Yesterday I had to attend a conference in London for work. As it started early I traveled down the night before and stayed in a hotel near Kings Cross station. I realised that I was only a few underground stops away from the Highgate Hill Murugan temple. I arrived in London at 6:30 pm and their evening Aarti is at 8:00 pm, so I decided to visit. This is one of the temples that was visited by Gurudeva (Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami), so I was very keen to visit it.
Murugan, also known as Kartikaya, Subrahmanya, Saravaṇa, Kārthikeya, and many other names, is the son of Shiva and brother to Ganesha. He is the lord of Yoga, and guides devotees in meditation. He carries the Vel, or spear, which is long and penetrating, as our knowledge must be as we study the divine. Our Mandir in Bradford has a Murugan Murti, as do many others that I have visited, but the power of Murugan has always been somewhat elusive to me, harder to feel than the divine energies of Lord Shiva or of Lord Ganesha. On entering the temple I went first to Ganesha, and asked for the obstacles to worship to be moved. I then circumnambulated the central shrine, and stood before Murugan. The Aarti ceremony started at then and I followed the priests and devotees as they offered aarti to the deities. When we came to Lord Murugan I could feel the Shakti or power in the atmosphere strongly, the temple had a magical atmosphere. I felt that I am not tuned in to Lord Murugan, but the energy here was so strong that I could feel it easily. The Aarti ceremony continued for a while, probably because Wednesday was Krishna Janmashtami. I had to leave before it finished to get a train back to my hotel, but this was long enough to make it a memorable experience.
Visiting the Murugan temple was a valuable spiritual experience. It is a holy place, and to walk where Gurudeva went makes it well worth going to. I will be interested to see if I am now more aware of Murugan’s Shakti in our own temple, where it is not as strong.