The Birth of Karttikeya
Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 2:06 AM
Karttikeya is the Lord Shiva's eldest son, who is also known as Kumara, Skanda, Subramanya, Shanmukha or Muruga (the last name used in Tamil Nadu). As Kartikeya he is designated the deity of war, guarding right and destroying evil. Hindu myths profess that he is interested in nothing but battles and warlike adventures. As Shanmukha, the six-headed, he teaches that we have five senses and the mind, and only when all six are in harmony is there spiritual growth. As Subramanya, he has two consorts, Valli and Devasena, who embody Jnana Shakti, the power of knowledge and Kriya Shakti, the power of action. He rides the peacock, reminding us not to let pride and egotism get the better of us. In his hand he holds the sharp spear, symbolizing the developed sharp intellect, and with it he guards the spiritual progress of the world.
The Birth of Karttikeya
Karttikeya was the chief battle god of the Hindu pantheon. He was born to combat demon power. An asura named Taraka had so propitiated Brahma by the performance of his austerities that Brahma was forced to grant him the boon that he desired: invulnerability to alI but a son of Shiva. At that time Shiva had no sons and just lost his wife Sati, who had thrown herself to her father Daksha's sacrificial fire. Lord Shiva was in no mood to marry again and was engaged most ferociously in the practice of austerities, so Taraka considered that he had nothing to fear. Protected by his boon, he set about extending his domains, and managed to subdue not only the creatures of the earth but also to inflict humiliation on the gods. lndra was forced to give him his wonderful white horse. Due to the terror of Taraka, the Sun gave no heat and the moon remained full at all times.
The gods consulted together, how they could put down the tyrant and persuade Shiva to marry again. They decided that Sati should be reborn as the beautiful Parvati, daughter of the Himalayas. When Parvati came of age of marriage she began to perform austerities in the hope of rendering herself worthy in the eyes of the great god. But Shiva took no notice of her, absorbed as he was in his own meditations. After several years of this Indra, despairing of Parvati’s success without outside assistance, ordered Kama, the god of love, to approach the great ascetic and arouse desire in his heart. Accordingly Kama went to Moun Kailasa, where he found Shiva sunk in yogic meditation, impervious to all around him. Kama hardly dared to accomplish his mission and stood looking on for some time. Just then, however, Parvati Came into sight, gathering flowers and looking so charming and beautiful that Kama dared to hope that Shiva would be gratified to see her. He loosed his arrow. As the shaft of love struck Shiva, desire woke in his heart and he perceived Parvati. But at the same time he saw Kama and, filled with anger at his audacity, instantaneously burned him to ashes by fixing on him his third eye. Though desire had been woken in Shiva's heart, the lord of asceticism did not give way to his passion, and was not even moved by several years more of austerities on the part of Parvati. Finally, however, he consented to marry her, to the delight of the other gods. But their pleasure was premature, for many years passed by and no children were born. Once more they consulted together and decided this time to send Agni as their ambassador to Shiva and to urge him to beget a son. Agni chanced to reach Mount Kailasa just as Shiva had left his wife and, taking the form of a dove, managed to pick up a seed of the great god. He immediately hastened back with it to Indra. The seed of Shiva, however, could not be supported by one of the lesser gods and as Agni travelled his burden seemed to grow heavier and heavier finally as he was passing over Ganges, he was forced to drop it. There on the banks of the river arouse a child as beautiful as the moon, as brilliant as the sun. This was Kartikeya. As he appeared on the bank of the Ganges the six Pleiades, daughter of six rajas, came to that spot to bathe. Each of them claimed beautiful boy, and each wished give him the breast; so Kantikeya acquired six mouths and was suckled by all of his foster-mothers. When the child grew up he became commander of the gods and, according to the boon slew the demon Taraka.All paintings are courtesy.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India