Kartikeya, represented sometimes with only one face, is generally known as having
six faces; is yellow-skinned; rides on a peacock, the killer of serpents; holds
in his right hand an arrow and in his left a bow. He is widely known
as the god of war.
|KARTIKEYA - THE GOD OF
Kartikeya has several names. As he was breast-fed
by six KRITTIKA deities, he
is called 'KARTIKEYA'. Since he has six faces, he is 'SHANMUKHA'. Because of
his omniscience, he is 'SUBRAMANYA'. As he gathered a huge army to kill the demons,
he is also called 'MAHASENA'. Since he captained the army of the gods in the
fight with the Rakshasas, he was given the title of 'SENANI' or 'Commander'.
Since he was born out of the life-source that slipped (Skanna) from Shiva, he
is named 'SKANDA'. With the peacock as his mode of transport, he is 'SHIKHIVAHANA'.
And he is always a young boy he is 'KUMARA'. This term also means that he is
one who kills evil persons. And he is more handsome than Manmatha, the God of
Love. He is worshipped as 'GUHA' too, since he protects his devotees from enemies.
He is also known as AGNIBHOO, TARAKJEET and SHAKTI DHURU.
In the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics this god is described as the son of Shiva
or Rudra. Sometimes his motherhood is prescribed to Ganga (hence GANGAPUTRA),
and sometimes to goddess Parvati, the consort of Shiva. In some legends he is
said to have born without the intervention of a woman through fire (hence the
name AGNIBHU). This god is depicted sitting around the Shiva-Linga together with
Nandi, the mount of Shiva.
The story of his birth runs thus as given in Kumar SAMBHAVA. Tormented by TARAKA,
the demon, all the gods under the leadership of Indra, went to the Creator to
rid them off this monster. The Creator advised them that only the seed of Shiva
could produce a fighter, who can defeat the demon. Shiva was then lost in deep
meditation. The god of love, named KAMA, was asked to break Shiva's penance.
|KARTIKEYA - SON OF SHIVA AND PARVATI
Kama Dev was highly flattered by all gods and he boasted that he could conquer
the mind of Shiva within no time. Kama consulted his wife Rati, who reproved
him for this temerity but consented to accompany her husband and help him in
disturbing Shiva's meditation. They set off together with Vasanta (god of spring)
to Himalayas. Kama Dev pulled an arrow and shot at Shiva. The great Lord, smitten
thus, awoke from meditation and shouted who had dared to interrupt his meditation.
Looking towards south he spotted Kama Dev. In anger Shiva opened his third eye
in the center of his forehead and thus reduced Kama to ashes. Taking pity and
responding to the pleas of his widow, Rati, Lord Shiva restored her husband but
only as a mental image, representing true love and affection and not just physical
lust. Hence the other name of Kama Dev is ANANGA (the bodiless). Aroused thus
from his penance Shiva accepted Parvati as his wife. Once Shiva's passions were
aroused none could bear his seed's energy Agni alone could bear it by taking
the seed into its mouth and thereafter transferring this seed to Ganga. The god
Kartikeya so born is therefore called, GANG-JA or AGNI-BHU. The child so conceived
is also called KUMARA forever young and chaste.