Kartikeya - The God of War

Lord Kartikeya is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is known as the God of War and was created to destroy negative elements in the form of Demons. He was the slayer of Demon Tarkasur who was invincible and none of the Gods could kill him. After the death of Sati, Shiva was completely shattered. It took thousands of years for him to overcome the grief of losing her. Everyone thought that after this Lord Shiva will never marry again. Taking advantage of this situation Tarakasur did a strict penance to invoke Shiva. After a while Shiva appeared before him. Tarakasur asked for the boon of immortality. However this boon was not possible for any mortal being. Anyone whose born must die in the material world. Hence Tarkasur tried to deceive Shiva by asking for a boon that let no one but only Shiva’s son be able to kill him. Tarkasur was sure that Shiva will never marry again and so he had become immortal anyway. Tarkasur started misusing his powers and soon conquered all the three worlds. He created havoc and even Gods could not stop him. Hence the Gods wanted Shiva to marry again. When Sati was reborn as Parvati, the Gods saw some hope and eagerly waited for their marriage as the child born from them would end the tyranny of Demon Tarakasur. Finally Shiva got married to Parvati and they both started living in Kailasa. However even after 1000 years, their son wasn’t born. Both Shiva and Parvati were locked in their cave for a thousand years and didn’t come out of their cave even for once. They enjoyed their moments of intimacy and were completely lost into each other. The Gods grew anxious and impatient. Finally unable to bear the wait they knocked at their door disturbing their privacy. Shiva came out hurriedly. His golden seed which should have been implanted in Parvati’s womb fell on the ground in front of the Gods. The seed was golden in colour and since born out of Shiva, it carried a fire that could destroy the Universe. Looking at this the God of Fire Agni immediately swallowed the seed, to save the world from destruction. By this time Parvati also came at the door. She was utterly furious at the Gods for disturbing them during their private moments. She cursed Agni for swallowing Shiva’s seed as that seed belonged to Parvati’s womb. She asked all the Gods to leave immediately. The Gods left. Agni was in deep pain because of the seed. Shiva’s seed was so powerful that it completely burnt from inside. Finally he gave up and threw the seed out into the wives of Saptarishis. The wives were sitting in front of a sacrificial fire when Agni spewed out the seed which entered their bodies as heat through their skin pores. Arundhati did not come near the fire and escaped this. The wives were in terrible pain too. None of them carried the capacity to hold Shiva’s seed. Arundhati invoked Shiva to release them from this unbearable pain. By Shiva’s grace all of them vomited the seed out, which flowed through River Ganga. The seed had turned into a golden fetus by now. Finally after a few thousand years a golden boy was born from that fetus.This little boy was the mighty Kartikeya. Kartikeya lay near the banks of Ganga until the six Goddesses from a different constellation saw him. The Goddesses fell in love with the boy the moment they saw him. All of them wanted to mother the child by feeding him. This is when Kartikeyan grew six heads so that he could suck milk from all the six mothers. He was taken to their constellation and he grew up there as their son. They were so much in love with the child that not even for a minute they would leave Kartikeya alone. Meanwhile Parvati had an intuition that the seed which came out of Shiva,must have developed into a child by now. She asked Shiva to enquire about the same and find out where their son might be. This is when Shiva called out for the Gods and after a thorough investigation got to know of Kartikeya’s location. Immediately Shiva asked his tribe to trace Kartikeya and get him to Kailasa. They reached the abode of the Goddess Kritikas and told them to send Kartikeyan to his parents. The Goddesses were disheartened but finally agreed to return him. Kartikeyan received a grand welcome at Kailasa. Parvati made him sit on her lap and would not leave him for a second also. Shiva made him sit on the golden throne. His naming ceremony began. Shiva gave him multiple names as he was brought up by several Gods. He was named Agneya as Agni’s son, Kartikeya as Kritika’s son, Kumara as Ganga’s son, Skanda as Parvati’s son, Shanmukha, as he was six-headed and Guha as Shiva’s son. He was also declared the God of War and was appointed as the chief commander in Shiva’s army. Kartikeya fought Tarkasur and killed him during the fight to restore peace and balance. Once Ganesha and Kartikeyan argued who will marry first. This is when their parents Shiva and Parvati decided to conduct a competition among them. They told both of them that whoever goes around the entire world and reaches Kailasha first will be the first one to marry. Lord Kartikeyan immediately left Kailasha with the aim of covering the Universe first. However Lord Ganesha just circled his parents 7 times and said he has won the race. When Parvati and Shiva asked he said that it was written in Shastras that circling your parents 7 times is as good as moving through the whole world. Lord Shiva was impressed with his intellect and he won the race. Hence Ganesha was married before Kartikeya. When Kartikeya got to know of this he was disappointed and felt his parents did injustice to him. This is when he decided to leave Kailasa and settle in the Karauncha mountains in Southern India. Shiva and Parvati also decided to follow Kartikeya to the South and they settled in the form of Malikarjuna Jyotirlinga there. He later married daughters of Lord Vishnu who incarnated as Valli (a tribal girl) and Devasena (daughter of Indra) Kartiekyan is worshipped in southern India as Lord Murugan and there are several temples dedicated to him.

Art Credit: Shutterstock

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