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Kartikeya Home -› Hindu Trinity -› The Destroyer -› Kartikeya
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Kartikeya born - shiva with 6 faces
Another myth connected with his birth states that gods appealed to Shiva for help in repelling the attack of the demons. Shiva responded and assumed six faces, each with a central eye from which six sparks sprang forward. These sparks fell into a lake situated some fifty miles northwest of Madras. These sparks were transformed into six infants, nursed by the six mothers who comprise the Pleiades, the six Krittikas. Shiva's wife Parvati took the six infants into her arms. She hugged them affectionately but in the process squeezed the six children so strongly that they turned into one single body but with six heads. Reared by the six Pleiades (Krittikas), he is mostly called by the name of Kartikeya.

The story of the birth of Kartikeya and the manner in which he fiercely and bravely annihilated the two Asuras Taraka and Shurapadma is legendary and goes thus:

Shiva had married Dakshayani whose father, Daksha, hated him. Because of this dislike, Daksha did not invite his own daughter and son-in-Law to a sacrifice (yajna), which he performed. When Dakshayani went to the yajna by herself, he did not treat her with love and respect. Dakshayani, who felt humiliated, jumped into the fire and died. Later, she was born a daughter to Parvataraja. She had the name of Parvati. Parvati was determined to marry Shiva. But Shiva was performing severe penance at that time.
shonitapura - the city ruled by tarakasura
Birth of Taraka

Brahma's son was Marichi who had a son by name Kashyapa. Of the two wives Kashyapa had, ADITI gave birth to Indra and other gods. They lived in heaven. Kashyapa's other wife DITI gave birth to DAITYAS or Rakshasas (Demons). These were wicked persons and hated the gods.

VAIRANGA was one of the sons of Diti. His wife was VARAANGI who bore him a son, TARAKASURA. Another Rakshasa who was born to Diti married Surasa, also known as Maya. Their children were SHURAPADMA, SIMHAMUKHA and AJAMUKHI.

When Taraka was born, it appears, there were many terrible omens as if to indicate that he would cause a lot of trouble to the world. The whole earth trembled. A storm arose. The oceans were disturbed and the very mountains shook. Wild beasts made terrible sounds. These bad omens plunged all good men into grief. Taraka and Shurapadma grew up. They were very courageous and strong. Taraka became the Rakshasa Emperor in SHONITAPURA and similarly Shurapadma in VEERAMAHENDRA.

Taraka was determined to conquer the Devas (gods). It was not an easy task. It was a very difficult, even for an extraordinarily strong person like Taraka. So he resolved to propitiate Brahma, get a boon from him that there would be no death for him, and then challenge the Devas. So he began his tapas (penance) in, the Madhuvana forest. For some days he took only water as food. Later only the air was his sustenance. He continued his vigorous meditation in different ways. He stood in water. He stood only on the thumb of his foot. Later he supported himself on his hands on the ground and continued the penance with his feet upwards. The more delay there was in Brahma's appearance before him, the more rigorous was Taraka's penance.

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