Kumaarasambhava - The birth of Skanda
Beliefs and Legends >>Shiva, Shakti, Skanda

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This legend narrates the story of the destruction of Kaama by Shiva and the birth of Skanda.

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 was born. He was raised by the six Kartika damsels. Parvati combined these six babies into one with six faces, ie. Shanmukha. Shanmukha, or Kartikeya the supreme general of the devas, led the army of the devas to victory against the demons. The six sites at which Kartikeya sojourned while leading his armies against Surapadman are Tiruttanikai, Swamimalai, Tiruvavinankudi (Palani), Pazhamudirsolai, Tirupparamkunram and Tiruchendur. All these sites have ancient temples glorified by the tamil poems of Tirumurugaatruppadai of the Sangam period (prior to the 3rd century CE).

Tirukkurukkai, in Tamilnadu near Thanjavur, enshrines Kaamari Murthy, the destroyer of Kaama, in the Veeratteswarar temple which is one of the 8 Veeratta stalas celebrating Shiva as the destroyer of evil.