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Lord Kartikeya

Lord Kartikeya is the second son of Lord shiva and Goddess Parvati and is brother of Lord Ganesha. He is one of the most delightful worships of the Hindu god. He is also known as Shadanana, Guha, Murugan, Shantakumar, Subramanya, Skanda, Sanmukha means six faces. He symbolizes a person of perfection. Lord Kartikeya was created by all the gods to lead the wonderful hosts and kill the demons.

Lord Kartikeya is the war god in the Hindu equivalent of Ares of Mars. He is very fierce and masculine of all the gods. The Lord Kartikkey is also called as sakti. Sakti symbolizes the destruction of wickedness in humans and other hand is found devotees and blessing. Kartikeya also regarded as Agni, fire. He is very Pitta in nature. He vahana or vehicle is a peacock. It is the ability of destroying harmful serpents. Thus the peacock symbolizes the killing of harmful and sensual needs of humans. While Ganesh take away all difficulties, Skanda gives all religious powers, mostly the power of knowledge. Lord Kartikeya is considered the good-looking among all the gods, an everlasting bachelor, the killer of all ills and the leader of gods.

Major temples devoted to Lord Kartikeya is known as ‘Aaru Padai Veedu’ are located at Pazhamudircholai,Swami Mala, Thirucendur, Thiruparankundram, Palani, Pazhamudircholai and Thiruthani. Lord Kartikeya is very popular in South India like Skanda Sashti, Panguni Uthiram, Thaipusam and Vaikasi Visakam. Lord Kartikeya is known as Kartik in the eastern parts of the country especially in Orissa and West Bengal., Lord Kartikeyae is portrayed with 2 consorts in south Indian temples. Devasena the celestial princess and daughter of Lord Indra – and Valli, hunter king Nambirajan’s daughter.

Lord Kartik is worshipped individually during Kartik Puja in West Bengal and also along with Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Laksmi, Lord Ganesh and Goddes Durga during Durga Puja in September to October. Kalidasa is the most well-known poet of Sanskrit literature. He was written an epic on the birth of Kartikeya named Kumarasambhavam. The symbolism of Kartikeya points to the conducts and means of attainment perfection in life direction-finding clear of the 6 demonic vices: sex(kaama), anger(krodha), greed(lobha), passion(moha), ego(mada) and jealousy(matsarya)

Lord Kartikeya Mula-Mantra

om saravana bhava


Saravana Bhava means “born of the forest of reeds.” Saravana Bhava is made up of six syllables – sa-ra-va-na-bha-va – which subtly contain the essence of the six-faced (Shadanana) Lord Murugan.

Alternative type of the mantra

om Saravana bhavaya namah




Lord Karttikeya is a well known figure in Hindu mythology. He addressed by different names such as Murugan, Subramaniam, Sanmukha, Skanda and Guha. He is most popular as Lord Murugan in the southern states of India. A number of temples dedicated to the deity can be spotted all over the South India.

The story of the birth of Lord Karttikeya or Murugan has different versions. In some texts it is said that He is the son of ‘Agni’ or the God of Fire. However according to the Skanda Purana, Karttikeya is said to be the elder son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is also believed that Karttikeya was not born from the womb of Parvati. The Goddess was cursed by Rati, the consort of Kama (God of Love) that she would never be able to bear children.

Birth Story Of Lord Karttikeya
According to the legends, there was a demon named Tarakasura who asked for the boon that he should only be killed by Lord Shiva’s son. He knew very well that Lord Shiva was an ascetic and He would not marry or have children. Hence, Tarakasura would be invincible.

However after much ado, Lord Shiva finally married Goddess Parvati. Since Parvati couldn’t conceive due to the curse, Lord Shiva took her to a cave and asked Her to meditate. As they both meditated, a ball of fire emerged out of their cosmic energies. In the mean time, the other Gods being insecure from Tarakasura, sent Agni or the God of fire to get hold of the ball of fire. But even Agni couldn’t bear the heat of the energy of Shiva and Parvati. So, He handed over the ball to Goddess Ganga. When even Ganga couldn’t bear the heat, She deposited the fire ball into a lake in a forest of reeds.

Then Goddess Parvati took the form of this water body as She alone could bear the energy of Shiva and Shakti. Finally the fire ball took the form of a baby with six faces. Hence, Karttikeya is also known as Sanmukha or the ‘God with Six Faces’. He was first spotted and taken care of by six water nymphs who represented the Pleiades or the Krittikas. So, the divine child was known as Karttikeya or the son of the Krittikas. Later Karttikeya kills Tarakasura and becomes the commander-in-chief of the Gods.

Lord Karttikeya is depicted as a dark, young man with a spear in His hand. His mount is a peacock and He symbolizes power and strength. Through the blessings of Lord Karttikeya, one can achieve great strength and get rid of all his woes. His peacock represents Him as the destroyer of all bad habits and a conqueror of sensual desires. Karttikeya represents perfection and the need for every human to move towards being perfect.




The origin of Lord Kartikeya has been explained in various ancient texts and epics. Most of the versions are almost similar, with minor changes in the details. Lord Kartikeya, also known as Murugan, Skanda, Subrahmanya, Senthil etc, is a Hindu Deity. It is widely believed that Lord Kartikeya is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesha is his younger brother and Saraswati and Lakshmi are his sisters. His other names are Sanmuga, Shadanana, Shantakumar, Saravana, Guha, Senthil, Sanmukha, Arumugam, Swaminatha, Kumaran, Guruhuha and Velan. Lord Kartikeya is the God of War and Victory, was created by all the gods, in order to vanquish the demons, particularly the cruel demon Taraka Asura. There are several accounts and legends related to the origin of Lord Kartikeya. These are discussed below-

Origin of Lord Kartikeya in Mahabharata
The origin of Lord Kartikeya is discussed in intricate details in Vyasa’s Mahabharata. It is described that Kartikeya was born to Agni and Svaha, after Svaha imitated the 6 of the 7 wives of Saptarishi. Following this, the real wives then became Pleiades or Seven Sisters, an open star cluster. The purpose of Kartikeya’s birth was to destroy the demon Mahisha Asura, nemesis of Goddess Durga. As Kartikeya appeared as a threat, Lord Indra attacked him. But upon the interference of Lord Shiva, he became the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Deities. He married Lord Indra’s daughter, Devasena.

Lord Kartikeya is mentioned in several places in the Mahabharata, like Shalya Parva and Vana Parva. The Vanaparva of Mahabharatha states another version. It states that Devasena was once put to course by a terrible demon of extraordinary powers, named Kesin. Kesin carried the Devasena, embodied as a woman. Devasena had a sister named Daitysena and both were daughters of Prajapati. After Devendra approached Lord Brahma for help, he declared Kartikeya was adequate to vanquish the demon and assured a gallant husband for Devasena. He would thus become War Lord of the Devas.

Origin of Lord Kartikeya in Ramayana
The origin of Lord Kartikeya is described in an alternate version in Valmiki’s Ramayana. The Balakanda of Ramayana mentions that all the Gods requested Lord Shiva to conserve his energy for Denavasamhara. Although Shiva appreciated the request, he confessed that he had already released his seed. Then the Gods requested Earth, Vayu and Agni to obtain the seed and penetrate it. Agni immediately entered the seed and it transformed into a mountain from which Karthikeya originated. As he was part of Lord Shiva, so he inherited his powers and inherited. Eventually he became the God of War and destroyed the demon Taraka and the dynasty of Asuras.

Origin of Lord Kartikeya in Vedas
Lord Kartikeya is widely mentioned through out the Vedas. The Atharva Veda explains Kartikeya as Agnibhuh, the son of Agni (god of fire). He is mentioned as the son of Rudra and the 9th form of Agni in the Satapatha Brahmana. The Taittiriya Aranyaka includes the Gayatri Mantrafor Lord Kartikeya. The Chandogya Upanishad portrays Murugan as the way which leads to wisdom. The Skanda Purana is dedicated to the accounts of Kartikeya. In Bhagavad Gita (Ch.10, Verse 24), Krishna, while describing his omnipresence, says, “Among generals, I am Skanda, the lord of war.”

Origin of Lord Kartikeya in Puranas
The version of Origin of Lord Kartikeya mentioned in the Puranas is almost as same as the other versions. It was identified that Karthikeya was the son of Shiva. Karthikeya was born to banish the atrocities of the malicious demon Taraka, who tortured the Devas for several years. When whole Amarakula was entirely incapacitated, they approached Lord Srimannarayanan for help, who suggested that the son of Lord Shiva alone would slay the remorseless Taraka Asura. The Skanda Purana states that Shiva was first married to Sati or Dakshayani, the daughter of Daksha and granddaughter of Lord Brahma. As Shiva personified detachment and destruction, danced in a graveyard covered in ashes, begged for food and had no possessions, Daksha disliked him, and insulted Shiva in public in a Yagna ceremony. As a result of this, Sati conducted self-immolation. Shiva was engaged in penance as the Devas managed to get Shiva married to Parvati, who was the rebirth of Sati. The Devas asked Manmatha or Kama, the God of love, to awaken Lord Shiva from his penance.

But Manmatha faced Shiva’s wrath and was burnt to ashes, when Shiva opened his 3rd eye, as a punishment for disturbing him. Shiva decided to submit over his radiance of the 3rd eye to Agni, as only he was capable of handling it till it yielded the desired offspring. But Agni handed it to Ganga, as it was unbearable even for him. Ganga deposited it in a lake in a forest of reeds. Goddess Parvati had taken the form of the lake as she alone was able to tolerate the power of Lord Shiva. A child was born, with 6 faces, Eesanam, Sathpurusham, Vamadevam, Agoram, Sathyojatham and Adhomugam. The child was nurtured by 6 young and enchanting women, known as Kritika in Sanskrit. Thus he was named Karthikeya, who eventually annihilated Taraka.

Origin of Lord Kartikeya in Kanda-Puranam
In Kanda-Puranam, a Tamil equivalent of Skanda-Purana, an alternate version of origin of Lord Kartikeya, popularly known as Murugan, is provided. The Kanda-Puranam was constructed by Kacchiappa Sivachariyar (1350-1420 AD). Here also Kartikeya appears as the slayer of Taraka and his demonic siblings, Simha-Mukhan and Shoorapadman.

Lord Shiva released a beam of fire from his divine third eye that split into 6 separate streams. Each stream fell on a lotus flower in a lake named Saravana Poigai and transformed into 6 different children. Six young women, known as Karthigai Pengal, the Pleiades or Kritikas, found the babies and each took care of one child. On the day of Karthigai, Sati or Parvati unified the 6 babies into a six-headed child. Thus the name Arumugan or Shanmugan, was given to Kartikeya, which means “one who has six faces”. Murugan is worshipped as a nature spirit, pleased with animal sacrifices.

Lord Kartikeya is married to Valli and Devayani. Valli is the daughter of a tribal leader, while Devayani is another form of Devasena. According to other legends, Kartikeya is a bachelor and remained unmarried. That is why he is also known as Kumara-Swami, where Kumara means Bachelor and Swami means God.


Lord Kartikeya
The Hindu God known variously as Murugan, Subramaniam, Sanmukha or Skanda

Kartikeya, the second son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati or Shakti, is known by many names Subramaniam, Sanmukha, Shadanana, Skanda and Guha. In the southern states of India, Kartikeya is a popular deity and is better known as Murugan.

Kartikeya: The War God
He is an embodiment of perfection, a brave leader of God’s forces, and a war God, who was created to destroy the demons, representing the negative tendencies in human beings.

Symbolism of Kartikya’s Six Heads
Kartikya’s other name, Shadanana, which means ‘one with six heads’ corresponds to the five senses and the mind. The six heads also stand for his virtues enables him to see in all the directions — an important attribute that ensures that he counters all kinds blows that can hit him.

The war imagery and the six heads of Kartikeya indicate that if humans wish to lead themselves efficiently through the battle of life, they must always be alert lest they are shown the wrong path by crafty people with the six demonic vices: kaama (sex), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (passion), mada (ego) and matsarya (jealousy).

Kartikeya: The Lord of Perfection
Kartikeya carries in one hand a spear and his other hand is always blessing devotees. His vehicle is a peacock, a pious bird that grips with its feet a serpent, which symbolizes the ego and desires of people. The peacock represents the destroyer of harmful habits and the conqueror of sensual desires. The symbolism of Kartikeya thus points to the ways and means of reaching perfection in life.

The Brother of Lord Ganesha
Lord Kartikeya is the brother of Lord Ganesha, the other son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to a mythological story, Kartikeya once had a duel as to who was the elder of the two. The matter was referred to Lord Shiva for a final decision. Shiva decided that whoever would make a tour of the whole world and come back first to the starting point had the right to be the elder. Kartikeya flew off at once on his ​vehicle, the peacock, to make a circuit of the world. On the other hand, Ganesha went around His divine parents and asked for the prize of His victory. Thus Ganesha was acknowledged as the elder of the two brothers.​

Festivals Honoring Lord Kartikeya
One of two major holidays dedicated to the worship of Lord Kartikeya is Thaipusam. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvati presented a lance to Lord Murugan to vanquish the demon army of Tarakasura and combat their evil deeds. Therefore, Thaipusam is a celebration of the victory of good over evil.

Another regional festival celebrated mostly by Shaivite Hindus is Skanda Sashti, which is observed in honor of Lord Kartikeya on the sixth day of the bright fortnight of the Tamil month of Aippasi (October – November). It is believed that Kartikeya, on this day, annihilated the mythical demon Taraka. Celebrated in all Shaivite and Subramanya temples in South India, Skanda Sashti commemorates the destruction of evil by the Supreme Being.


Lord Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is known by different names – Swaminatha, Murugan, Muruga, Kumara, Skanda, Shanmukha, etc. Lord Murugan is also popularly known as Subramaniam which is a common name in South India. He seems to have been a popular war god who was also the elder brother of Lord Ganesha.

Excluding Tamil Nadu and some other places in India, Skanda is not as popular as his brother in other parts of India. Nevertheless, he is a highly decorated and powerful God with many divine qualities.

Thus, here is 10 interesting facts about Lord Kartikeya (Muruga) that everyone should know.

1. The Handsome God
Lord Kartikeya is one of the most beautiful-looking and handsome gods. Unlike his happy-go-lucky chubby brother Ganesha, he is often described as exuding boyish charm yet with a serious face. Often depicted as a calm and serene character, he had a face that resembled the full moon’s radiance. Thus, many parents keep their son’s name Kartikeya, hoping their son will become very handsome.

2. Born to Kill Tarakasura
One Asura named Tarakasura, who Lord Brahma gave a boon that he would only be killed by someone as strong as Lord Shiva. The Son of Lord Shiva would only be as strong as Lord Shiva. This is soon after Sati’s death, so Tarakasura takes it for granted that Shiva was sad and depressed and would not get remarried. Hence, he would not have a son without a wife.

However, it is believed that Lord Murugan manifested for the sole purpose of killing Tarakasura. Tarakasura knew that Lord Shiva was an ascetic and thought he would not marry or have children. Hence, he would be invincible. However, Shiva was not a God who could let injustice prevail.

3. The Shanmukha
Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva took her to a cave and asked her to meditate. As they both meditated, a ball of fire emerged out of their cosmic energies.

In the meantime, the other Gods being insecure from Tarakasura, sent Agni, or the God of fire, to get hold of the ball of fire. But even Agni couldn’t bear the heat of the energy of Shiva and Parvati. So, He handed over the ball to Goddess Ganga. When even Ganga couldn’t bear the heat, She deposited the fireball into a lake in a forest of reeds.

Kartikeya is also known as Shanmukha or God with six faces. Lord Shiva hands his fiery seed fire to Agni, who can handle it till the radiance becomes Shiva’s offspring. Unable to bear the heat, Agni gives the radiance to Ganga. Then Goddess Parvati took the form of this water body as she alone could bear the energy of Shiva and Shakti.

Finally, the fireball took the form of a baby with six faces – Eesanam, Sathpurusham, Vamadevam, Agoram, Sathyojatham, and Adhomugam, and hence the name Shanmuga or Shadanan. Kartikeya was cared for by six women symbolizing Pleiades (Kritika in Sanskrit) and thus got the name Kartikeya.

4. Vahana
The Vehicle he rides is a peacock called Paravani. Kartikeya, also known as Lord Murugan in Southern India, is mounted on a peacock. This peacock was originally an Asura called Surapadma, while the rooster was called the angel, Krichi.

After provoking Lord Murugan in combat, Surapadma repented at the moment his lance descended upon him. He took the form of a tree and began to pray. The tree was cut in two. From one half, Murugan pulled a rooster, which he made his emblem, and from the other, a peacock, which he made his mount.

5. Symbolism of his Idol
If you look at the idol of Kartikeya, on the one hand, He carries a spear. It is also called Vel. It is not a trident. It is symbolic of the Kundalini Shakti.

On the other hand, he carries a small flag on which a rooster is present. In another version, Tarakasur was defeated by Lord. So, Tarakasur (ego) became a chicken or rooster after being defeated by Kartikeya. After defeating Taraka (ego) in battle, Kartikeya spared his life and asked him what boon he desired. Taraka prayed to always be at the feet of the Lord, and so Lord Kartikeya made him the emblem on his flag. This also means that the ego should always be kept subdued. The ego is necessary for life, but it should be kept subdued.

6. Swaminatha – The Guru of Shiva
Once Kartikeya asked Lord Brahma to explain the meaning of Om. Brahma explained to him, but he was not satisfied. Later, when Lord Shiva asked, he explained the whole episode to him. Lord Shiva said that he must learn from Lord Brahma, as he is the supreme creator. To this, Kartikeya replied, ‘Then you tell me, what is the meaning of Om?’ Hearing this, Lord Shiva smiled and said, ‘Even I don’t know.’ Kartikeya said, ‘Then I will tell you because I know the meaning of Om.’

Lord Shiva: ‘Then tell me the meaning since you know it.’

Kartikeya: ‘I can’t tell you like this. You have to give me the place of the Guru. Only if you put me on the pedestal of the Guru can I tell you,’ said Kartikeya.

Lord Shiva: (Thinking to himself) ‘Guru means he must be in a higher position or platform. The teacher has to sit at a higher place, and the student has to sit down and listen to him. But how can I find a seat higher than him, for he is the highest and greatest of Gods?’

So then Lord Shiva lifted the young Kartikeya onto His shoulders. And then, in the ear of Lord Shiva, Lord Kartikeya explained the meaning of the Pranava Mantra (Om).

Kartikeya: ‘That the entire Creation is contained in Om. The Trinity – Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are contained in Om. This is the essence and also the secret of Om that Lord Kartikeya narrated to Lord Shiva.’

Upon hearing this, Goddess Parvati (Mother of Lord Kartikeya and an incarnation of the Mother Divine) was elated and overcome with joy.



Goddess Parvati: ‘You have become a Guru (Swami) to my Lord (Natha)!’

Saying this, she addressed her son as Swaminatha, and since then, Lord Kartikeya has come to be known as Swaminatha.

7. His Marriage
Amritavalli and Saundaravalli were two daughters of Lord Vishnu, born from his eyes. They developed an undying love for Skanda and performed severe austerities to obtain him as a husband.

At Skanda’s instructions, Amritavalli incarnated as Devasena, a young girl under the guardianship of Indra in Swarga. Saundaravalli took the form of Valli, a lass under the protection of Nambiraja, a hunter near Kanchipuram. ‘Valli’ is a Tamil term for the Sanskrit ‘Lavali,’ a kind of a creeper. As she was found among the creepers as a baby, the hunter called her ‘Valli.’ After the war with Surapadma was over, the devas were overjoyed. Skanda acceded to Indra’s prayer to accept Devasena as his consort.

The divine wedding was celebrated with great enthusiasm at Tirupparankundram near Madurai in the presence of Parvati and Siva. Indra’s re-coronation in Amaravati in Swarga followed, and Devas regained their power and positions. Skanda took his home in Skandagiri. He then proceeded to Tiruttani near Chennai, where Valli was looking after barley fields. After a series of sportive love pranks, his brother Vighneswara also lent a helping hand; he married her. His preferred weapon is the Vel or spear, hence the popular name Velayudhan, whose weapon is a spear.

8. Festivals Honouring Kartikey
Sharad Purnima, also known as Kumara Purnima, celebrated on the full moon day after Vijayadashami, is one of the popular festivals dedicated to Kartikeya in Odisha. It is believed that unmarried girls worship Kartikeya on this day to get grooms as handsome as Kartikeya.


Another major holiday dedicated to the worship of Lord Kartikeya is Thaipusam. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvati presented a lance to Lord Murugan to defeat the demon army of Tarakasura and combat their evil deeds. Therefore, Thaipusam is a celebration of the victory of good over evil.

In addition, Skanda Sashti is another regional festival celebrated mostly by Shaivite Hindus, observed in honor of Lord Kartikeya on the sixth day of the bright fortnight of the Tamil month of Aippasi (October – November). It is believed that Kartikeya, on this day, annihilated the demon, Taraka. Celebrated in all Shaivite and Subramanya temples in South India, Skanda Sashti commemorates the destruction of evil by the Supreme Being.

9. Dev Senapati – God of War
He is also called ‘Deva Senapati’ and ‘Yuddharanga.’ Kartikeya, the god of war and general of the army of the gods, is known for his extraordinary strength and skills. He was perfection personified, extremely brave and intelligent, and highly skillful in the art of war. He is considered the commander in chief of devas as he was mainly created to destroy demons that symbolize negative human tendencies. Lord Kartikeya was born to kill Tarakasura; thus, he is a born warrior.

10. Buddhism and Jainism
According to Richard Gombrich, Skanda has been an important deity in the Theravada Buddhism pantheon in Sri Lanka and Thailand. The Nikaya Samgraha describes Skanda Kumara as a guardian deity of the land, along with Upulvan (Vishnu), Saman, and Vibhisana.

Similarly, the 16th-century Siamese text Jinakalamali mentions him as a guardian god. There are Buddhist Sinhala shrines, such as at Kataragama, dedicated to Skanda, which have historically been officiated by Hindu priests, attracting Buddhist devotees and enjoying royal support. Since the 1950s, Brian Morris states, the Kataragama shrine of Skanda has attracted over half a million devotional pilgrims every year, most being Buddhists.

In Chinese Buddhism, Skanda has been portrayed as Weituo, a young heavenly general, the guardian deity of local monasteries, and the protector of the Buddhist dhamma. According to Henrik Sørensen, this representation became common after the Tang period and was established well in the late Song period. Korean Buddhism also adopted Skanda, and he appears in its woodblock prints and paintings.

According to Asko Parpola, the Jain deity Naigamesa also referred to as Hari-Naigamesin, is depicted in early Jain texts as riding the peacock and the leader of the divine army, which are both symbols of Kartikeya.