In South India, Muneshwaren is worshipped in open grounds surrounded by trees holds an important position in the local villages because of the values installed in family and community life. This System is the base for forming large family clan associations and maintaining family values in rural areas.
Muneshwaren worship represents a non-learned, non-Vedic form of worship. Often community life and family values are valued than individualist life mode.
Muneshwaren is often pictured riding on a white horse, fighting against demons and evil spirits that are threatening the village.
The Muneshwaren temple priests are often non Brahmin. They inherit their role as priest from male family members, from generation to generation.
Lord Sri Muneeswarar may be quite unknown to many but he is a powerful God and has an interesting origin.
Long before our time, in ancient India lived King Thakshar who was Lord Siva's father in law. One fine day, he decided to perform a special pooja called the Achvametha Yagam. Unfortunately he did not invite Lord Siva to the Yagam. Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, the Thevars and Maha Rishis strongly requested that Lord Siva be invited but King Thakshar was indeed stubborn. He flatly refused.
He continued to conduct the Yagam without giving Lord Sivca his share of the Avir. Lord Siva's anger was apparent. King Thakshar was cursed by Nandhithevar, who sits at the base of Lord Siva's idol , and Sivanintahi resulted. The Yagam did not end. Lord Siva's anger exploded. Frightful Veeera Pathirar, Lord Siva's guard, appeared angrily from the Yagam.
And from the Lord Siva's face came Sri Muneeswarar who took seven incarnations - Sivamuni, Mahamuni, Thavamuni, Naathamuni, Jadamuni, Tharammamuni and Vaazhamuni. This he did to protect the souls.
As he appeared from Lord Siva's face. He assumed SIVAMUNI.
Possessing immeasurable divine power he became Mahamuni.
Thavamuni removed all obstacles in the path of the Thevars and Rishis during their Yagam.
Naathamuni offered blessings to the Devagananga and Poothaganga.
Jadamuni grew the trees and possessed the Ruthrkshamala Kaatgar and the book.
Tharmamuni protected the good and destroyed evil.
Vaazhamuni is praised by the Kabalis who live in the jungle.