After Devi Parvati defeated Jatukasura in the form of Ma Chandraghanta, Tarakasura’s worries soared. The boon of protection that he received from Lord Brahma, that he would only be defeated by the son of Lord Shiva, was about to turn into his boon of doom.
The son of Lord Shiva and Shakti that everyone was eagerly waiting for would need extraordinary strength, wisdom and valour. The severe austerities that both Lord Shiva and Ma Parvati undertook was to pour all of their Tapas Shakti into the creation of such a being, the One who would indeed defeat the invincible Tarakasura.
It so happened that when both Lord Shiva and Ma Parvati were meditating, a flame set forth from both their foreheads and merged to form a great fiery ball of fire. Lord Shiva instructed Agni to carry the fire to a safe place. The ball of fire was so hot that even Agni, the very personification of Fire, could not carry it( such was the Taposhakti of Lord Shiva and Ma Parvati). He dropped the ball of energy into the river Ganga. The energy of fire was too much for Ma Ganga to carry, and She then placed it in a forest of reeds called ‘Saravana’ or ‘Sarkanda.’
As soon as Ma Ganga placed the fiery ball on the reeds, a beautiful baby emerged. The six of the seven brightest stars of Kṛttikā nakshatra (Pleiades constellation) set eyes upon Him. The baby was so beautiful that He strongly invoked the motherly instinct in them. These stars, personified as his mothers, all wanted to take care of him and nurse the baby. The dispute ended when the baby grew five more heads in order to have a total of six heads so that he could look at all six mothers and let them each nurse one aspect of him.
The baby came to be known as Skanda since he was found in the ‘Sarkanda’ reeds. Skanda is derived from skand-, which means “to leap or to attack”.
In Kalidasa’s epic poem Kumarasambhava, as in most versions of the story, the Gods wished for Skanda to be born in order to destroy the demons Taraka, Simhamukha, and Surapadma. The brothers had been granted a boon that they could be killed only by Shiva’s son (Skanda was purely born of Shiva and Shakti’s seed). Lord Skanda is known by many names. Kartikeya, because He was brought up by Krittikas. Gangeya, because Ma Ganga gave Him refuge. Saravana Bhava, because He took birth among the reeds of White lotuses. He is also called Kumara, because He is ever-youthful. He is an epitome of beauty, grace, youthfulness and all things good in life. As Gauri’s son, He is also called Gauri Tanaya. In Southern India, he is very popular as Muruga and Subrahmanya. Skanda also means one who stops, or destroys. He destroys our suffering.
After a while, Ma Parvati visited the forest of reeds and took the child in Her loving embrace. Skanda’s childhood exploits in Kailasha have references in many Puranas. He is the brother of Ganesha. He is said to have given an Upadesha about the meaning of Pranavam to Lord Shiva Himself, also gaining the name, ‘Swaminathan– the One who has been a master to Swami.’
When the time came for Skanda to take on Tarakasura, He received great weapons from Lord Shiva in 11 of His hands. In His twelfth hand, Ma Parvati gave Him the Shakti weapon, popularly called ‘Vel’. She guided Him astutely during His battle with Tarakasura. Skanda is often lovingly referred to as Vel Murugan.
On the 5th day of the Navratri, Ma Durga is invoked as Skandamata, the mother of Kumar Kartikeya or Skand Kumar, the elder brother of Lord Ganesh.
Skanda represents the coming together of Jnana Shakti (power of knowledge) and Kriya Shakti (power of righteous action). Skandamata is that form of the Divinity that brings practical wisdom and action together.
The Shiva Tattva is the blissful principle, ever calm and disengaged from action. The Devi Tattva (Mother Divine) is the primordial energy responsible for action and activity in creation.
It is said that the Devi represents the confluence of Iccha Shakti (power of intention), Jnana Shakti (power of knowledge) and Kriya Shakti (power of righteous action). When the Shiva Tattva unites with these three powers, then what emerges is Skanda.
Skandamata represents the very origin of Jnana (knowledge) and Kriya (the principle of action or activity). It can be understood as Kriyatmak Jnana (knowledge in action or action driven by right knowledge).
We often say that the divine is manifest everywhere and is omnipresent; but when you have a difficult situation to deal with in your life in the present moment, what do you do? What knowledge would you use then? In order to resolve the problem, you need to act, you need to put knowledge into action. So, when you take action that is guided by knowledge, it is the Skanda Tattva that manifests. And Goddess Durga is considered as the mother of the Skanda Tattva.
Seated on a lotus, the fair complexioned Ma Skandamata affectionately cradles Her son, the infant Skanda or Kartikeya on Her left thigh with Her right hand. She holds lotuses in Her other two hands and the fourth displays the Abhay mudra. In this form, Mother Divine does not hold any weapon. Her three lustrous eyes radiate maternal love for all Her children. Since she sits on a lotus flower while meditating, taking the name Padmasani, Her fair-complexion earns Her the name’ Shubhra’.
Ma Skandamata is extremely protective of Her devotees like Her own children and rides a lion to slay their internal and external demons in the same way. She empowered Kumar Kartikeya to kill Tarkasura!
She is a highly benevolent form of Nava Durga. It is said that worshipping Her automatically confers the blessings of worshipping the powerful and ever-pleasant Lord Skanda too, since He is seated on Her lap in this form.
The iconography of Ma Skandamata with a six-headed baby Shanmukha, in Her lap signifies that one can invoke Her even when immersed in the world of material responsibilities. Devi Skandamata is the mother of the six systems of knowledge or philosophy – Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Vedanta, and Mimamsa. They are the six limbs of the Vedas or body of knowledge.
There is special importance given to Sri Skandamata in various chapters of Sri Durga Saptashati.
Worshipping Goddess Skandamata is known to have immense spiritual benefits. She is forever eager to bless Her devotees with all the fortunes and prosperity in very mysterious ways. Being a mother to Lord Skanda, Her affection is always abundant towards her devotees. When called upon by Her children with love and sincerity, she immediately graces them by destroying all their obstacles. She is an embodiment of motherly affection; she protects the motherhood of all mothers, blesses with a good progeny and is the slayer of inner demons. The epitome of motherhood, she doesn’t turn away anyone empty-handed.
Chanting her mantra helps you attain success and desired growth in all your endeavours. It provides the inner strength and ability to deal with any difficulty in life.
With her Abhaya mudra, those who seek Her refuge, can rest assured of Her divine protection and feel Her motherly embrace of love and affection.
🌸The worship of Maa Skandamata confers the boon of good progeny.
🌸This form of the Mother removes aggressive tendencies.
🌸She resolves fights between arch enemies.
🌸She protects in litigations and issues involving the police.
🌸She also heals rashes and skin disorders.
🌸She blesses Her devotees with material comforts and abundance.
🌸She grants peace, happiness and harmony in family life.
🌸She bestows upon us the strength to fight our inner demons.
Today, take a vow to be guided by your inner Self in all your actions. The centre of your being is the abode of the Divine Mother, seek Her refuge there.
On this Path to spiritual growth and discovering our own truth, given to us by the nine forms of the compassionate Ma Durga, we now learn about the divine aspects of Devi Skandamata, the Goddess who Nurtures Divinity.
But, before that, let’s step back and calibrate the steps we have taken so far and summarise the Path.
First, we are inspired by Devi Shailaputri to learn the sacred scriptures, then by Devi Brahmacharini to undertake sadhana, then by Devi Chandraghanta in an effort to purify ourselves in such a way that all our actions become Tapasya and we are pregnant with divinity within like Devi Kushmanda.
The fifth Navadurga, Devi Skandamata, supports and nurtures our divinity, enabling our divine nature to blossom as our love and compassion envelopes everything we touch.
Ma Parvati married Lord Shiva for the purpose of blessing the Devas with a commander-in-chief to lead the forces of unity in the war between the asuras and devas.
The word “Mata” means Mother. Skandamata Devi is the Mother of Skanda, the Commander of the forces of Divine Light.
She is our dearly Beloved Mother, who tenderly guides us on the path – just like our very own mother. She represents the energy of self-restraint and discipline, as a warrior’s strict and rigorous life. A warrior knows how to utilise anger for positive results.
Anger and rage exist within all of us. Anger arises when there is a need to protect our boundaries. It is important that we use anger wisely in the correct space and time to annihilate our inner demons.
Skandamata is the form of the Mother that can move from a calm restrained state to intense anger to protect her children.
In the human body, she resides in the Visuddha chakra (throat).
When this Chakra is balanced, we have open communication, speak truth and listen patiently.
When it is under active our emotions are suppressed, and we don’t communicate freely. With the grace of Skandamata Devi, we come to experience divinity in everything and everything becomes an expression of the divine.
Tantric invocation: Mritsanjivani, Sumukhi, Chamunda
One of the nine Tantric forms of Devi is invoked as Chamunda, Mritasanjivani, and Sumukhi as per the Durga Tantra and Vamkeshvara tantra. Devi Chamunda derived her name after slaying the twin demons “Chanda” and “Munda”. Her energy transforms tragedy into a higher vibration without covering it up in denial. Acknowledging your pain is a catalyst for radical healing.
Call out to Devi Chamunda by chanting her subtle yet powerful mantra which protects, heals and blesses her devotees with success, creativity, self-confidence and a burst of joy arising out of the sublime union with the Divine Mother. The sacred invocation of her potent mantra turns your body into a cauldron of creation, acting as a cleansing and balancing agent to clear your physical and subtle bodies of pain, suffering, fear, sadness and all negative external influences.
May the grace of Devi Skandamata descend upon you!
⛰️Om Devi Skandamatre Namaha⛰️
🌸Jaganmatruke Pahimam! 🔱
🔱Om Namashchandikaye! 🔱