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How Did Kartikeya Become Swaminatha?

How Did Kartikeya Become Swaminatha?

Kartikeya is called by many names such as Skanda, Murugan. One such unique name is Swaminatha. The name is a composite of two words – Swami = Teacher and Natha = God.

Since the tales from ancient times, we have seen a common theme of how knowledge can be a powerful tool. Despite our age, we remain in the role of student, standing in front of the vast sea of wisdom. Only a good teacher can give us this knowledge which would influence our lives later on. The following story tells us that, however well-learned we are, it’s never too late to learn.

From childhood, Kartikeya’s parents, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati knew that he was meant for the greater good. To achieve it, he needed to gain more insight into the world. For this task, who was better than the creator of the universe, Lord Brahma?

They turned to Brahma and requested him to teach Kartikeya. Brahma agreed and took Skanda under his guidance. As the day went by, the child spent time with the creator, learning the secrets of the universe.

One day, during a lesson, Kartikeya’s mind was on something else. Brahma asked what had caught his attention. Kartikeya politely asked him the meaning of Om. This question put Brahma in a dilemma. He didn’t know how much of Om a child could grasp.  Yet, Brahma tried his best to answer the question.

Skanda wasn’t satisfied by the answer. Brahma told him to seek Shiva. Kartikeya went to the Kailash Mountains and asked the same question. Lord Shiva smiled and said that even he couldn’t answer the question. Kartikeya was amazed how no one could answer such a simple query.

He stood up on his toes, whispering in Shiva’s ear that he knew the meaning of Om. Shiva smiled at the child, requesting him to share the explanation. Skanda declined the request, saying, “You have to put me on the same status as your Guru (Teacher).”

Parvati laughed, but Lord Shiva found his request intriguing. So, he decided to play along. He picked Kartikeya up and placed him on his shoulders.

Shiva said, “ Now, you are in a higher position than me. From today onwards, I accept you as my Guru (Teacher).”

Overjoyed with this honour, Kartikeya narrated the meaning of Om in Shiva’s ear. He said that the three primary deities Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (Shiva), are contained in Om. Om also encloses the world they created.

Kartikeya’s answer was met with the sudden silence. Both his parents were awestruck. They couldn’t comprehend how a young mind like Kartikeya could know the essence of Om.

Shiva praised Kartikeya for his wisdom. Parvati was filled with immense pride. Smiling, she said to Kartikeya, “ You are so brave my son. Now you have become Swami to my Nath (Husband).” Since then Kartikeya is called Swaminatha.

Guru-Shishya (disciple) relationship has been common around the world since ancient times. Hindu Mythology is not new to this. This tale of Swaminatha is another striking example of it.

Click here to read 5 Interesting Facts About Lord Kartikeya.

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