In Hindu mythology, every powerful God has a weapon or an item that has great symbolic and metaphorical references. For instance, lord Shiva is seen with a ‘Damuru’ that signifies infinity. He is also seen with the ‘Trishul’, that stands for the three gunas prescribed in the Dharma.
One such weapon that this article is going to cover is the ‘Vel’, and the story behind the Vel.
Origin of the Vel: The story behind the Vel is as interesting as the weapon itself!
The ‘Vel’ is the weapon used by the South Indian war God Karthikeya- the second son of Shiva and Parvati. The Vel is known to be a weapon that was handed over to Karthikeya by Parvati. According to the story behind the Vel, the weapon is supposed to have been bestowed with the ‘Shakthi’. Some stories state that the Vel is Parvati herself.
The legend goes that Parvati accompanied her son to the war against the Asuras Surapadman. Surapadman was creating havoc with his boon of immortality from Shiva. During the war, Surapadman transformed himself into a mango tree and the Vel split him into halves. One half became a Rooster and the other half became a Peacock, which became the mount (vahana) of the Lord Karthikeya.
Why is Vel so important in Indian mythology?
Historically, the Vel has been the weapon used by the Tamils during warfare. The war cry “Vetri Vel” “Veera Vel” which means “Victorious Vel” and “Brave Vel” was used by the Tamils. Vel, in English, also means “to win” or “to conquer”. This suitably signifies the true meaning of this weapon.
Worshippers of Lord Karthikeya give immense importance to the Vel. The weapon can be seen in the homes of many of his worshippers. While on one hand, they keep it with the belief that the Vel is powerful to kill all bad forces, scientifically, the reason why the Vel is so powerful because of the elements with which it is made.
Why is the Vel so popular among the devotees of Lord Karthikeya?
The Vel is made up of 5 metals being silver, gold, lead, copper and iron. These 5 elements have the capability to absorb all negativity, bringing positive vibes to the house. This is one main reason why the Vel is prevalent in many South Indian houses, especially the ones of ardent Karthikeya devotees.
The appearance of Lord Karthikeya’s weapon is as interesting as the story behind the Vel. The appearance of the Vel, as we can see it, has a broad shape that becomes pointed at the tip. It signifies the depth of knowledge and our broadness of thought. The pointed tip signifies how sharply and skilfully we should use our knowledge.
It is important to understand that in the Vedas, the way the Hindu gods are projected is not just done out of imagination. There are appearances, features, and characteristics with a metaphorical significance that we should grasp. This is what makes any religion for that matter of fact rational.
Religion was a way to keep people morally upright and have a disciplined way of doing routinely work. But since these explanations could not be understood by all, the outer surface of it was taught and preached. Thus, in a way, they were made to follow the rituals without going deep into the explanation part. Now that we have a clearer understanding what is done and why it is done, we should also understand the cultural significance behind these rituals.