Biographies | Devtaa
Kaarttikeya-1 See also Balaraam's Teerth Yaatraa - Som Teerth; Ganesh
Kaarttikeya's reference comes in Raamaayan, Kishkindhaa Kaand, when Sugreev expresses his doubts as how Raam will kill Baali telling the stories of his might. Then Raam said - "My arrows are made of the material from Shar Van (Kaarttikeya was born here)."
Kaarttikeya is the lder son of Shiv Jee from Gangaa - the elder sister of Paarvatee. The younger son of Shiv Jee is Ganesh Jee from Paarvatee Jee. Kaarttikeya has several names - Shanmukh, Shadmukh, Shadaanan, Skand, Kumaar, Subramanyam.
Birth of Kaarttikeya
Now there was a Van (forest) in the foothills of Himaalaya called Shar Van (forest of reed). She left it there. Its heat melted the ice of Himaalaya, but nothing could flow out on the Earth, because it contained two essentials of Shiv Jee - Amrit (Ambrosia) and Halaahal (poison) which Shiv Jee kept in his throat since Saagar Manthan (churning of Milky Ocean) event. Divinity does not give absolute Amrit or Halaahal Vish to mortals, so they stayed in that Shar Van. That is why nothing flowed out of the Shar Van. As a result each reed stem became a straw and contained both Amrit and Halaahal. And from the same forest Kaarttikeya emerged.
When Kaarttikeya was born, six Krittikaa took care of him and breast-fed him, that is why he is called Kaarttikeya. And since they were six of them and all breast-fed him, it is said that Kaarttikeya developed six mouths to suckle on their breasts. That is why he is called as "Shadaanan", or "Shadmukh", or "Shanmukh". As he was born to kill Taarakaasur, he killed him on the 6th day of his birth. He grew so soon that when he proceeded towards Taarakaasur's city, Taarakaasur didn't believe that Shiv Jee's 6-day old son could be so grown-up so soon.
Account of Birth of Kaarttikeya According to Padm Puraan
Padm Puraan also gives the account of Kaarttikeya's birth. When Taarakaasur was given the Var of being killed by a 6-day old child, he became very powerful and got wild of his powers. He defeated all Devtaa and got control of Indra Lok and Meru mountain. They went to Brahmaa Jee. Brahmaa Jee said, "He can be killed only by a 7-day old child. I had to give this Var to him to stop him from doing Tapasyaa. And this son can be the son of Shiv Jee only. So you go and pray him to marry Himvaan's daughter Paarvatee and produce a son from her for the good of Tri-Lok." Devtaa went there, prayed and requested to marry Paarvatee.
In the meantime Paarvatee had been born to Himvaan's wife Mainaa. Indra sent Naarad Jee to Himvaan to instigate him to marry his daughter to Shiv Jee. Naarad Jee went there. Mainaa came to see him with her daughter and asked about her future. Naarad Jee said - "Her husband is un-born, she is without signs, and her one hand will always be up. Her feet are also not good but their shine will be good." Himvaan got very sad hearing this about his daughter quoting Naarad's statements. Then Naarad smiled and told him the real meaning of his statements. "Her husband will be Shiv. He is un-born, that is why I said that "He is un-born" she has no human signs like lines on palms or feet etc because they are for limited worldly pleasures, she has no such signs because there are no signs for unending married life; her hand will always be up to give Var, that is why I told that "Her one hand will be up"; her feet are red but the shine of her nails show them as white, but when Devtaa will greet her, various gems of their crowns will reflect on them in multicolor, that is why I told you that her feet are not good, but don't take it otherwise." Hearing this Himvaan got very happy.
Naarad Jee went back to Indra to report this and advised him to send Kaam Dev to Shiv Jee to get ready for marriage. Indra called Kaam Dev and asked him to get Shiv ready for marriage. He went to Shiv along with his wife Rati and friend Vasant (spring). He found him sitting in meditation and entered his heart with the sound of bumble bee. Shiv's desires aroused and he remembered Satee, but then he found this a trick of Kaam Dev so he again sat in meditation. Kaam Dev came outside from his body and shot an arrow of mango's flower (Baur) set on a bow of flowers at Shiv's heart. Shiv's heart was pierced with that arrow. He opened his eyes and looked at Kaam Dev. As he looked at him he got burned to ashes. Rati, his wife, came there weeping for her husband. Shiv consoled her saying that her husband will born again and from that moment he will affect the people without body (Anang). Rati went away.
Himvaan was bringing his daughter to marry to Shiv, but on the way he heard the news of Shiv's burning of Kaam Dev, so he got frightened and got ready to go back to his palace. Then Paarvatee Jee said - "Father, There is nothing impossible through Tap. I will do Tap to get Shiv." Although Himvaan was not ready to send her for Tap but a Divine voice changed his mind. So Paarvatee went to do Tap. She took bath three times a day and ate only rose flowers for 100 years; then she ate only one leaf for 100 years; then she left even eating leaves for another 100 years. This gave her the name of Aparnaa.
At this stage Indra sent Saptarshi to Paarvatee to assure her that she would get her desire fulfilled. Saptarshi went to Paarvatee and asked her - "Why are you doing such Tap?" She said - "I wish to get Shiv as my husband that is why I am doing this Tapasyaa." Saptarshi said - "There are two types of pleasures - physical and mental. If you desire for physical pleasure then you will have to be disappointed because his physical appearance is very terrible. Why not you desire for Vishnu who is much better than him." But Paarvatee did not agree for their proposal.
Saptarshi went to Shiv and told about Paarvatee's Tap. They asked him to get ready for marrying her. Shiv expressed his doubt about Himvaan - will he get ready to marry his daughter to him? So Saptarshi went to Himvaan and proposed Shiv for his daughter. Himvaan immediately got ready. Then they went to Paarvatee and sent her home saying that Shiv will marry you next day morning. Paarvatee went back to her palace happily. Next morning Shiv married her, spent a night there, and took her to his place next morning.
He roamed around with Paarvatee for a long time. One day Paarvatee made a figure out of the remnant of her massaging paste, but in playful mood threw it in Gangaa River. That figure grew up in that water immediately. Paarvatee and Gangaa River considered him as their son and Brahmaa appointed him as the Lord of Gan (that is why he was called Ganesh). Then she made a plant and planted it. Brihaspati etc Muni asked her - "What is the fruit of this action?" Paarvatee said - "Who digs a well where there is scarcity of water he lives in Swarg for as many years as the number of drops of water in that well. Equal to the fruit of digging ten wells is the fruit to dig one small pond; equal to the fruit of digging ten small ponds is the fruit to dig one large pond; equal to the fruit of digging ten large ponds is the fruit to donate one maiden and equal to the fruit to donate ten maidens is the fruit to plant a tree." All Devtaa and Rishi etc went away.
Then Shiv and Paarvatee came home. Thus 1,000 years passed. Indra got worried as he was expecting a child from them to kill Taarakaasur. so he sent Agni Dev to check on Shiv. He entered Shiv's palace in the form of a parrot. At the same time he saw that Paarvatee was going to drink water from a pond. As she was about to drink water, she saw six Krittikaa carrying water in a lotus leaf. Paarvatee asked them to give some water to her also. They got ready on the condition that whoever child will be born to her, he will be their son also, he will respect them as his mother. He will be famous in Trilok." Paaravtee agreed and Krittikaa gave her some water to drink.
As she drank it, a child came out of her womb. He had a Power, a lance and an Ankush in his hands. Since he was born to kill Daitya he was named Kumaar. He was born along with branches from the water given by Krittikaa. Thos branches appeared as his six mouths. That is why he was known as Vishaakh, Shanmukh, Shadmukh, Skand, Shadaanan, and Kaarttikeya etc names.
All Devtaa offered him sandalwood paste, garlands, royal umbrella, ornaments etc and appointed him as the army chief of Devtaa's army. At that time Vishnu gave him many kinds of weapons, Kuber gave him an army of 1 million (10 Lakh) Yaksh. Agni Dev gave him grace, Vaayu Dev gave him conveyance. Well equipped Kumaar now asked Devtaa as what he could do for them. Indra said - "Taarak is troubling us, so please kill him." So he followed Indra. Indra sent a messenger to Taarak, "We are coming to fight with you, be ready." Taarak thought "who is this to whom I have not defeated. How come Indra has got such courage. He must have got some backing." He kept thinking and came to conclusion that that 7-day old child must have born to kill him. He got very sad knowing his Kaal coming to him, still he came out of the city and faced Devtaa.
He said to Kumaar - "You are a child, go back." Kumaar said - "I have not come here to discuss Shaastra, come and fight with me." Both fought, many mighty Daitya ran away. But Taarak was killed by the Power Kumaar had. All Devtaa got very happy and went to their Lok.
Account of Birth of Kaarttikeya According to Mahaabhaarat
This story is completely different from both of the above accounts and is interesting to read. There is no mention of Shiv Paarvatee's name, nor there is any reason for his birth, that is to kill Taarakaasur.
The Meaning of Om
Shiv Jee got very happy to know about his son's intelligence. Then Shiv Jee himself explained its meaning in 1,200 thousand (12 Lakh, or 1,200,000) verses. Kaarttikeya said - "It was wrong on my part to say that Brahmaa didn't know."
Shiv Jee understood Kaarttikeya's sarcasm, that he was implying that even Shiv Jee was also ignorant about the meaning of "Om". Shiv Jee got angry at this but was happy too in his heart to see his son's intelligence. He asked - "Then how many meanings are there of this word, Kaarttikeya, you tell me?" Kaarttikeya said - "12 million (1 Crore and 20 Lakh, or 12,000,000)." So such is the intelligence of Kaarttikeya.
Quarrel Between Kaarttikeya and Ganesh
Once Kaarttikeya wrote the highest characteristics of men and women according to "Characteristics Science". At that time Ganesh Jee created obstacles in his writings, so Kaarttikeya got very angry and he uprooted Ganesh Jee's one tooth and got ready to kill him. Shankar Jee intervened and asked the reason of his anger. Kaarttikeya said - "Father, I was writing the highest characteristics of men and women, and he created obstacles in it, so I could not write women's characteristics, that is why I was angry." Shankar Jee pacified him saying - "If you know man's characteristics, tell me which characteristics of man I possess?" Kaarttikeya said - "You have one such characteristic, that you will be known as "Kapaalee" in the world." Mahaadev got angry hearing his son, he threw his "Characteristics Book" in the sea and got disappeared. Later Shiv called Samudra and asked him to write women's characteristics and include Kaarttikeya written men's characteristics in that book." Samudra said - "Whatever I will write, it will be known as "Saamudrik Shaastra" and whatever you have said, it will be done." Shankar Jee said to Kaarttikeya - "Whatever tooth you have uprooted, give it to him. Whatever has happened, it had to happen like this. By the order of Daiv it was not possible without Ganesh, that is why he created obstacle. If you need the Characteristics, you may take from Samudra, but his book of men and women's characteristics will be known as "Saamudrik Shaastra" from now. You fix Ganesh's tooth."
Kaarttikeya said - "By your order I give this tooth in Vinaayak's hand, but he always has to bear this tooth. If he will go here and there without this tooth, this tooth will burn him to ashes." and he gave that tooth in Ganesh's hand. Shiv made Ganesh agree with Kaarttikeya."
Sumantu Muni said - "Even today Ganesh's idol can be seen bearing his tooth in his hand."
Kaarttikeya made a cleavage in Kraunch Mountain with his Javelin. (MBH, Shalya Parv, 46-84)
Festival of Kaarttikeya-Skand Shashthee
Son of Shiv and Paarvatee, the divine incarnation of Skand was to primarily annihilate the demons that had created anarchy on earth and restore Dharm. He was the commander of the army of the Devtaa. A six day battle took place with Demon Surapadm and on the sixth day Murugan killed Demon Surapadm with his "Vel" or lance. Legend has it that Muchukund, a King of South India, was advised by saint Vashishth regarding the correct observances of the Skand Shashthee Vrat. After observing the Vrat, King Muchukund became powerful and famous and the fame of his kingdom spread around the three worlds. It is said that the King became so powerful that Lord Indra took his help to defeat Asur.
The fasting of Skand Shashthee begins on the Prathamaa Tithi after Deepaavalee in Tamil Naadu. The first day after the Amaavasyaa that follows Deepavali. During the fasting period, devotees confine to a single meal. Some people only fast on the Shoor Sanhaar day. The fasting ends with the Tiru Kalyaanam on the next day.
How Murugan Came to Palani
Once Sage Agastya wanted to take two hills as his abode - Shiv Giri and Shakti Giri. So he called one of his disciples Idumban and asked him to carry out this plan. Idumban went, took the two hills slung across his shoulders in his Kaavadee (or Kaanvar - it is like a weighing balance with two plates hung on a stick on its either side). Carrying both of hem on his shoulder he got tired so he kept the Kaavadee in Palani and sat to take some rest.
It was at that time Kaarttikeye was outwitted by his brother Ganesh in the contest to go round the world. Ganesh Jee had won the fruit by simply going round his parents. Kaarttikeya really went around the world and came after long time only to find that Ganesh had already won. Kaarttikeya in frustration left his parents and came to Tiru Avinankudi at Aadivaaram (Aadivaaram means foothills of Shiv Giri). Shiv pacified him that he himself was the fruit (Pazham) of all wisdom and knowledge; that is why that came to be known as Pazham Nee, or Palani. So he settled down on that hill peacefully.
Now when Idumbam tried to lift
his Kaavadee again to take it to his Guru, he could not lift it. Kaarttikeya
was too heavy for him to lift. So a fierce fight took place between them and
Idumbam was killed in that battle, though later he was revived. Idumban
There is a temple of Idumbam halfway of up the hill where all pilgrims are supposed to pay their obeisance to Idumbam befor entering the Temple of Dandaayudhpaani. Since then, the pilgrims to Palani bring their offerings on their shoulders in a Kaavadi. The custom has spread from Palani to all Murugan shrines worldwide.
Created by Sushma GuptaOn 5/27/04
Modified on 10/01/13