The Arabs worshipped Alexander as Iskandar Dhu`lquarnein (two horned Alexander).
Islam adopted Iskandar among her prophets, and carried his forgotten fame back into India.
He was the first Aryan monarch to become a God.
In Persian and Arabic and in Eastern languages generally, it is a well-known fact that Alexander is known under the name of Iskandar.
In India, Iskander regularly becomes `Iskanda.`
It is next an easy step to treat the initial `I` as a case of prosthesis as it obtains regularly in Prakrits, and arrive at the Sanskrit form `Skanda`.
Alexander was a prince, and Kumā ra, which means a prince in Sanskrit, is a synonym of `Skanda. `
He was a warlord and leader of an army and Senā nī which means the leader of an army is again a name of Skanda.
The lance was Alexander`s favourite weapon, and the weapon of Greek soldiers in general, and Skanda is called `Ś akti-dhara` (lance bearer).
The conquest of Persia and the establishment of a World Empire under Hellenic supremacy was his greatest ambition.
The defeat of Darius was perhaps the greatest event of his life.
And Skanda was born for the slaying of Tā raka, the asura, who menaced the peace of the world.
Now Tā raka is but the sanskritization of Darius `Dā ra` of Eastern legends (Dā rayavus of the Persian Inscriptions).
Darius in Persian means preserver or protector, and Tā raka in Sanskrit also means preserver or protector.
And with the death of Darius and the complete conquest of Persia, Ahura Mazda, the God of Persia was naturally dethroned, and there appeared in his stead the new Aryan God from the West, Alexander.
Alexander could legitimately be spoken of as having crushed Ahura Mazda, the guardian deity of the King of Persia.
Alexander married the beautiful princess Roxana the daughter of the King of Bactria.
Skanda is said to have married Senā or Deva Senā , daughter of Mrtyu according to Skanda Purā na and daughter of Prajā pati according to the Mahā Bhā rata.
Devasenā is but a Sanskrit rendering with a view to preserving its sense, as Roxana is derived from the root `raz` to `shine` just as deva is from `div` to `shine`.
Chandra Gupta Maurya, the first Emperor of India, while yet a boy, had seen Alexander `the invincible splendid man from the West. `
`Later on when he became a great King, Chandra Gupta worshipped Alexander among his Gods. `
No one questions the fact that the Mauryas had something to do with the images of Skanda.
Images are made for worship or for sale or are carried from door to door and alms collected by mendicants.
The passage might naturally refer to a kind of religious tax collected by the Mauryas and probably introduced by them on the model of the practice of Babylonia where the whole land belonged to God.
There might have been periodical religious processions carrying the image of God, when collection was made from house to house.
It is a custom that obtains in India even at present.
Now Mayū ra Vā hana is a synonym of Skanda.
He is pictured as riding a peacock.
That the Mauryas derive their name from the word `moriya` which meant peacock and that the peacock was the symbol of the Mauryan dynasty are now facts admitted by scholars of note.
Greek God and Alexander
Alexander came into contact with the tradition that the Greek god Dionysus was the founder of the city and was the first to conquer India.
Dionysus was originally a nature god of fruitfulness and reproduction of all trees and vegetation.
In Europe and Asia, where trees and creepers were worshipped during spring and harvest festivals from the earliest times, a ritual, a symbolic wedding of the tree with some creeper was often celebrated.
Skanda is represented as marrying Valli, the creeper.
The real origin character of this God and his spouse is preserved in tradition as well as in places worship, particularly in Ceylon, where adjoining the temple of Skanda there is a close preserve of cornfield.
Dionysus is the son of Zeus.
Dionysus also described as the son of Semele, the Earth Mother, Keraunia.
Keraunia regularly sanskritized becomes saravana.
Zagreus or the Cretan Dionysus is the son of the Goddess Mountain Mother.
On the clay impression of a signet ring found at the palace of Cnossos, we come across the figure of the Mountain Mother.
On the apex of the mountain, there she stands with two fierce mountain-ranging lions on either side, with an extended weapon, `imperious and dominant`.
Behind her is her shrine with columns, trident-shaped.
The triś ū la-shape is unmistakable.
Now turn to India. Skanda is the son of Pā rvatī Umā .
I venture to suggest that Pā rvatī Umā is an exact rendering of Mountain Mother.
Of course, a curious etymology of Umā has been given by the Puranas, which we find is followed by the great poet, Kalidasa.
The ingenuity of the etymology is transparent.
In fact, the word Umā seems to be related to the Semitic word `Umma` which means mother and Ambā and Ambikā are other names of Pā rvatī .
Dionysos being portrayed as ram-headed and Skanda being Chā nga-mukha.
Dionysus is said to be the son of Zeus and Skanda is the son of Siva.
Could it be that the very word Siva itself is an Indianization of Zeus and imported from outside?
Philologists are agreed that agreed that Zeus is the Greek form of the Sanskrit word `dyaus` which means sky, and we have the form `divas pitr` corresponding to the western from Zeus-pater or Jupiter.
But the word Siva in the sense of a god, we do not come across in the Vedas.
We are familiar with Rudra, the Vedic counterpart of the Puranic Siva.
In Egypt we encounter the Solar god variously called Atin, Atys, or Attin, who was both male and female.
Before the introduction of the Skanda or Kā rttikeya cult from the north, under the name of Subrahmanya, South India was paying for her divine homage to Muruka, amongst other local primitive deities.
Amongst Dravidians it was a very ancient worship.
But even here, palpable affinities could be traced to similar religious rites elsewhere.
Muruka, like Skanda, is the God of War. He was also the God of Hunting.
We are told of a Babylonian and Cushite God of Hunting and of War under a name variously spelt as Murik, Mirukh and Mirikh.
Murik is really the original Cushite and it is still applied by the Arabs to the planet Mars which has always represented the God of War: and does even today represent Skanda in India.
The word occurs still in this vernacular form in Ethiopian inscriptions.
The worship of the same god with the same functions under the same name by apparently different races is a problem for ethnologists to tackle. But the fact remains.
Either the Cushites and Dravidians might both belong to the same race, or one might have adopted the practice from the other.
The former is the more probable hypothesis.
Dionysus as a baby in his cradle.
In this particular form, Dionysus came to be called `Dionysus Liknites` ? Liknon meaning a cradle.
The Orphic ceremonial of the Liknophoria or the carrying of the Liknon was widely practiced in Greece.
Votive offerings of various sorts, originally the first fruits of the earth and often the best of things dear to man were carried in the Liknon to the shrine of Dionysus.
The kā vadi in South India is almost the representation of an Indian cradle, carried topsy-turvy by the devotee on his shoulder with offerings hung from the horizontal pole.
N. Gopala Pillai has attempted to show that the very name Skanda is a foreign importation, that many prominent features of the Skanda cult are immigrants.
Different strata of beliefs could be distinguished in the conglomerate mass of myths and legends woven around Skanda.
Various races and ages have left the impression of their diverse contributions.
Egyptian, Babylonian, Cushite, Dravidian and Greek and Indo-Aryan conceptions of a particular form of divinity have all coalesced into a complex faith.
Vel, forest and tree worships can be traced to proto-Dravidian and tribal belief systems in Sri Lanka and South India.
There were no anthropomorphic icons of Murukan in South India or Sri Lanka before the third and fourth century A.D.
Evidences indicate that the aniconic representation of Murukan as Vel preceded that of the anthropomorphic images of Murukan.
In prehistoric archeological site, iron Vel, bronze cock, and a gold mouth cover used by pujaris and those who take kavati to cover their mouths were found in Adichanallur in South India.