Pilgrims Guide
Batu Cave Entrance


The States of Selangor and Perak in Malaysia have a number of limestone caves. The Batu caves are about fifteen kilometers away from Kuala Lumpur In the biggest of the caves is housed a shrine of Muruga or Karthikeya, the war god and the eldest son of Shiva. The Sanskrit word for cave, is "guha" and one of the names of Lord Muruga is also Guha since he likes to inhabit caves.

Lord Muruga

Lord Muruga

As you approach the foot of the cave you can see a towering statue of Lord Muruga which dominates the scene from a kilometer away. There are many small shrines at the foot but what interested me most was the story told to me by Dr. Naga, who is scholar of Saivism. He said that a great yogi called Mouni Swami had meditated in that cave in the last century and it was entirely due to his tapas shakti (power of austerity) that Lord Muruga had manifested himself in that cave. His samdhi was at the foot of the cave but unfortunately the authorities knew very little about such matters and the samadhi shrine was inside a sort of godown overrun by bats and mice. The door was locked but by the Swami's blessings we were able to get the key and venture inside. To my horror I saw a rat scuttle off as we approached.  The first room was piled with all sorts of rubbish and I had to gingerly pick
my way through. At the corner stood the samadhi marked by a small slab of concrete. But what interested me most was the fact that a rough sort of Shiva lingam was growing above the slab
 in a most peculiar fashion. I learnt afterwards that is was "swayambhu" or growing
by itself. In the gloaming as I stared fascinated at the stone I could definitely make out the features of
a man. It was a strong face with a mop of hair and a beard. I could even see the benign eyes watching me. I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy and thanked the Swami for allowing me this wonderful opportunity of having his darshan. I was reminded of the samadhi of Bogar Nath swami in the hill shrine of Palni in Tamil Nadu.


Muruga Temple in Batu Cave

After this I went up the 300 steps leading to the cave temple. It was an enormous cave with stalactites and stalagmites growing all over the place. Water was still dripping from the roof. In one niche in the wall was a lovely figure of Lord Muruga in his form as Bala Muruga or the child Muruga. Further up in another niche was his figure as the General of the army of the Gods in full regalia. It was a fascinating shrine and my heart was bursting with gratitude to the divinity who had led me there.

Now for the story of the cave. It is said that during the British occupation at the beginning of the 20th
century, one of the rubber plantation owners had taken up some of the Indian workers to collect bat's
droppings from the cave to be used in the rubber plantation. Apparently they found a spear stuck into
the ground just at the spot where the idol of Muruga is kept now. Of course to the Indian, the spear is a
insignia of Lord Muruga and as soon as they saw it they started worshipping it. All the workers would
come and bring flowers and incense and worship the Spear. Of course the Englishman had no idea of what it all meant. All he knew that the Indians were a superstitious lot and he had no time to waste with their nonsense. So he cracked his whip and told them to get on with their work and not waste half their day in worshipping this fetish. Since they did not listen to him, he went forward and plucked the spear from the ground and threw it into a heap of dirt in the corner. The Indians were shocked at this barbarous act on the part of the Englishman and warned him of the dire consequences which were sure to follow. Of course the intelligent westerner laughed in scorn at their ignorance. However it is said that very soon he fell ill of no known disease and very soon his condition began to deteriorate. No doctor could discover what he was suffering from. At that time when his mind was in a weak and humble state it is said that he had a vision of Lord Muruga who told him that he would get well if he reinstated the spear and gave permission to his workers to worship it. His miseries had made him a
wiser man so he promptly hunted out the spear and kept it back in its place and the Tamil workers were allowed to continue with their worship.  Since then the temple has grown and prospered and
today countless pilgrims as well as tourists of other nationalities come to the shrine. Some come to worship and some as a tourist attraction. To the devout, the atmosphere is charged with the power of Muruga, the son of Shiva and many miracles are supposed to have taken place there. Of course the veil or spear manifested itself in that place only due to powerful presence of the Mouni Swami who had mediated on Lord Muruga for many years at that very spot.
                  Hari aum Tat Sat

Batu Cave

Batu Cave




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