his foes and celebrate the battle sacrifice; one dwell smiling with slender-waisted Vedda maid, pure-hearted Valli.
Twice three faces thus each its part fulfills. On his shoulders erect, where rosy lines stretch from broad, beautiful medaled breast and where rest luminous weapons, glorious in his strength, having pierced the breasts of foes, one arm is raised to guard the sires that move in the heavenly sphere; one arm wields the elephant-goad, one arm rests on well-clad thigh; two arms whirl the lance and beauteous, broad shield, one arm on the breast shines; one with garlands is decked, one arm with armlet decked is waved aloft; one arm tolls with double peal sweet bell; one arm sheds plenteous rain from the dark blue clouds; one arm crowns celestial maids with wedding wreaths; thus twelve arms their due parts performing, diverse celestial drums sounding, strong horns blowing loud, drum and white conch like thunder resounding, peacock of varied plumes from His victorious banner calling, He speed across the heavens to all-praised, beauteous Alai-Vai."