Picture shows Meenakshi on Kamadhenu vahana
I have posted at least six articles on Kalidasa and Sangam Tamil Literature to prove that the greatest poet of India, Kalidasa, lived in the first century BC or before that. A lot of similes, metaphors, expressions in Tamil literature are echoes of Kalidasa. Now I give a lot of Vahana (Mounts of Gods) references from Tamil and Kalidasa. Sangam Tamil literature belongs to the first three centuries of our era.
Tamil poets were well versed with Hindu mythology and iconography. They had so much belief in Hinduism that they can’t avoid using Vahana references even in secular verses.
Poet Nakkirar of Puram verse 56 sings about four Hindu Gods in one verse referring to their flags or Vahanas. My research in to Vahanas shows that the origin of Vahanas lied in the symbols or flags of Gods. First we see the references of flags which are slowly turned in to Vahanas in course of centuries. I will give you some examples.
The Gayatri verse on Sanaischara (Planet Saturn) says that he has Kakadwaja (Flag with crow on it). Later we see crow as his vehicle. This shows that the myths about vahanas were later developments to cater to the popular tastes. When rational minds questioned whether an elephant god (Ganesh) can travel on a little mouse, then all philosophical explanations were given. Most of the vahanas are considered symbols of evils, which the god subdued and made them as their vehicles.
Some western scholars tried to bring Aryan Dravidian controversy even into the vahanas saying that the Dravidian gods were subdued and made vahanas for Aryan gods. But anyone who has read my previous posts of Sumerian, Greek and Babylonian vahanas would easily dismiss this western theory as absurd. Other cultures also used animals as vahanas. We didn’t have much detail about how the foreign deities got their vahanas.
Kalidasa also described Shiva as one who rides a bull or a person with a bull on his flag (Vrushapaarootan or Vrshabadwajan). Lord Vishnu also had Garutadjwaja or Garudavahana.
Tamil Poet Bharatham Padiya Peruntheanar (Mahadevan who sang Mahabharata) of Purananuru prayer song also described Shiva with Bull vehicle and with Bull flag. Needless to say that this was an echo of Kalidasa.
Raghu. VI-4, Meghaduta verse 46: Lord Skanda’s peacock vahana
Mega.54, Raghu-III-23, Kumara.III-14, VII-29, II-35, III-62, VIII-20, Raghu-II-35=Bull Vehicle or Bull flag of Lord Shiva.
Raghu.III-56=Vajra flag of Indra
We have lot of references to God of Love Manmatha with Makaradwaja or Makaravahana.
Ragu. 10-13, 10-61=Garudavahana
Picture shows Karpaka Vrksha vahana
Kalitokai-101-24, 103-43= Yama’s buffalo vahana
Lord Skanda (Murugan) had an elephant by name Pinimukam as his vehicle. This was referred to in various placesari.5-2, Pathirru.11-6, Pari.21-1, Murugu.78-82, Puram-56,Murugu-247,
Indra’s elephant with four tusks- Murugu155-59
Kali.150-13, Palaikali-26-5,Murugu151= Bull Vehicle
Pari. 1-11,13-41, 4-37, 3-18,8-2, Kuru.prayer song= Garudavahana
Sesha vahana of Vishnu is referred to in Perum.372
Balarama’s Palmyra flag was referred to in Tolkappiyam and Puram.58
Tamil poets also spoke about Manmatha, God of Love, and his Shark flag or Shark vahana.
Please read my other articles on Vahanas in my blogs:
Iraq: 7 Gods Procession on Vahanas
Deer Chariot: Rig Veda to Santa Claus
Hindu Vahanas around the World
Vahanas in Kalidasa and Tamil Literature
உலகம் முழுதும் இந்து தெய்வ வாகனங்கள்
சங்கத் தமிழ் இலக்கியத்தில் வாகனங்கள்
வாகனங்கள் தோன்றியது எங்கே?ஏன்? எப்போது?
எந்தக் கடவுளுக்கு என்ன வாகனங்கள்?
Who Rides What Vahanas?