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Siva who assumed the form of Vishnu in order to destroy an Asura called Guha, who by his austerities had obtained powers from Brahma which enabled him to conquer the Gods, and turn them out of their paradise. Siva killed the demon with his magical arrow.
In accordance with this legend the statue at Bādāmi represents a figure who is half Siva and half Vishnu. He has one face and four arms, and carries as a battle-axe the crescentshaped 'Keteriya' of the Sinhalese, round the handle of which a cobra is curled. He wears a high crown, the frustrum of a tall cone, decorated with symbols of the God Siva on the right half.
According to a Sinhalese tradition Ayiyanār came to Ceylon from Madura. His name seems to show that his place of origin was in a Dravidian country. The honorific title Nayanār, 'the Nāyar' appears to indicate that he was originally a deity of the Nāyars. If so, he was an early South Indian god, and his high position as the special Forest Deity of Ceylon may be due to his introduction by the early Nāgas. If he were not aboriginal it is unlikely that he would be thought so important in the forests of Ceylon.1 The story of his wonderful birth must be a later invention in order to bring him into the Hindu pantheon.
After the account of his birth had been generally accepted it would be logically concluded that if the father, Siva, and the son, Ayiyanar, deserve worship, so must also the mother of such a son, especially as she was an incarnation of Vishnu, and had acted so successfully against the demons.
The Vaeddas, who were in close contact with the Sinhalese of the interior, probably acquired from the latter their knowledge of this goddess, and adopted her either as suitably filling an unoccupied place in their pantheon, or as being identical with some pre-existing goddess of theirs. This Mōhini worship must therefore be a later addition to their cult. Neither the Vaedda nor Sinhalese traditions which are given in the next
1 In South India his special function consists in his acting as nightwatchman of the villages. In performing this duty he rides on a