The Enigmatic Idol of Palani Murugan: Crafted by Sage Boghar

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage


The Palani Murugan Temple, perched atop the Sivagiri Hill in Tamil Nadu, is a beacon of spirituality and heritage. Among its many fascinating aspects, the idol of Lord Murugan, known as Dhandayuthapani Swamy, stands out due to its unique creation by the legendary Siddhar Boghar. This idol, believed to be crafted using a mystical amalgam of herbs and minerals, represents not just divine craftsmanship but also the profound knowledge of ancient Indian alchemy and Siddha medicine.

The Legend of Sage Boghar

Sage Boghar, also known as Bhogar or Bogar, is a revered figure in Tamil lore. He was a distinguished Siddhar—an enlightened being who mastered the arts of alchemy, medicine, and spirituality. According to legends, Boghar traveled extensively, acquiring vast knowledge from various cultures, including China, before settling in Tamil Nadu. His expertise in blending herbs and minerals is legendary, culminating in his creation of the idol of Lord Murugan at Palani.

The Creation of the Idol

The idol of Lord Murugan at Palani is unlike any other. Boghar, in his quest for eternal preservation and a unique medium of worship, is believed to have used Navapashanam (a combination of nine poisons or toxic substances), which he alchemically transformed into a powerful and divine substance. This rare mixture, when combined with various herbs and minerals, resulted in an idol that not only represented the divine but also possessed potent medicinal properties.

Navapashanam: The Mystical Composition

Navapashanam consists of nine potent substances, which in their natural forms are toxic, but when processed and combined through alchemical methods, are said to transform into a substance of immense medicinal value. These nine substances are:

  1. Rasa (Mercury)
  2. Visha (Arsenic)
  3. Soma (Moonstone)
  4. Sulphur
  5. Copper Sulphate
  6. Realgar (Red Arsenic)
  7. Orpiment (Yellow Arsenic)
  8. Lead
  9. Mica

Boghar’s mastery in Siddha medicine allowed him to detoxify these elements and create a compound that is believed to have extraordinary healing powers.

Navapashanam: The Mystical Composition and Its Significance

Navapashanam, a term derived from Sanskrit, translates to “nine poisons.” This unique and mystical amalgam of nine toxic substances, when combined and processed through ancient alchemical techniques, transforms into a powerful and sacred material. The legend of Sage Boghar and his creation of the idol of Lord Murugan at Palani using Navapashanam is one of the most fascinating aspects of Indian alchemy and Siddha medicine.

The Nine Poisons (Navapashanam)

The nine substances that constitute Navapashanam are:

  1. Mercury (Rasa)
  2. Arsenic Trioxide (Sunnam)
  3. Sulfur (Gandhakam)
  4. Realgar (Manosilai)
  5. Orpiment (Haritalam)
  6. Lead (Nagham)
  7. Copper Sulfate (Thurusu)
  8. Mica (Vajram)
  9. Moonstone (Chandrakantam)

Each of these substances is toxic in its natural state. However, through the alchemical process, they are believed to be transformed into a potent and non-toxic substance that possesses immense healing properties.

The Alchemical Process

The process of creating Navapashanam involves several stages, including purification, detoxification, and combination. This intricate process is deeply rooted in the ancient Siddha tradition of Tamil Nadu.

  1. Purification: Each substance undergoes a purification process to remove impurities. This is achieved through methods like grinding, heating, and washing.
  2. Detoxification: Detoxification is a critical step where the toxic properties of each substance are neutralized. This is done through the addition of various herbs and minerals that counteract the toxicity.
  3. Combination: The purified and detoxified substances are then meticulously combined in specific proportions. This combination is believed to result in a compound that is more than the sum of its parts, possessing unique medicinal and spiritual properties.
  4. Solidification: The final mixture is solidified to form the idol. This process may involve additional steps of heating and cooling to ensure the stability and integrity of the idol.

The Mystical and Medicinal Properties

Navapashanam is reputed to have extraordinary properties that extend beyond the spiritual to the medicinal realm.

  1. Healing Powers: The substance is believed to have the ability to cure various ailments. The holy water (abhishekam) that is poured over the idol is often consumed by devotees for its supposed healing properties.
  2. Spiritual Benefits: Navapashanam is said to emit a powerful aura that enhances spiritual experiences. Devotees report feeling a deep sense of peace and spiritual upliftment in the presence of the idol.
  3. Longevity: The substances used in Navapashanam are believed to contribute to longevity and overall well-being when processed correctly.

Contemporary Relevance

Despite the ancient origins of Navapashanam, it continues to be a subject of interest for both spiritual seekers and researchers. The legend of Boghar and his creation underscores the depth of knowledge in ancient Indian alchemy and medicine. While modern science may not fully endorse the mystical aspects of Navapashanam, the cultural and historical significance of this tradition remains profound.

For Scientific Researchers

Despite the ancient origins of Navapashanam in the Palani Murugan Temple, it continues to be a subject of deep interest for both spiritual seekers and scientific researchers. This unique amalgam of nine traditionally toxic substances, transformed through ancient Siddha alchemical processes, presents a fascinating intersection of spirituality, traditional medicine, and early chemistry.

Researchers are particularly intrigued by the detoxification and combination methods employed, which purportedly neutralize toxicity and imbue the final product with healing properties.

The study of Navapashanam offers valuable insights into ancient Indian scientific practices, opening potential avenues for discovering novel detoxification techniques and understanding the historical context of traditional medicine. This intersection of ancient wisdom and modern scientific inquiry not only helps in appreciating the cultural heritage but also in exploring potential applications in contemporary medicinal and chemical research.

Navapashanam is a testament to the advanced alchemical knowledge and spiritual insight of the Siddhars. The idol of Lord Murugan at Palani, created by Sage Boghar, stands as a symbol of this unique blend of spirituality and ancient science. Whether viewed through the lens of faith or curiosity, Navapashanam continues to captivate and inspire, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of India’s cultural and medicinal heritage.

The Idol’s Significance and Mystical Properties

The idol, roughly one meter tall, depicts Lord Murugan as a serene ascetic holding a staff (Dhandam) in his hand. This form symbolizes renunciation and wisdom. Devotees believe that the idol emits a powerful aura that can cure diseases and bestow blessings upon those who worship it with devotion.

Medicinal and Spiritual Benefits
  1. Healing Properties: Pilgrims visiting the temple often consume the abhishekam (holy water) that has been poured over the idol, believing it to have curative properties due to the Navapashanam composition.
  2. Spiritual Upliftment: Devotees experience a sense of peace and spiritual elevation in the presence of the idol, attributing their experiences to the divine and mystical energies of the Navapashanam.

Preservation of the Idol

Over centuries, the temple authorities have taken meticulous care to preserve this unique idol. Despite its age, the idol remains intact, continuously offering solace and healing to countless devotees. The rituals and the offerings made to the idol are conducted with great reverence, maintaining the sanctity and the mystical properties endowed by Sage Boghar.


The idol of Lord Murugan at Palani, created by the legendary Sage Boghar, stands as a testament to the profound knowledge and spiritual prowess of the ancient Siddhars. This idol, with its unique composition of herbs and minerals, embodies the intersection of devotion, alchemy, and ancient medicine. It continues to be a source of divine inspiration, healing, and reverence for millions of devotees, preserving the rich legacy of Siddha tradition and Tamil spirituality.

Visiting the Palani Murugan Temple is not just a pilgrimage but a journey into the depths of ancient wisdom and spiritual heritage, where the divine and the mystical converge in the form of the sacred Navapashanam idol.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - A specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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