Kartikeya is the Hindu god of war and the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. He is the commander-in-chief of the army of the devas. His brother is the elephant-headed Ganesha. He is also commonly known as Murugan, Skanda, Kumara, and Subhramanya.
- Father: Shiva
- Mother: Parvati
- Brothers: Ganesha
- Wives: Valli and Devasena
An asura named Taraka, the son of Vajranaga, was causing havoc all over the universe. He had pleased Lord Brahma and had asked for the boon that he could only be killed by a son of Shiva. Tarakasura knew that Lord Shiva’s wife Sati had just killed herself in Daksha’s Yagna, so Shiva wouldn’t have a child anytime soon. Thus, this boon made him practically immortal.
The devas, who were being harassed by this asura, approached Brahma for help. Brahma told them that they must persuade Lord Shiva to marry Parvati, the daughter of Himavat and Mena and the incarnation of Sati.
At that time, Parvati was serving Shiva on Mount Kailash. Indra sent Kama, the god of love, to create love between them. When Shiva realized this, he immediately incinerated Kama. Parvati was frightened and returned home. Upon Narada’s urging, Parvati then began penance to please Shiva. Soon, after many incidences, Parvati and Shiva were finally wedded.
(For the full story, see Parvati)
After they married, Shiva and Parvati spent a thousand years together, enjoying each other’s company, often sexually. One day, the gods gathered together on Mount Meru for a discussion. Indra said, “It has been a thousand years and Lord Shiva still hasn’t fathered a son to destroy Taraka. What is delaying him?” Just then, Narada arrived and informed them that Shiva and Parvati were busy in dalliance. The gods decided to approach Vishnu for help. Vishnu told them to be patient and they left.
But a while later, Brahma and the gods returned to Vishnu, who took them to Kailash. Unable to see Shiva, Vishnu asked the Ganas where he is. When the Ganas told him that he has been in Parvati’s room for a long time, Vishnu beckoned for Shiva to come out. Shiva came out and the gods expressed their concern. Shiva gave them his discharged semen. Agni deva then turned into a dove and swallowed the semen.
Meanwhile, when Shiva didn’t return for a while, Parvati came out and saw the gods. She realized what had happened and became enraged. She cursed, “All of you gods have come here for your own desires. You have interrupted my dalliance and taken my Lord’s semen. You have made me a barren woman. Thus, I curse you that all of you and your wives will remain unhappy!”
Saying this, Parvati and Shiva returned to their residence. The gods unhappily returned to their abode. Meanwhile, Agni, who couldn’t the bear the burning sensation caused by Shiva’s semen, approached Shiva for help. He apologized for swallowing the semen and requested for help. Shiva told him to deposit the semen in the womb of good women.
Meanwhile, the wives of the seven Saptarishis had just finished their morning bath. Since it was cold, they set up a fire and sat near its flames. Arundhati, the chaste wife of Vasishta, knew what was going to happen, so she tried to stop them. But the other wives ignored her and gathered around the fire. Immediately, the semen entered their bodies. Agni was now relieved of the burning sensation and the wives of the Saptarishis became pregnant. Unable to tolerate the burning, they deposited the semen, now a foetus, on top of Himavat. But then, Himavat became scorched and hurled it into the river Ganga. The river Ganga deposited the foetus in the nearby forest. Immediately, the foetus turned into a young, handsome boy.
When this happened the Krittikas were passing by to take a bath in the Ganga river. When they saw the boy they were attracted to him. They started caring for him. The boy even sprouted six heads to satisfy all six Krittikas.
Meanwhile, Shiva and Parvati wondered what had happened to the seed. Shiva sent his ganas to search for the boy. After the ganas found the seed as a boy they told the Krittikas to give them the boy. The Krittikas agreed. The shivaganas then went back to Shiva and Parvati. Parvati put the boy (their son) in her lap. Thus, Kartikeya became the son of Parvati and Shiva.
Killing of Tarakasura
Now since Kartikeya was born, the devas attacked Tarakasura and his asura army. The devas and their army proceeded toward the massive army of Tarakasur. While they were proceeding a heavenly voice from the sky said that the devas could only win if Kartikeya was their commander.
The devas requested Kartikeya to become their commander. Meanwhile, Devasena, the adopted daughter of Indra, arrived at the scene. She requested Kartikeya to become her husband. Kartikeya agreed.
Kartikeya was leading all the devas into battle. Tarakasura’s army boasted about how brave and mighty they were.
The battle started and the asuras were dominating. The demons were too strong for the devas. Even Indra could not stand up and was wounded by the enemy’s might. King Muchkunda, a king who was on the devtas’ side was angered by the destruction of the deva’s side. He attacked Tarakasura. In the battle, he got injured and fell to the ground. Angrily he invoked the Brahmastra, but Tarakasura was not affected. Sage Narad told him that Tarakasura had a boon that he would not die by humans. He told Muchkunda to wait for Kartikeya.
Meanwhile, Veerbhadra had caused lots of destruction in the ranks of the demon army. Taraka realized it was not easy to kill him. He used illusionary powers and the devas fled.
Kartikeya then challenged Tarakasura. A huge battle started between the two. After sometime Kartikeya got unconscious. After he woke up he attacked Tarakasura with his Shakti and killed him once and for all. The devas rejoiced.
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