Lord Kartikeya – The Six-Faced Hindu God of War

Lord Kartikeya and Peacock

Lord Kartikeya is an indispensable part of Lord shiva’s family. Though not worshipped often, his mention in Skanda Purana tells us his crucial role as a deity.  In Skanda Purana and Mahabharata, he has been depicted as the god of war, whereas in other portions of the same book, he has been called a charmer, a young and handsome boy with a supreme knowledge of war and strategies.

He is also worshipped in names: Skanda, Shadanan, Shadmukh, Subramanya, Murugan, and Swami Kumar, especially in the southern part of India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

Birth of Kartikeya

The birth of Lord Murugan was proposed. When Tarakasura acquired a boon from Lord Brahma to be invincible by anyone but Lord Shiva’s seed, his viciousness grew. At the moment, Sati had already left her body, and Lord Shiva was grieving, unknown to the fact that she has been born as the daughter of Himalaya, Goddess Parvati. Parvati was in a prolonged period of austerity to have Lord Shiva as a husband.

After Shiva has married Parvati, he took her to a cave with him to meditate, and their meditation produced a cosmic enigma with a strength no one could hold. On the other hand, Lord Indra and other deities who were eagerly anticipating the birth of the son of Shiva sent Lord Agni to sneak upon them. Outraged by this action of Agni, Goddess Parvati bashed him with the same enigma of energy created before. The ball of fire or energy was so powerful that Agni couldn’t bear it. Thus, he dropped it in the river Ganges. Out of that energy, a child with six heads was born.

The child was Kartikeya; therefore, Kartikeya is also called Agneya or Gangeya. He was taken care of and brought up by six Kritika (a group of stars), thus named Kartikeya. (Read, Science behind the birth of Lord Kartikeya)


Tarakasur was previously known as Tarak, who acquired immense knowledge and power through the worship of Lord Brahma. Kartikeya was born with the purpose of killing this Asura. Kartikeya killed Tarakasura in his very young years. In his dying seconds, he asked Lord Kartikeya for forgiveness and to spare him his life. Knowing it was not possible, he asked Kartikeya to keep him close to him. Lord Kartikeya is seen to carry a flag with a rooster in his hand as an emblem.

Kartikeya and his peacock

Lord Kartikeya and Peacock

Lord Kartikeya is seen riding a beautiful peacock named paravane. The peacock was once an Asura named Surapadman. Lord Kartikeya had a ferocious victory over him, Surapadman conceded to him to spare his life. He spared the Asura his life but manipulated him to become a peacock and be his vahana. He is also known as Murugan for the same reason.

Kartikeya and war

Kartikeya is known as the god of war. He was the Senapati (general) of the army of gods who went on a war with Tarakasur. He has also been said as the god of war by Lord Krishna in Mahabharata. He has six heads which allows him to see in any direction at once to bash all the enemies at once. His six heads are named eesanam, sathpurusham, vamadevan, agoram, sathyojathamand adhomugam. He holds a spear in his one hand also called a vel. It is also a symbol of Kulandini Shakti.

Vel - Weapon of Murugan

He was extremely knowledgeable and extremely skillful in the art of war. He was born for the purpose of war thus he is an invincible warrior on every battlefield.

His marriage

He had two wives: Amritavalli and Saundaravalli, both are considered as daughters of Lord Vishnu. They were born from both eyes. Both of them developed an undying love for him and performed rituals to have him as a husband. Their wedding is celebrated as a huge festival at Tirupparankundram every year in presence of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Indra’s coronation takes place following their marriage.

Lord Kartikeya and His Wife

Kartikeya and Krauch

Once when Lord Kartikeya became angry with his parents, he went to the Krauch Parvata. Despite many pleas of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati he refused to return. Since then it is believed that Parvati visits him every Purnima and Lord Shiva visits him every Pratipada. Thousands of devotees make a pilgrimage to Krauch Parvat every year on these two days.

Worship of Lord Kartikeya

Kartikeya is worshipped on Kumara Purnima which falls on the full moon day of Vijayadashami. A special holiday is celebrated in the southern part of India called Thaipusam. This day is considered the day when Goddess Parvati sent Kartikeya to the vanquish Asura army of Tarakasur. He is also worshipped on the day of Skanda Shashti. Worshipping Lord Kartikeya on these days brings prosperity and protection from evil forces.

Kartikeya in other religion

In Buddhism, Kartikeya is referred to as Sanankumara who is a disciple of Buddha. Gautam Buddha was meditating in a jungle of Sri Lanka where Murugan acted as his protector. Murugan or Skanda is called Wei Tuo in China. The Word Wei Tuo means Protector of Dharma (Religion/living pattern. Murugan was a protector of monasteries.

In China, Murugan is depicted differently. He is believed to be the protector of Buddhism in today’s world.

Whatever be the name or belief he is there to protect you in today’s world as well.