Reflections on Thaipusam’s significance

By Dr Prebagaran Jayaraman

I experienced a profound reverence as I joined the crowd of devotees at the Penang Murugan Temple to celebrate Thaipusam on Thursday. In the pre-dawn hours, the temple complex was a hive of spiritual activity, buzzing with devotion and the joyful energy of a community united in faith.

This reverence was amplified by the collective chant of Vel-Vel, echoing around the temple grounds. This powerful chant, symbolising the spear of knowledge, served as a reminder of the importance of wisdom and enlightenment in leading a Dharmic (Righteous) life. The experience was not just about participating in the rituals; it was an immersive journey to understand the depth and significance of our spiritual traditions.

The dedication of the volunteers was particularly striking. Witnessing thousands of community members, including many youths, offering their services embodied the saying “Service to mankind is service to God”. Their roles ranged from managing the massive crowds to assisting the disabled and providing essential services. This volunteer spirit was a testament to the community’s commitment to voluntary services.

The presence of security personnel, ensuring a peaceful celebration, added a layer of solemnity and gratitude to the event. It was a reminder of the many facets that contribute to the successful observance of such a significant festival. The peace we enjoyed directly resulted from their vigilant service, allowing us to focus on our spiritual practices without worry.

Another aspect that left a lasting impression was the immediate and organised effort to clean the temple area. The commitment to environmental consciousness demonstrated through recycling initiatives and cleanliness drives, was an extension of our spiritual duties.

It reflected a holistic approach to reverence, encompassing spiritual and environmental responsibility.

Dancing with Kavadis in traditional Indian costumes was a beautiful sight and a profound expression of cultural and spiritual identity. It was a celebration of heritage, faith, and community bonding. The gathering of families for this divine experience underlined the importance of Thaipusam as a communal event, strengthening familial and communal ties.

Thaipusam is a vivid expression of devotion, community service, and cultural celebration. It underscored the significance of Thaipusam as a day of reflection, realignment, and reaffirmation of our path towards righteousness.

Our youth’s active participation and dedication in this spiritual journey filled me with hope for a future that values spiritual growth and communal harmony.

In every aspect of Thaipusam, from the early morning prayers to the voluntary services, I found a powerful message of devotion, peace, and the eternal quest for a life aligned with Dharma.

Major (Rtd) Dr Prebagaran Jayaraman is a performance coach and TTT master trainer