On the fifth day of Navaratri, Skandamata is worshipped. Her name is derived from Skanda (also known by the name Kartikeya) and mata meaning mother. Hence the mother of the war god, Kartikeya is known as Skandamata. Vishuddha Chakra is her abode. She has four arms and three eyes. She rides on a lion and symbolises bravery.
Skandamata is a depiction of a universal mother and so one of her hands is always placed in the Abhayamudra position. The Abhaya mudra position is known to denote fearlessness, strength, safety and reassurance. Her other hand is placed in a position that depicts her holding her son on her lap. Two of the other hands hold Kamal (lotus flowers). She has a light complexion and has a radiating beauty. She is often drawn or told to be seated on a lotus flower and hence also called a Padmasini. The title “Goddess of Padmasana” comes from this fact only.
Skandamata has a compassionate and cheerful face as she is seen carrying her divine son. Her biggest strength is the love for her son which is nothing but a mother’s love at the end of the day. She is known to bless her devotees wholeheartedly and show them affection which is very close to maternal love. Devotees pray to Skandamata with pure and faithful heart are blessed with various things like power, wealth, love, wisdom, prosperity and moksha (salvation).
Those who pray to her are said to experience peace, calm, satisfaction, blissfulness and composure. She gives her devotees the power of intelligence and converts a person into a sharp and quick-witted being. As we speak of salvation, she gives light to people towards deeper consciousness and a path towards enlightenment.
Let us dive deep into the history of how goddess Durga took the manifestation of Skandamata. Once there was a demon called Tarakasura who was known to create trouble for gods in heaven. He struggled and worked very hard to please Lord Brahma, the ultimate creator to get a boon. As he wanted, Brahma granted him the boon of not being killed by anyone else but lord shiva’s son. Lord Shiva at the time was mourning his first wife Sati’s death. He became a Yogi and retired to the mountains to immerse deeply into meditation.
Tarakasura had become very strong and powerful due to this. One fine day he decided to attack the heavens and cause havoc amongst gods. Everyone was fearful of what would happen next. A worried Parvati pleased lord shiva with her deep penance and got married to him. They gave birth to Kartikeya who later went on to become the chief of the army of gods. He went into the battle with demons and defeated the demon Tarakasura. This is how the god of war, Skanda freed the heavens of the demons, pains, evil and suffering. Parvati, Mata of Kartikeya hence comes to be called Skandamata.
While praying to Skandamata, bananas are offered by her devotees along with fruits, flowers, sweets, rice and water. Red coloured flowers are said to be her favourite type of flowers along with red roses. There is a temple of this goddess situated in Varanasi where thousands of her devotees visit during the pilgrimage.
The goddess of fire, Skandamata Devi’s mantra is “Om Devi Skandamatayai Namah”.