Kartikeya – beloved son of Shiva and Parvati and brother of lord Ganesha mirrors perfection. His gallantry granted him leadership of god's forces. He is a god of war who was born to destroy the demons. He is handsome, virile and violent.
He is said to be son of fire, Agni and therefore very Pitta (fiery) in nature. While Ganesh removes all obstacles, Skanda is liable to provide power of spiritual knowledge.
Scriptures portray him ever young boy with golden body and six heads denoting his virtues making him see in all the directions to ensure defense against rage that can hit him.
The war metaphors and the six heads of Kartikeya illustrates that the six demonic vices- kaama (sex), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (passion), mada (ego) and matsarya (jealousy) should be conquered upon if humans want to excel in life.
Kartikeya carries spear called sakti in one hand which symbolizes the destruction of negative tendencies in humans and bless his devotees by the other hand. He rides on the pious peacock that has a snake, symbolic of the ego and desires of people, coiled to the feet.
The peacock represents the destroyer of destructive habits and the captor of physical desires. Thus Kartikeya points towards the accomplishment of reaching perfection in life.
He is worshiped 6 day after Diwali on ‘Skanta Sashti’ to celebrate the victory over Tarakasura and Surapadman. It is a common belief that if one worships Lord Muruga on Friday and keep fast on that day all his wishes will be fulfilled.
The story of the birth of Kartikeya goes like:
Shiva had married daughter of king Daksha named Dakshayani. Daksha used to hate him. Once Daksha performed a yajna and because of his aversion did not invite his daughter and son-in-Law in it. When Dakshayani reached the yajna place by herself, he did not attended her well.
Dakshayani felt humiliated by this and sacrificed her life into the yajna fire. Later, she was born as Parvati - a daughter to Parvataraja. Later when Parvati grew older married Shiva.
Brahma's son Marichi had a son named Kashyapa who had two wives named Aditi and Diti. Aditi gave birth to Indra and other GODS who lived in heaven. Kashyapa's other wife Diti gave birth to wicked DAITYAS or Rakshasas (Demons). They hated gods.
When Taraka was born, the nature sent many bad signals as if he is a terrible omen and indication of that he would cause a lot of trouble to the world. The fear shook the whole earth resulting into storm, disturbances in the oceans and even it shook the mighty mountains. Taraka and Shurapadma grew up in gutsy and tough guys as the time goes by.
Taraka was gritty to conquer the Devas (gods). Seeing it as a challenging job he determined to appease Brahma to get a boon of no death for him, and then challenge the Devas. He began strong tapa (penance) in the Madhuvana forest.
Gods feared on seeing this. They went to Shiva and appealed for help to fend off the attack of the demons. Shiva retorted and six sparks sprang from his central eye, each of which assumed into six infants. These were fed and nursed by the six mothers or Krittikas.
Shiva's wife Parvati took the six infants into her arms. She hugged them affectionately but due to the tight hug the six children were squeezed into one single body with six heads.
Lord Kartikeya is known by several other names as following
1. Kartikeya- For being breast-fed by six Karittika deities
4. Shanmukha- For he has six faces
5. Subrahmanya- Because of his wide knowledge
6. Skanda- He is born from the life-source that slipped ('Skanna) from Shiva
7. Shikhivahana- Because peacock is his vehicle
8. Guha- For he protects his devotees from enemies
15. Kumara- Because he is always a young boy and also killed evil persons
18. Shakti Dhuru
19. Ganga Putra
25. Vel murugan
28. Mahasena- As he gathered and led a huge army to kill the demonsGayatri Mantras of Lord Kartikeya
‘Om Thatpurushaya Vidhmahe
Maha Senaya Dhimahi
Thanno Skanda Prachodhayath’
Om Thatpurushaya Vidhmahe
Maha Senaya Dhimahi
Thanno Shanmuga Prachodhayath’