Lord Kartikeya is an integral part of Hindu mythology. As compared to North India, he is much popular in the South. But it’s never too late to learn about the war god. Let’s see some interesting facts about Kartikeya.
In many ancient texts, Kartikeya is called Shanmukha and Shadanana. Shanmukha means one with six faces. Some of the scriptures depicted him with six faces.
Kartikeya stands for ‘of Krittikas’. After his birth, Kartikeya appeared on the banks of river Ganga. In the starry night, the child laid there, looking up at the sky. From the sky, six of the seven brightest stars of the constellation called Krittikas(Pleiades) saw him. The six Krittikas called Śiva, Sambhūti, Prīti, Sannati, Anasūya, and Kṣamā were mesmerized by the mysterious child. Overcome with love, the stars took the form of women and descended upon the earth.
Kartikeya now had six mothers who doted upon him. They always wanted to take care of him, which often resulted in arguments. To solve their dilemma, Kartikeya grew five more heads so that they could nurse and love him equally. The six faces are Eesanam, Sathpurusham, Vamadevam, Agoram, Sathyojatham, and Adhomugam.
It is said that the five heads represent five elements of nature(Shiva), combined with Shakti(Parvati), created Shadanana.
Kartikeya is often described as an eternally youthful and handsome deity. His Vahana Paravani, a peacock, elevates his beauty even more. The peacock was previously a demon named Surapadma. After Kartikeya defeated him in a battle, the demon apologized for the sins he had committed. Kartikeya pardoned Surapadma, making him his vehicle.
This tale is celebrated grandly in the South as Surasamharam. People celebrate this festival at Tiruchendur, where the battle between Surapadma and Kartikeya took place.
In many paintings and scriptures, Kartikeya is always seen holding a flag. The flag has an emblem of a rooster on it. During a battle with the demon Surapadma, Kartikeya was gaining the upper hand. Surapadma knew his end was near. So, he ran away from the fight. Kartikeya went after him.
Surapadma used magic to throw Kartikeya off his trail and transformed into a mango tree. Murugan saw through this illusion. He hurled his vel at the tree, cutting it in half. One part of the tree became a rooster. Since then, the rooster symbolizes Lord Murugan’s army.
Kartikeya’s most preferred weapon is a javelin called Vel. In ancient times, Tamilians used spears during warfare. Tamilian kings and armies used to give a warcry called “Vetrivel! Veeravel!”(“Victorious Vel, Courageous Vel”).
Before his battle with Tarakasura, Goddess Parvati presented Murugan with the vale. Ever since then, Kartikeya has used the vale to destroy evil. Thaipusam festival is celebrated to honour the moment when he received the vel.
Vel is a symbol of knowledge. Only knowledge could win against the evil of ignorance.
Lord Vishnu had two daughters, Amritavalli and Saundaravalli. They both had taken a liking to Kartikeya. They penanced in severe conditions to please him. Pleased with their devotion, Skanda granted them their wish and asked them to have patience.
Amritavalli incarnated as Devsena. As a young girl, she worked under Indra’s protection. Meanwhile, Saundaravalli was born as Valli in the home of Nambiraja. Nambiraja was a hunter who lived close to Kanchipuram.
After defeating Surapadma, Indra advised the war god to get married to Devsena. Kartikeya married Devsena at Tirupparankundram near Madurai. His parents, Shiva and Parvati, along with many gods, attended the wedding. Kartikeya returned with Devsena to Skandagiri.
When Kartikeya was travelling in Tiruttani, he saw Valli. She was looking over her crops. Kartikeya worked hard to win Valli’s heart. In the end, he was successful. He married her in the presence of his brother Ganesha.
Do you know any more interesting facts about Kartikeya that we missed listing here? Do let us know in the comments below.