Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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Read about Karttikeya at Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Mythica or the Urday website.

KARTTIKEYA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] The god of war and the planet Mars, also called Skanda.

He is said in the Mahabharata and Ramayan to be the son of Siva or Rudra, and to have been produced without the intervention of a woman. Siva cast his seed into fire, and it was afterwards received by the Ganges: Karttikeya was the result; hence he is called Agnibhu and Gangaja.

He was fostered by the Pleiades (Krittika), and hence he has six heads and the name Karttikeya. His paternity is sometimes assigned to Agni (fire); Ganga (the Ganges) and Parvatis are variously represented to be his mother.

He was born for the purpose of destroying Taraka, a Daitya whose austerities had made him formidable to the gods.

He is represented riding on a peacock called Paravani, holding a bow in one hand and an arrow in the other. His wife is Kaumari or Sena. He has many titles: as a warrior he is called Mahasena, Senapati; Siddhasena, 'leader of the Siddhas;' and the Yudharanga; also Kumara, the boy; Guha, 'the mysterious one;' Saktidhara, 'spear-holder;' and in the south he is called Subrahmanya. He is Gangaputra, 'son of the Ganges ;' Sarabhu, 'born in the thicket;' Tarakajit, 'vanquisher of Taraka;' Dwadasakara and Dwadasaksha, 'twelve-handed' and twelve-eyed;' Rijukaya, 'straight-bodied.'

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM