Essence Of
Vamana Purana


12    Kartikeya’s birth and his killings of Asuras like Taraka, Mahisha and Baana
As Agni Deva consumed ‘Suvarnareta’ or the Golden Semen of Bhagavan Mahadeva (vide earlier chapter on Parvati’s wedding to Shiva), Agni became pale gradually losing lustre and Devas approached Brahma for a solution and as advised by the latter, Agni parted the immense weight of the Suvarnareta to Mahanadi Kutila and retained it with her waters and preserved the embriyo of the child; As Agni bore the brunt of the reta for long time, his every body part turned to golden colour and thus gained the epithet of Hiranya reta. As per the instruction of Brahma again, Kutila Nadi changed its course to Udayaachala and in a huge forest of hundred yojanas full of Sharavanas / Sarpatis, left the child on the Sharvana Grass; Bhagavan Kumara started crying like a thunder on the Sky and six Krittika Devis who found the child competed with each other to feed the child from their chests and since they were all competing the child assumed six faces to let them all feed simultaneously with his six mouths thus becoming Shanmukha and as the Six Krittikas brought up the child together attaining the epithet of Kartikeya. Meanwhile Agni and Kutila entered into a controversy and claim about the parentship of the child. Brahma in consultation with Vishnu took the child to Mahadeva who indeed was the Originator of the child who got escatic and called Parvati of their son. As regards the aspect of controversy, Devi Parvati suggested that the best solution would be to ask the child himself and thus as the boy was taken round to Shiva-Parvati-Agni-Kutila-Sharvana-Krittikaas. The child considered the claim of each one of them and assumed the Rupas of Shiva Kumara, Vishakha, Guhya and Skanda by Parvati, Shakha by Kutila, Mahasena by Agni, Kartikeya, Shadaanana and Shanmukha by Krittikaas, and Sharadwata and Sharavana by Shravana.

Bhagavan Shiva then suggested to Brahma to perform ‘Abhisheka Snaana’ at Kurukshetra in the River Saraswati and name the child as Senapati, Devasena and Parama Shiva appointed four Pramatha Ganaas viz. Ghanta- Karna, Lohitaaksha, Nandisena and Kumudamalini; Brahma provided Sthaanu from his own Ganaas and Vishnu gave Samkrama, Vikrama and Parakrama; Indra provided Utkesha and Pankaja, Ravi gave Dandaka and Pingala, Chandra gave Mani and Vasumani, Ashvini Kumaaraas provided Vatsa and Nandi, Agni donated Jyoti and Jjvalajjihva; Dhatu Deva gave Kunda Kusunda and Kusuma; Twashta gave Chakra and Anuchakra; Vedha gave Atisthara and Susthira, Pusha granted Parityajya and Kaalaka Devis and so on. Likewise, Himaalaya, Vindhyachala, Varuna, Samudra, Ambika, Pavana, Amshumaan, Yamaraja, Yaksha Raja, Kaalindi, Narmada, Godavari, Mandakini, Gandaki, Mahanadi, and many such Rivers; Tirthas, Rishis and so on gifted away men, material, Arms, and several other items useful for the Great Battles ahead with Asuraas and took over the status of Senapati while Janaradana himself was present along with Shiva, Brahma, Indra, Agni, Surya, Chandra,Nakshatras, Grahaas and so on along with their spouses, as also Dikpalakas, Sapta Rishis, Yaksha, Kinnara, Apsaras, Ekadasa Rudras, Dwadasha Adityas, Aswini Kumaras, Marudganas, Vasus and Nagas.

The news of Kartikeya’s assuming the status as Deva Senapati reached Patala Lokas got spread out even as Skanda instructed his Ganaas to descend to Prithvi; as the Ganas came down, huge noises were heard and the highly valiant Asura Viraas like Mahisha, Taraka, Virochana, Jambha, Kujambha and others heard the same and assembled at the place of Andhakasura to discuss about the development. Just at that time, a Sukara Rupa Daitya named Patalaketu came into the Conference and reported that a Manava Rupa chased him with his arrows shouting ‘ Stop Stop’ and there were innumerable such Rupas around on Prithvi; Patalaketu jumped in the Dakshina Samudra and through a hole entered Patala and arrived at the Conference. As this was heard from the Asura, some of the members felt that Manavas and Devas were seeking to target Mahishasura and Tarakasura. Even as the discussions were going on, Kartikeya Ganas and Matrikas attacked when Asuras were taken aback completely caught unawares. The huge influx of Devas entered with Sthaanu Deva in the lead and started killing the Asuras in all directions. Quickly grouping their Army, the Asuras defended initially and took up the battle in right earnestness and decided to attack. But the Ganaas sliced the necks of countless Asuras; Shadkukarna dragged Danavaas in sizeable number; the Gana Swami Pushpadanta cut off the bodies of Danavas into two or four or mulitple parts; Shakatachakraaksha and Panchasikha were engaged in drubbing ‘Mushtighaats’ or powerful fisfulls with both their powerful arms to pound elephants and turning chariots to smithereens; Shodasaaksha chased Mahishasura for a while but the latter having taken a vantage point retalliated and ended him up. Similarly Taraka took to offensive and tormented Pramathas and Matru Shaktis; Mahishaasura then defeated and even hurt many Pramathas and having spared and ignored them proceeded fast towards Kumara but Suchakraaksha Ganeswara encounterd Mahisha and having lifted his chariot wheel intercepted the mighty Asura. However, Banaasura with his thousand hands overpowered Suchakra and tied him to his own chakra but with Suchakra saved himself; Makaraakhsha of the Ganaas too got defeated at the hands of Banasura.

Meanwhile Tarakaasura lifted his enormous sword and ran behind Ganeswara ganaas who in turn took refuge from Skanda Deva; as Tarakasura attacked Kumara face to face in a direct confrontation, Skanda Deva lifted up his Maha Shakti which directly hit Taraka’s heart and the most deadly Asura who plagued the Suras for centuries fell to ground with a thud.This great extermination of Tarakasura the notorious and one of the cruellest enemies of the World againstVirtue and Justice was unbelievable to Mahishasura ran for life to Himalayas, while Banasura too got demoralised and shocked and retreated towards the Sea displaying his back to the battle field. Eventually, Skanda Deva alighted his Mayura Vahana and left for Krouncha Parvata. The spiteful Mahishasura too left Himalayas and reached Krouncha Parvata where he hid himself in a cave and as soon as Kumara arrived, Brahma- Vishnu -Maheswara as also Indra arrived there too. Indra asked Kartikeya to complete the task of killing Mahishasura too but Skanda hesitated since Mahisha was his cousin brother, but Indra tried to convince Skanda and there was a difference of opinion and there was even a bet as to who could take a faster pradakshina of the mountain by foot; since again there was an argument about who did the pradakshina first, Vishnu gave the judgment that Indra did it first; then Kumara out of anger more due to his defeat rather than anger for the Daitya, pulled up the Shakti Astra and killed Mahishasura.

As Skanda was remorseful to have killed Mahishasura, Vishnu advised Kartikeya to atone, if the boy’s conscience was hurting, to perform Tirtha Yatra and take bath in the Pradyuka Sarovara which like a Kuthaara or axe would demolish his sins especially of committing of the murder of a cousin brother. Vishnu further advised Skanda that he could as well secure his father Shankara’s darshan there. As advised Kumara did the Tirtha Yatra, secured Maheswara’s darshan as also the boon of bestowing Shakti to cut off the thousand hands of Banaasura. Having decimated Banaasura too along with Ganesha,both the brothers prostrated before Shiva.

Andhakasura’s passion for Gauri and her retalliation: On hearing the momentous news in the Paatala Lokas that Maha Deva Putras named Skanda and Ganesha killed Mahaasuraas like Tarakasura, Mahishasura and Banaasura, Andhakasura got rattled and infuriated; he mobilised an army towards Devalokaas and on way in Prithvi sighted Gauri Devi moving about in a flower garden and conveyed to Daitya that his life would have no meaning or motive to live if he could not secure her somehow! Prahlada who too was in the Battle-Party conveyed to Andhaka that Devi Gauri was none else than Maha Deva’s Dharmapatni and that he should not even to think on such sinful lines! Prahlada stated: Varam Praanaastyaajya na cha pishunavaadeshyabhirati, Veeram mounam kaaryam na cha vachana muktam yadanrutam/ Varam kleebairbhaaryaam na cha parakalatra –abhigamanam, Varam bhikshaarthitwam na cha paradhanaaswaadamasakrut! (It would be better to commit suicide but one should be interested on the illegal possesions of others; it would be better to keep dumb than speak lies; it would be better to become impotent rather than desire a woman of others; it would be better to beg rather than steal other’s money again and again!) But Andhakasura was fired up the passion and fixation and replied angrily that after all, she might be the mother of hisShatrus of enemies and ran away towards her even as his soldiers pelted stones from their yantraas or machines but an alert Nandi Deva hurled them back and retalliated with his parighaas as Daityas like Mayasura ran away, but Andhakasura attacked Nandi and made him unconscious. On finding this occurrence, Devi Gauri assumed thousand Rupas and shattered the strong-hold of the Daitya infantry. Andhakasura wondered as to who this beautiful yet dreadful woman was and pat came the reply: Na parijnaatavaamstatra kaa tu saa Girikanyakaa, Naatraascharya na pashyanti chatvaaromi Sadaiva hi/ Na pasyatih Jaatyandho Raagaandhopi na pashyati, Na pashyanti Madonmattho lobhaakraanto na pashyanti, Sopashyamaano Girijaam Pashyannapi tadaandhakah! (As thousand faces of Gauri Devi were displayed suddenly, Andhaka got confused as to who precisely was Gauri Devi among these; the reply was that in the World, there could be four kinds of blind fools: some were born-blind, some owing to infatuation, some others were out of arrogance and conceit and yet others were highly narrow-minded! And that was whyAndhakasura was disabled to identify Maha Devi!) Gauri Devi gave a mighty punch to Andhaka and he fell down unconscious. While his entire army got prepared to attack, Ganeshwara appeared at once along with Gauri Devi with her several Rupaas as he touched the feet of his mother joined the thousand strong Devis in the fray; as the Asuras were mercilessly slaughtered, a frightened Andhasura ran for his life to Paatala but continued still to be tormented with the crush and passion for the Devi!

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