Karttikeya, the commander-in-chief of the celestial army, is also known as Subrahmanya, Skanda, Guha and Kumara. In the southern states of India, Subrahmanya is a popular deity even today. Among the Tamil-speaking people he is better known as Murugan. In the north, he is largely unknown; but he is worshipped in the East, especially in Bengal, where women pray to him for worthy sons. Like Ganesha, he too is a son of Shiva and Parvati, miraculously born. If Parvati created Ganesha, Karttikeya was the creation of Shiva, nurtured by Agni, Ganga and Krittikas in turn. Six headed, twelve-armed and seated on his vahana or vehicle, the peacock, Karttikeya is the symbol of youth, beauty and valour. In the South he also symbolises the supreme wisdom since, according to legend, he taught his father, thereby earning the name of Svaminatha. Karttikeya though usually depicted as a bachelor, is also mentioned as having two wives Valli and Devasena. The story of Karttikeya is found in the Mahabharat, in the Shiva, Skanda and Brahmanda Puranas, and in the Ramayana. Our story is based on the Tamil version of the Skanda-Purana-Samhita.
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