The story of Lord Kartikeya’s birth is given in Kumar Sambhavam.Sati, the consort of Shiva immolated herself at the site of the Daksha Yagna, which was later destroyed by Shiva. Sati was reborn as Uma, or Parvati the daughter of the mountain king Himavaan (the Himalayas). Shiva withdrew himself from the universe and engaged himself in yogic meditation in the Himalayas.
In the meanwhile, the demon Surapadma ravaged the earth and tormented its beings. It was realized by the gods that only the son born of Shiva and Parvati could lead the gods to victory over Tarakaasuran, Surapadman and their demon companions. They plotted with Kaama, the lord of desire, to shoot a flower arrow at Shiva, as he sat in meditation, so as to make him fall in love with Parvati. When Kaama aimed his arrow at Shiva, he opened his third eye and burned him to ashes instantly. Upon hearing the pleas of Kama’s wife Rati, he brought back Kama to life, in flesh and blood for her sake, and in a formless state for others.
His penance disturbed, Shiva fell in love with Parvathi. However, the sparks of the fiery seed of Shiva were unbearable; even the fire God Agni could not bear them; this fire was then transported by the river Ganga into the Sara Vana forest, where Sara Vana Bhava (Kartikeya) was born. He was raised by the six Kartika damsels. Parvati combined these six babies into one with six faces, ie. Shanmukha.
He led the army of the devas to victory against the demons.
Kartikeya is also known as Subramaniam, Skanda, Guha, Shadannana or Shanmukha (because he has six faces). He represents a person of perfection. He is the war God, the Hindu equivalent of Mars and Aries. He was created by all the Gods to lead the heavenly hosts and destroy the demons. He is the most masculine and fierce of all the Gods. While Ganesh removes all obstacles, Skanda bestows all spiritual powers, particularly the power of knowledge.
He is worshiped for all problems related to Mars, especially Mangala dosha or Kuja dosha.
The following are the most commonly performed Kartikeya poojas of the Vedic tradition.
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1. Kartikeya Pooja: A full ritualistic pooja of Lord Subramanya is performed with 1008 namavali pooja. It is done specifically in your name with your sankalpa, i.e., your wish.
2. Kartikeya Homam: The above pooja with 1008 Namavali japa plus 1008 Subramanya Moola mantra recital and Homa performed with 1/10 of the japa number, i.e., 108 Moolamantra recital during homa. Ends with poornahuti and shanti mantras. It is done specifically in your name with your sankalpa, i.e., your wish.
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