SKANDA, Six – Headed Son of Shiva – Son of Siva and god of war


skandaSkanda was the six-headed son of Siva, god of war. Skanda can be seen as either sharing his function with Karttikeya, Guha, Kumara, and Subrahmanya or as absorbing them as epithets. Siva‘s son had been the son of Agni, god of fire, in earlier mythology. In the Mahabharata there were several versions of Agni’s paternity of Skanda. In one account of the story of Agni and the frog damsel, Agni had been hiding in the ocean and finally agreed to father Skanda. In another version Agni as the sacrificial fire warmed the wives of the Seven Sages (sapta- rishis) and managed to get six of them pregnant. (For more details see the entries on Krittikas, Karttikeya, and Subrahmanya.) In the standard version Agni’s role was appropriated by Siiva; it was his sperm that impregnated the sage’s wives, having first gone into the sacrificial fire. In both cases, the son is the six-headed warrior. His names preserve some of the main aspect of his mythology: Skanda (fall [of Siva’s seed]), Karttikeya (son of the Krittikas, the Pleiades), Guha (reared in a secret place), Kumara (youth), and Subrahmanya (“favorable to priests”).

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