Vel (spear) is a representation of Wisdom. Vel is a symbol of strength, power, might, knowledge and wisdom and undying vigour. Manikavasagar defines God in his Thiruvasagam as :
Aalnthu Agandra Nunniyane – Sivapuranam 35
The phrase precisely explains that the Vel defines Wisdom. Let us dwell deeper and analyze this further. The Vel is normally long and if you take any Murugan picture, you may find that the Vel is always reaching up to his ears. This length depicts the length of our thought and mind, i.e, DEEP (Aalnthu). Next, when we trace the entire length of the Vel from the bottom and reach the junction where it expands to form the spear, the expansion, the breadth, the width represents the broadness of our mind (Agandra). It tells us to be broad minded, open minded and take in all considerations before deciding on anything. That is how our wisdom should be: WIDE. Finally, after the expansion, the tracing from each side meets again at the tip and forms the sharp pointed end. That represents the sharpness of our mind (Nunniya). Wisdom should be sharp and sparkling : FOCUS.
Now, that is how our wisdom should be! Deep, Wide, and Focus! Aalnthu Agandra, Nunniyane!!
Vel = Wisdom + Victory
Ultimately Vel represent Wisdom and Victory. The soul (uyir) has the ability to gain knowledge, but as it is covered by Aanavam, an object that causes ignorance, hence its knowledge, desire and action are not activated. It only can gains knowledge when knowledge is imparted to it. As souls have limited knowledge, God imparts knowledge to it.
Souls are arrogant as they think that their knowledge/wisdom is due to their own intellect, but when they attain spiritual maturity, they realise that Thiruarul is the reason for everything. In another verse in Sivapuranam, Manikavasagar affirms that “Avan Arulale Avan Thal Vanangi” which means, even to pray at God’s feet need his grace.
God, in his overwhelming kindness, comes forward to redeem souls from ignorance. The soul receives spiritual knowledge or gnanam with God’s Thiruarul. This action depends on the souls vinai (karma). God gives the soul, a body, a world and experiences. He then hides himself and shows the world. When the soul is spiritually mature, God hides the world and shows himself and bestows his grace. This activity of God is called arivithal that is to impart wisdom until the effects of aanavam are deleted, the soul will be absorbed in God’s viyapagam (pervasiveness). This is the state when the soul attains mukthi, to merge with God. This is the Victory through Wisdom.
- Sariyai – to do service
- Kriyayi – rituals in worship
- Yogam – meditation
- Gnanam – to gain spiritual knowledge
Due to lack of knowledge and ignorance, during Thaipusam and other festivals many people are piercing their bodies, especially their tongue with the pure wisdomic Vel. They SHOULD NOT torture themselves, as this concept never mentioned anywhere in Saiva aagamams.