Archive for the ‘Skanda Sashti’ Category


Monthly Shasti

Lord Muruga (aka Skanda) is a popular Hindu deity especially among Tamil Hindus. Lord Skanda is son of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati and younger brother of Lord Ganesha. God Skanda is also known as Murugan, Kartikeyan and Subramanya.

Sashti Tithi is dedicated to Lord Skanda. Devotees observe fast during “Shukla Paksha” Sashti day. As to “Skanda Sashti Vratam”, the day when “Sashti Tithi” is combined with “Panchami Tithi”, it is observed. Hence “Skanda Sashti Vratam” might be observed on Panchami Tithi.

Skanda Sashti is also known as Kanda Shashti.

The Hindu is sunrise-sunrise, i.e., it begins with sunrise. Therefore, the monthly Shasti fasting begins at sunrise. It is broken the next day at sunrise after offering obeisances to Lord Surya. Aspirants go to Murugan Temple on Shasti.

Fasting
According to the Hindu scriptures, “fast” refers to complete fast, i.e., without food and water. And, of course, no siesta, entertainment, watching movies, tittle-tattle, unnecessary travelling, reading the dailies and engaging in humdrum things that usually take our minds away from God and spiritual living.

However, not everyone might be able to observe a full fast owing to his constitution and other congenital debilities, for instance. They shall subsist on water and fruit throughout the day; but the point to note is, that too should be once a day. That is to say, there should only be one meal a day: either at noon or at moonrise.

But what about those who are not even able to do this, especially those who have not observed any spiritual discipline, viz., vegetarianism, vratas (=observance of vows and austerities)? People of this category are, apparently, those who are not inherently spiritual or have a spiritual or religious bent of mind, but take to the vrata for a reason. Even they have a place in this vrata. Lord Sri Krishna Paramatma has declared in Gita 7:16

Chaturvidhaa bhajante maam janaah sukritino’rjuna;
Aarto jijnaasurartharthee jnaanee cha bharatarshabha.

“Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna! They are the distressed, the seeker of
knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the wise, O lord of the Bharatas!”

The Lord who regards the wise “is dear to (Him)” [Gita 7:17], does not however make light of the efforts of the remaining three categories of people for He says on Gita 7:18 “Noble indeed are all these”.

In other words, even if one cannot observe the full fast, or even subsist on single water/fruit meal, one stands to benefit from the vrata if one does what one can within one’s abilities. People who are not vegetarians, on this score, eat only vegetarian meals during shasti. Nonetheless, the other rules, consumption of non-vegetarian food and indulging in the usual activities like those mentioned in the earlier paragraph are strictly proscribed for everyone.

In order to fully engage in spiritual activities, aspirants read and study Skanda Purana or any authoritative texts that concern Lord Murugan. It is a must for aspirant to recite Kanta Shasti Kavasam in the morning and once in the evening.

Shanda Shasti Vratham in the Month of Aipasi (October/November)
Skanda Shasti or Kanda Shasthi Vratham is an important observance dedicated to Lord Muruga. It is observed in the Tamil month of Aippasi. Devotees fast (the way that it has been mentioned in the earlier paragraphs) during these 6 days. Athough all Shashti is dedicated to Lord Murugan but “Shukla Paksha Sashti” during lunar month Kartika (which is during Solar month Aippasi or Karthikai) is the most significant one. Devotees observe six days fast which lasts on Soorasamharam day. Next day after Soorasamharam is known as Tiru Kalyanam.

The day after Soorasamharam is known as Subramanya Shashti which is also known as Kukke Subramanya Sashti and falls during lunar month Margashirsha.

The following are some general rules to observe during these six days:

  • Non-vegetarian food is completely avoided during the period.
  • Avoiding garlic and onions. (Please refer to the article on “Garlic and onion”). For those, especially those who are new to vratas, and who are not vegetarians may not strictly observe this rule. Still and all, the food that they offer the Lord as prashad should not contain these two vegetable. (Again, refer to the article on them.)
  • Recite Skanda Shasti Kavasam in the morning and evening.
  • Go to Lord Murugan’s temple or any temple where He is. (If this too is not possible, visit any temple, leastways).
  • A single meal a day. (For those who cannot observe this—refers to “people who are new to this vrata”—may eat their usual meals; but only vegetarian or water/fruit meal.

Medical Benefits
Besides its spiritual benefits, Shasti vratam has various medical benefits too. It cleanses the body of all impurities, and cures the body of a lot of dangerous diseases.

Other Miscellaneous Information about the Vratam

When “Panchami Tithi” ends or “Shashti Tithi” starts between sunrise and sunset then both Panchami and Sashti are conjugated and this day is chosen for Skanda Sashti Vratam. This rule has been mentioned in Dharmasindhu and Nirnayasindhu. Many Murugan temples in Tamil Nadu, including famous Sri Subrahmanya Swami Devasthanam in Tiruchendur, follow the same rule and Soorasamharam day is observed one day before Sashti Tithi if on previous day Sashti Tithi is combined with Panchami Tithi.

Temples Dedicated to Lord Murugan

Following six abodes, which are known as Arupadaiveedu, are the most important shrines for Murugan devotees in Tamilnadu, India.

  1. Palani Murugan Temple (100 km south east of Coimbatore)
  2. Swamimalai Murugan Temple (Near Kumbakonam)
  3. Thiruthani Murugan Temple (84 km from Chennai)
  4. Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple (10 km north of Madurai)
  5. Sri Subrahmanya Swami Devasthanam, Tiruchendur (40 km south of Thoothukudi)
  6. Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple (10 km south of Madurai)

Marudamalai Murugan Temple (a suburb of Coimbatore) is another important shrine.

Kukke Subramanya Temple, near Mangalore, Karnataka, India is also very famous shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan

End Note

It must be noted that ‘Vrat’ or ‘Vratam’ in Sanskrit means ‘vow.’ Vratam should not be misunderstood as mere fasting. By observing a Vratam a person is trying to purify his mind through meditation, worship and by sticking to some ‘vow’ that he/she has taken. Now, this vow can include fasting, not telling lies, not getting anger etc. A vratam should be seen as a deliberate attempt on your part to bring back discipline into your life.

Fasting should be voluntary and it should not be done unwillingly. If you are taking medicines, do not observe intense fasting and stick to the routine suggested by your doctor.


Beloved Immortal Selves!


Skanda Shasthi is the six-day-worship of Lord Skanda or Karttikeya. He is the spiritual son of Lord Siva. Lord Skanda is worshipped with intense devotion by a very large section of people throughout Southern India and Sri Lanka as well.

The origin of Lord Skanda, the purpose of His Avatara and its significance are of much importance to all seekers after Truth. During the battle between the Asuras and the Devas, the latter were defeated several times by the former. The Devas were unable to resist the onslaught of the Asuric forces. Then, in despair, they approached Lord Siva and entreated Him to give them an able Leader under whose heroic lead they might obtain victory over the Asuras. They surrendered themselves completely and prayed to Lord Siva sincerely. The gracious Lord granted their request by creating the Mighty Divine Warrior, Lord Skanda, out of His Divine Power or Achintya Sakti. This great son of Lord Siva at once assumed leadership of the celestial forces, originated them, inspired them and attacked the Asuric forces. The Asuras were routed and a glorious victory was gained by the Devas. Thus it was through the able guidance and leadership of Lord Skanda that the Divine forces obtained victory over the demoniacal.

The inner life of the spiritual aspirant is precisely such a constant struggle between the divine and the demoniacal aspects in him. The seeker’s Sadhana is this determined battle against the Asuric forces that try to drag him down into deeper darkness and take him away from his ideal. At times he becomes so totally helpless under the violent attacks of his lower nature that it seems as if all hope of progress is doomed to failure. He feels that he has fallen, never to rise again. But, let all Sadhakas take heart that the compassion and grace of the Divine Lord is never-failing. It will never let you down. ‘Nil desperandum’ should be your guiding motto, for, the eternal law is “darkness cannot stand before light.”

Make a whole-hearted surrender at the feet of the Divine even as the Devas surrendered to Lord Siva. And like them pray earnestly with Bhava and sincerity. The divine help will surely come, and in your heart there will spring up the routing torrent of Divine Sakti. The Lord’s grace will become manifest to you in the form of inner Soul-force. This power is the Skanda manifest in inner being to aid in your battle against the lower Asuric self with its devilish minions like passion, anger, greed, jealousy, falsehood, deceit, cruelty and thousand other aspects of evil. No more are you helpless! The descent of the Divine Grace with this Atma Bala, with this Skanda Sakti, will vanquish all the undivine forces that attack you on the spiritual path and emerge triumphant and victorious. You achieve your life’s goal.

Therefore Lord Karttikeya is the very embodiment of the Divine Grace. He is the personification of the Daya Sakti, or Kripa Sakti of the Lord. The grace of the compassionate Lord, when prayerfully and sincerely invoked, manifests as such irresistible Divine Power that all Asuric forces fly away in holy terror at its mere approach. The Lord’s Grace is the ultimate resort and unfailing support in the inner warfare of everyone’s spiritual life, of all struggles. The significance and the spiritual message embodied in Skanda Avatara is the message of Supreme importance of self-surrender, the Supreme efficacy of sincere prayer and the unfailing compassion of the Lord. If you truly surrender yourself to the Lord with Bhava,

He will at once shower His Grace upon you. No real prayer from the bottom of your heart will remain unanswered. If you obtain the Lord’s grace, you will certainly succeed and overcome all obstacles and annihilate the force of darkness, that stand against you. There is no force that can stand against the Supreme Power of Divine Grace.

Take shelter at the Lord’s feet Pray to Him earnestly and invoke His aid and obtain His grace and compassion. Emerge triumphant and victorious. Attain the lofty and glorious spiritual state of freedom, perfection and bliss. Upon this joyous occasion of Skanda Shashthi, when you are all celebrating the victory of the Lord over the demon, Tarakasura, the powerful leader of the Asuras, remember these great truths and be courageous. Surrender yourself afresh at His feet.

May the glorious Lord, Skanda, inspire you all and infuse in you with inner spiritual strength! May He lead you all to victorious triumph against the demons of nescience and worldliness!!

May He bless you all!!!


Kanda Shasti Kavasam is composed by Devaraya Swamigal. This is a rare and valuable treasure that helps one to be successful in day-to-day life.

In Kanda Sasti Kavacam the author prays to Lord Muruga to shower His grace. It is certain that by regular chanting of this kavacam all the predicaments of life are resolved. People without children will enjoy .. Prosperity and plenty will abound. Peace will prevail at home. The devotee who reads it will enjoy every good fortune under the sun. As a warrior going to battle puts on armour to protect himself, the Kanda Sasti Kavacam also helps one to be safe in day-to-day life.”

A few words about Sashti

Sashti is the day the Lord Subramanya defeated the demon Soorapadma and saved the Earth from his evils. When the devas couldn’t tolerate the evil doings of this demon, they approached the younger son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The kind Lord went on a war against Soorapadman. The war was waged for six days, at the end of which the Lord vanquished the asura. He threw his weapon at him and Soorapadman was split into two halves. One half became a peacock, which He took as His vaahana. The other became a cock and was transformed into his flag.

The devas, who were tormented by Soorapadman, rejoiced – they praised the Lord and prayed to him for six days. Devotees usually narrate the kanda sashti kavacham, during this period. Whoever fasts for these six days of Skanda Sashti and prays to Lord Muruga steadfastly, it is said that they would get the blessings of Lord Muruga. Those who are unable to fast for a whole day for a six-day duration, can eat just one meal during this period.

Kural Venpa … Prayer

Thuthiporkku val vinai pom, thunbam pom
Nenjil pathiporkku selvam palithu kadithongum
Nishtayum kaikoodum
Nimalar Arul kanthar sashti kavacham thanai
The sufferings great will vanish for those who pray,
The riches will increase for the faithful and earnest devotees,
All penance will surely bear fruit,
By this Sashti Kavacham written by the grace of God.

Kaappu … Protection

amarar idar theera amaram purintha
kumaranadi nenjeh kuri.

Mind, oh mine, meditate
On the feet of that Young God,
Who waged the war,
To end the problems of devas, great.

The Kavacham .. Armour

sashtiyai nokka saravana bavanaar
sishtarukku uthavum sengkathir velon
paatham irandil panmani sathangai
geetham paada kinkini yaada
maiya nadam seiyum mayil vahananaar (5)

Kayil velal ennai kakavendru uvandu
Vara vara vela yuthanar varuga
varuga varuga miyoloan varuga
Indiran mudhala Endisai potra
mandira vadivel varuga varuga (10)

Welcome to thee Oh, Lord,
Who rides on the peacock,
Who comes to help his devotees,
Who comes accompanied by sweet songs,
Who comes with pleasing sound of ringing anklets,
Made by numerous bells tied to your feet.
And I pray Lord Saravana Bhava,
To bless this poem on Sashti.

vaasavan maruhaa varuha varuha
nesak kuramahal ninaivon varuha
aarumuham padaitha aiyaa varuha
neeridum velavan nitham varuha
sirahiri velavan seekkiram varuha (15)

Come, come son in law of Indra,
Come darling of the lady of mountain,
Come my master who has six faces,
Come daily he who holds the Vel*,
And who applies the ash,
Come with speed, Oh Lord of Sira Mountain,
Come with speed, Of holder of the Vel.

saravana bavanaar saduthiyil varuha
rahana bavasa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra
rihana bavasa ri ri ri ri ri ri ri
vinabava sarahana veeraa namo nama
nibava sarahana nira nira nirena (20)

Oh Lord Saravana bhava, Come with speed,
rahana bavasa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra
rihana bavasa ri ri ri ri ri ri ri
vinabava sarahana,
Salutations and salutations to the great hero,
nibava sarahana nira, nira, nirena

(Some words are reproduced, because they are the interplay of the letters that make “Saravana Bhava” written in Tamil and have been added to make the verse musical. They may have hidden meaning, which this translator is not aware of).
vasara hanabava varuha varuha
asurar kudi kedutha aiyaa varuha
yennai yaalum ilaiyon kaiyil
pannirendu aayutham paasaan gusamum
parantha vizhihal pannirandu ilanga (25)

Come, come friend who lives within me,
Come lord who spoiled the lives of Asuras,
Come with the wide open twelve graceful eyes,
Come with weapons and pasa and angusa in your twelve hands,
Come, Oh young lord, who rules over me.

(Pasa is the rope and Angusa is a weapon to control).

virainthu yenaik kaakka velon varuha
aiyum kiliyum adaivudan sauvum
uyyoli sauvum uyiraiyum kiliyum
kiliyum sauvum kilaroli yaiyum
nilai petrenmun nithamum olirum (30)

Come Oh, Lord of Vel to protect me fast,
Let Aaim, Klim and Saum which reach to you,
The Saum with its brilliant light,
The Klim which is like the soul,
And Klim, Saum and the sweet sounding Aaim,
Stand and shine before me.

(Aaim, Klim and Saum form the part of the Bheeja manthra (seed invocation) that denotes Lord Skanda).

shanmuhan neeyum thaniyoli yovvum
kundaliyaam siva guhan thinam varuha
aaru muhamum animudi aarum
neeridu netriyum neenda puruvamum
panniru kannum pavalach chevvaayum (35)

Come Oh, Six headed one,
With your brilliant light,
Come daily without fail, great Lord,
Who has attained the Kundalini,
And come with thine six faces with six crowns,
With holy ash applied on your forehead,
With your long eye brows,
And with your twelve eyes and coral like mouth.

(Kundalani is the thousand-petal lotus in the bottom of the brain. It is believed that on opening it, all knowledge will automatically be yours).

nanneri netriyil navamanich chuttiyum
eeraaru seviyil ilahu kundalamum
aariru thinpuyathu azhahiya maarbil
palboo shanamum pathakkamum tharithu
nanmanipoonda navarathna maalaiyum (40)

Come Oh Lord,
With decorations of nine gems in your forehead,
With pretty ear rings shining in your twelve ears,
With several ornaments and pendant shining.
In thine, handsome trunk with twelve arms,
And with the garland of nine gems inlaid with precious stones.

muppuri noolum muthani maarbum
sepppazhahudaiya thiruvayir unthiyum
thuvanda marungil sudaroli pattum
navarathnam pathitha nartchee raavum
iru thodai azhagum enai muzhanthalum 

Come Oh Lord,
With the holy three stringed thread,
With your chest decorated with pearls,
With your very pretty abdomen which has been praised,
With silken sash and girdle around your waist,
And with nine gems chain adorning your silken robes,
with the beauty of the two thighs and adjoining knees,

thiruvadi yathanil silamboli muzhanga
seha gana seha gana seha gana segana
moga moga moga moga moga moga mogana
naha naha naha naha naha naha nahena
digu kuna digu digu digu kuna diguna (50)

ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra
ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri
du du du du du du du du du du du du du du du
dagu dagu digu digu dangu dingugu
vinthu vinthu mayilon vinthu

Come Oh Lord,
With anklets in thine holy feet,
Which make jingling sounds, like,
seha gana seha gana seha gana segana
moga moga moga moga moga moga mogana
naha naha naha naha naha naha nahena
digu kuna digu digu digu kuna diguna

ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra
ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri ri
du du du du du du du du du du du du du du du
dagu dagu digu digu dangu dingugu
Oh Lord who rides the peacock, come quickly.

munthu munthu muruhavel munthu
yenthanai yaalum yehraha selva
mainthan vehndum varamahizhnth thuthavum
laalaa laalaa laalaa vehshamum
leelaa leelaa leelaa vinothanendru (60)

Rush Oh rush, my Lord who has the Vel,
Oh Lord of Swami Malai*, who rules over me,
Who is so prettily dressed,
And who is so playful.
Grant this boon with smile to your son,

unthiru vadiyai uruthi yendrennum
yen thalai vaithun yinaiyadi kaaka
yennuyirk uyiraam iraivan kaaka
panniru vizhiyaal baalanaik kaaka
adiyen vathanam azhahuvel kaaka (65)

Please save me, who has firm faith in thine feet,
And who has placed his head on your feet,
Oh God who is my soul of souls protect,
Please protect this child with your twelve eyes,
Let your pretty Vel protect my face.

podipunai netriyaip punithavel kaaka
kathirvel irandu kanninaik kaaka
vithisevi irandum velavar kaaka
naasihal irandum nalvel kaaka
pesiya vaaythanai peruvel kaaka (70)

Let your pure Vel protect my ash adorned forehead
Let your shining Vel protect my two eyes,
Let he holds the Vel protect my two ears,
Let your good Vel protect my two nostrils,
Let your great Vel protect the mouth, which speaks.

muppathirupal munaivel kaaka
seppiya naavai sevvel kaaka
kannam irandum kathirvel kaaka
yennilang kazhuthai iniyavel kaaka
maarbai irathna vadivel kaaka (75)

Let your sharp Vel protect my thirty-two teeth,
Let your perfect Vel protect my tongue, which tells,
Let your shining Vel protect my two cheeks,
Let your sweet Vel protect my tender neck,
Let your gem studded Vel protect my chest.

serila mulaimaar thiruvel kaaka
vadivel iruthol valamberak kaaka
pidarihal irandum peruvel kaaka
azhahudan muthuhai arulvel kaaka
pazhu pathinaarum paruvel kaaka (80)

Let your holy Vel protect my chest,
Let your straight Vel protect my two shoulders,
Let your great Vel protect my two napes,
Let your graceful Vel protect my back,
Let your youthful Vel protect my sixteen ribs.

vetrivel vayitrai vilangave kaaka
sitridai azhahura sevvel kaaka
naanaam kayitrai nalvel kaaka
aan penn kurihalai ayilvel kaaka
pittam irandum peruvel kaaka (85)

Let your victorious Vel protect my abdomen,
Let your pretty Vel protect my thin waist,
Let your good Vel protect my waist thread,
Let your pretty Vel protect the reproductive organs,
Let your big Vel protect my two kidneys.

vattak kuthathai valvel kaaka
panai thodai irandum paruvel kaaka
kanaikaal muzhanthaal kathirvel kaaka
aiviral adiyinai arulvel kaaka
kaihal irandum karunaivel kaaka (90)

Let your big Vel protect my round colon,
Let your heavy Vel protect my two thighs,
Let your bright Vel protect the two knees and calves,
Let your graceful Vel protect my two feet,
Let your merciful Vel protect my two hands.

munkai irandum muranvel kaaka
pinkai irandum pinnaval irukka
naavil sarasvathi natrunai yaaha
naabik kamalam nalvel kakka
muppaal naadiyai munaivel kaaka (95)

Let your strong Vel protect my two forearms,
Let Goddess Lakshmi reside in my arms,
Let Goddess of knowledge reside in my tongue,
Let your good Vel protect my belly button.
Let your sharp Vel protect the three nerve currents.

yeppozhuthum yenai yethirvel kaaka
adiyen vasanam asaivula neram
kaduhave vanthu kanahavel kaaka
varum pahal thannil vachravel kaaka
arai irul thannil anaiyavel kaaka (100)

Let your great Vel always protect me,
Let your golden Vel come fast,
To protect me as long as I am alive,
Let your diamond Vel protect me in day time,
Let your glittering Vel protect me in darkness.

yemathil saamathil yethirvel kaaka
thaamatham neeki chathurvel kaaka
kaaka kaaka kanahavel kaaka
noaka noaka nodiyil noaka
thaakka thaakka thadaiyara thaakka (105)

Let his flowing Vel protect me all the sections of the night,
Let his craft Vel protect me from delays,
Let the golden Vel protect and protect,
Let it be seen quickly and quickly,
Let it strike and strike and remove all my problems.

paarka paarka paavam podipada
billi soonyam perumpahai ahala
valla bootham valaashtihap peihal
allal paduthum adangaa muniyum
pillaihal thinnum puzhakadai muniyum (110)
kollivaayp peihalum kuralaip peihalum
penkalai thodarum bramaraa chatharum
adiyanaik kandaal alari kalangida.

Please see and see that my sins are powdered,
Let the black magic and great enmity go away,
Let great devils and those who shake their tails,
Let the uncontrollable Muni, which creates problems,
Let the back yard Muni which eats babies,
Let the ghosts with fire in their mouth,
Let the ghosts which steal my speech,
And let the Brahma Rakshasas which follow ladies,
Run away screaming when they see me.

(Muni is an evil spirit in Tamil Nadu. It also indicates a sage in a different context).

irisi kaatteri ithunba senaiyum
yellilum iruttilum yethirpadum mannarum (115)
kana pusai kollum kaaliyodu anaivarum
vittaan gaararum migu pala peihalum
thandiyak kaararum sandaalar halum
yen peyar sollavum idi vizhunthodida.

Let the Irusi Katteri and Idumba sena,
Let Mannar who is seen every where in the night
Let Kali and all others, who kill us on meeting,
Let Vittan Karar and other ghosts and devils,
Let Thandai Karar and debased humans,
As soon as they hear my name,
Run away as if struck by thunder.

(These are ghosts believed to roam especially at night. Each of them will have story of origin attached to them).

aanai adiyinil arum paavaihalum (120)
poonai mayirum pillaihal enpum
nahamum mayirum neenmudi mandaiyum
paavaihal udane pala kalasathudan
manaiyil puthaitha vanjanai thanaiyum
ottiya paavaiyum ottiya serukkum (125)
kaasum panamum kaavudan sorum
othu manjanamum oruvazhi pokum
adiyanaik kandaal alainthu kulainthida
maatran vanjahar vanthu vanangida
kaala thoothaal yenai kandaal kalangida (130)

Dolls with spells, placed in our home,
Hairs of cat, bones of babies,
Claws, hairs, skulls with long hairs,
Dolls placed in several pots,
Buried in different parts of the house,
Dolls pierced, pierced shapes,
Coins and money, cooked rice, with vegetables
Spell cast yellow-black balms, which travel in one direction’
Let all these get confused and be afraid on seeing me,
Please make them shiver on seeing me always,
And make strangers and bad men salute me.

(These are supposed to be signs and symbols of black magic done by your enemies).
anji nadungida arandu purandida
vaay vittalari mathi kettoda
padiyinil mutta paasak kayitraal
kattudan angam katharida kattu
katti uruttu kaal kai muriya (135)

Make all of them afraid of me,
Make them roll in the floor out of fear,
May them shout loudly and get mad,
Let them dash their head on my door steps,
Tie them with your Pasa rope,
Tie them tight,
Roll them after tying,
And break their hands and legs.

kattu kattu katharida kattu
muttu muttu muzhihal pithungida
sekku sekku sethil sethilaaha
sokku sokku soorpahai sokku
kuthu kuthu koorvadi velaal (140)
patru patru pahalavan thanaleri
thanaleri thanaleri thanalathuvaaha
viduvidu velai verundathu oda. 

Tie and tie them, till they loudly cry out,
Dash and dash them till the joints split,
Step on them, step on them, till they break in the mud,
Pierce and pierce them with your Vel.
Catch and catch the fire of the Sun,
Set fire, set fire till they wilt in the fire,
Throw and throw your Vel till they scare and run.

puliyum nariyum punnari naayum
yeliyum karadiyum inithodarnthu oda (145)
thelum paambum seyyaan pooraan
kadivida vishangal kadithuyar angam
yeriya vishangal yelithudan iranga

Let the tiger, fox, wolf, rat and bear,
Continue to run away from me,
Let the poisons of scorpion, snake, millipede,
Which has entered in and will stay in my body
After being bitten by them,
Come out of my body with great speed.

polippum sulukkum oruthalai noyum
vaatham sayithiyam valippu pitham (150)
soolai sayam kunmam sokku sirangu
kudaichal silanthi kudalvip purithi
pakka pilavai padarthodai vaazhai
kaduvan paduvan kaithaal silanthi
parkuthu aranai paru arai yaakkum (155)
yellap piniyum yendranaik kandaal
nillaa thoda nee yenak arulvaay
puliyum nariyum punnari naayum
yeliyum karadiyum inithodarnthu oda (145)

Let wounds, sprains, one sided head ache,
Arthritis, cold fever, fits and bile,
Piles, fistula, carbuncles, strains,
Diseases of intestines, itching of the skin,
Partial paralysis, ring worm, skin ailments,
Biting of cat, dog and spider,
Tooth ache and all the diseases and attacks,
Vanish and run away, As soon as they see me,
Please Lord bless me always so that,
All these do not tarry and run away from me.

eerezhula hamum yenak uravaaha
aanum pennum anaivarum yenakkaa
mannaal arasarum mahizhnthura vaahavum (160)

Let the seven worlds be my friends,
Let gents and ladies, and kings who rule,
Become my relations with pleasure and happiness.

unnai thuthikka un thirunaamam
saravana bavane sailoli bavanee
thirupura bavane thigazholi bavane
paripura bavane pavamozhi bavane
arithiru maruhaa amaraa pathiyai (165)
kaathu thevarkal kadum sirai viduthaay
kanthaa guhane kathir velavane
kaarthihai mainthaa kadambaa kadambanai
idumbanai yendra iniyavel muruhaa 

Let me praise your holy names,
He who originated from Saravana,
He who originated from flashing light,
He who was born to Tripura,
He who originated from holy sound,
He whose feet is adorned with anklets,
He who severs the cords of attachment,
He who is the nephew of Vishnu and Lakshmi,
He who protected the army of devas,
He who released them from prison,
He who is called Skanda and Guha,
He who holds the resplendent Vel,
He who is the son of Karthika maidens,
He who lives in Kadamba forest,
He who is Muruga with the sweet Vel,
Who defeated Idumba and Kadamba asuras.

(Guha and Muruga are other names for Skanda. When he was born, he took the form of six babies who were looked after by the six Karthika maidens, He loves to live in Kadamba forest. He is supposed to have defeated two asuras called Idumba and Kadamba and made them his devotees).

thanihaa salane sangaran puthalvaa (170)
katirkaa mathurai kathirvel muruhaa
pazhani pathivaazh baala kumaaraa
aavinan kudivaazh azhahiya vela
senthil maamalai yuryum sengalva raayaa
samaraa purivaazh shanmuha tharase (175)

Hey lord who lives on Thiruthani mountains,
Hey lord who is the son of Lord Shiva,
Hey Lord Muruga, with shining Vel,
Hey Lord, Who lives in Kathirgamam,
Hey young Kumara who lives in the city of Pazhani,
Hey pretty Vela, who lives in Thiruvavingudi,
Hey, Sengalva raya who lives on Senthil mountains,
Hey king, Shanmuga who lives in Samarapuri,

(Thiruthani, Kathirgamam, Pazhani, Thiruvavingudi, Senthil Mountains and Samarapuri are famous temples of Skanda. He is also known as Vela and Kumara).

kaarar kuzhalaal kalaimahal nandraay
yennaa irukka yaan unai paada
yenai thodarnthu irukkum yenthai muruhanai
padinen aadinen paravasa maaha
aadinen naadinen aavinan poothiyey (180) 

When the Goddess of knowledge,
With her dark black tresses,
Placed herself on my tongue,
I did sing about you,
And I sang about my father Murugan,
Then Danced, went in to ecstasy,
And sought the company,
Of the great Lord of Thiruvavinkudi.

nesamudan yaan netriyil aniya
paasa vinaihal patrathu neengi
unpatham perave unnarulaaha
anbudan rakshi annamum sonnamum
metha methaaha velaayu thanaar (185)
sithi petradiyen sirappudan vazhga.

When I adorned with love, my forehead with your sacred ash,
The ropes attaching me to the fate were untied,
And I reached your feet to attain your grace.
So please protect me with love, give me food and wealth,
Oh Velayudha slowly and gracefully.
Bless me with your grace,
And let me live in a great manner.

vaazhga vaazhga mayilon vaazhga
vaazhga vaazhga vadivel vaazhga
vaazhga vaazhga malai guru vaazhga
vaazhga vaazhga malai kura mahaludan (190)
vaazhga vaazhga vaarana thuvasam
vaazhga vaazhga yen varumaihal neenga

Long live, long live, the rider of peacock,
Long live, long live, the holder of Vel,
Long live, long live, the god of mountains,
Long live, long live, he with the mountain girl, Valli.
Long live, long live, he with the flag of a cock,
Long live, long live,
Let my poverty be driven out,

yethanai kuraihal yethanai pizhaihal
yethanai adiyen yethanai seiyinum
petravan neeguru poruppathu unkadan (195)
petraval kuramahal petravalaame
pillai yendranbaay piriya malithu
mainthan yenmeethu unmanam mahizhntharuli
thanjam yendradiyaar thazhaithida arulsey
kanthar sashti kavasam virumbiya (200)

You are my father and teacher,
Goddess Valli is my mother,
And it is your duty to pardon,
Any number of errors that I make,
Any number of mistakes that I make,
Without parting away from this your child,
With Happiness love this son of yours,
And give protection to all devotees, who seek,
And love this Skanda Sashti Kavacham.

baalan theva raayan paharn thathai
kaalaiyil maalaiyil karuthudan naalum
aasaa rathudan angam thulakki
nesamudan oru ninaivathu vaahi
kanthar sashti kavasam ithanai (205)
sindhai kalangaathu thiyaani pavarhal
orunaal muppathaa ruru kondu
othiyeh jebithu uhanthu neeraniya
ashta thikkullor adangalum vasamaay
thisai mannar yenmar seyalathu (sernthangu) arulvar (210)

maatrala rellaam vanthu vananguvar
navakol mahizhnthu nanmai alithidum
navamatha nenavum nallezhil peruvar
enthanaalum eerettaay vaazhvar
kantharkai velaam kavasa thadiyai (215)

 

Daily in the morning and evening,
All those who clean themselves,
With religious fervor and read,
Thirty six times* a day

(* alternate meaning: mu = three, paththu (pattru) = slags (impurities) i.e. ANavam – kanmam – mAyAi (arrogance, karma, delusion), ur = extinguishing. So it means – we should chant Kandha shashti Kavacham without any desire or malams).

This Skanda Sashti Kavacham,
Which has been composed,
By the young Deva Rayan,
And meditate on that god with concentration,
And wear the sacred ash,
Will get the great blessings,
Of all the devas from all eight directions,
And the guardians of the eight directions.

All strangers would come and salute them,
The nine planets will become happy,
And shower their blessings,
They would shine in prettiness.
They would happily live on all days,
If they recite this Kavacham,
Which is equivalent to a Vel.

vazhiyaay kaana meiyaay vilangum
vizhiyaal kaana verundidum peigal
pollathavarai podi podi yaakkum
nallor ninaivil nadanam puriyum
sarva sathuru sankaa rathadi (220)

If seen as a way, this Kavacham would show the truth,
If seen of Ghosts by their eyes, they will get scared,
It would powder bad people,
And the good people would dance with joy,
And all their enemies will be exterminated

arintha yenathullaam ashta letchmihalil
veera letchmikku virun thunavaaha
soora bathmaavaith thunithagai yathanaal
iruba thezhvarkku uvan thamuthalitha
gurubaran pazhani kundrinil irukkum (225)
chinna kuzhanthai sevadi potri 

Oh Lord, Let my mind that has understood you,
Pray Veera Lakshmi among the Ashta Lakshmis
My salutations to the feet of Small baby of Pazhani,
Whose hands killed Soora Padman,
Who gave deathless nectar for the twenty-seven,
And who is my teacher on the Pazhani Mountain

yenai thadu thaatkola yendrana thullum
meviya vadivurum velava potri
thevargal senaa pathiye potri
kuramahal manamahizh kove potri (230)

Salutations to the Skanda with the Vel
Who has occupied my mind,
So that I am always His,
Salutations to commander of the devas
Salutations to the darling of Valli,
Who is the daughter of a mountain tribe.

He whose form is strong and dazzling, Praise be to Thee!
He who conquered Idumba, Praise be to Thee!

thiramihu thivya thehaa potri
idumbaa yuthane idumbaa potri
kadambaa potri kanthaa potri
vetchi punaiyum veleh potri
uyargiri kanaha sabaikor arase (235) 

Salutations to the ablest of Gods,
Who has a very holy form,
Salutation to him, who conquered Idumba,
Salutations to him who wears Kadamba flowers
Salutations to him who is Kanda,
Salutations to the Vel which wears Vetchi flowers,
Salutations to the king of the golden hall of the mountain.

mayilnada miduvoy malaradi saranam
saranam saranam saravanabava Om
saranam saranam shanmuhaa saranam
saranam saranam shanmuhaa saranam (239) 

I surrender to flowery feet of my Lord,
Who travels on the peacock,
I surrender, surrender and surrender to the Saravanabhava,
I surrender, surrender and surrender to the Shanmuga.


Courtesy of Kaumaram.com


PROSTRATIONS and humble salutations to Lord Subramanya, the Supreme Being, who is the ruler of this universe, who is the indweller of our hearts, who is the second son of Lord Siva, who is the beloved of Valli and Deivayanai, who bestows boons easily on His devotees, who is the embodiment of power, wisdom, love and bliss. The great demon, Tarakasura, was oppressing the celestial. He drove them out from heaven. All the gods then went to Brahma to appeal for help.

Brahma said to the gods, “O Devas, I cannot destroy Taraka, as he has obtained My Grace through severe penance. But let Me give you a suggestion. Get the help of Cupid, the God of Love. Induce him to tempt Lord Siva, who remains absorbed in His Yoga Samadhi. Let Lord Siva unite with Parvati. A powerful son, Lord Subramanya, will be born to them. This son will destroy the demon that harasses you.”

Indra, the chief of the gods, thereupon requested Cupid to go with his wife, Rati, and his companion Vasanta (the season of spring), to Mount Kailas, the abode of Siva. Cupid carried out the instruction at once, for it was already springtime. Standing behind a tree, Cupid shot his arrow of passion towards Siva, whilst Parvati was placing some flowers in His hands. The moment their hands met, Siva experienced a distracting feeling. He wondered what it was that disturbed His Yoga. He looked around and saw Cupid crouching behind the tree.

The Lord opened His “third eye”, the inner eye of intuition, and Cupid was burnt to ashes by the fire that emanated from it. That is why the God of Love is also called Ananga, which means “bodiless”.

After burning Cupid, the Lord ascertained by His Yogic vision that the birth of Lord Subramanya was absolutely necessary to destroy the powerful Taraka. Siva’s seed was thrown into the fire which, unable to retain it, threw it into the Ganges, which in turn threw it into a reed forest. This is where Lord Subramanya was born; hence, He is called Saravanabhava–“born in a reed-forest”. He became the leader of the celestial hosts and the destroyer of Taraka as Brahma had ordained.

Lord Subramanya is an incarnation of Lord Siva. All incarnations are manifestations of the one Supreme Lord. Lord Subramanya and Lord Krishna are one.

Lord Krishna says in the Gita: “Among the army generals, I am Skanda“.

The Lord manifests Himself from time to time in various names and forms, for the sake of establishing righteousness and subduing wickedness.

Lord Subramanya is a ray born of the Divine Consciousness of Lord Siva. Valli and Deivayanai are His two wives. They represent the power of action and the power of knowledge respectively. He is a Godhead easily accessible in this dark age of ignorance and lack of faith. In this He is no different from Hanuman. He gives material and spiritual prosperity and success in every undertaking of His devotees, even if they show a little devotion to Him. He is worshipped with great devotion in South India. Lord Subramanya’s other names are Kumaresa, Kartikeya, Shanmukha, Guha, Muruga and Velayudhan.

In His picture, Lord Subramanya holds a spear in His hand, just as Lord Siva holds the trident. This is an emblem of power. It indicates that He is the ruler of the universe. His vehicle is the peacock. He rides on it. This signifies that He has conquered pride, egoism and vanity. There is a cobra under His feet, which indicates that He is absolutely fearless, immortal and wise. Valli is on His one side, Deivayanai on the other. Sometimes He stands alone with His spear. In this pose He is known as Velayudhan; this is His Nirguna aspect, which is free from the illusory power of Maya.

The six heads represent the six rays or attributes, namely, wisdom, dispassion, strength, fame, wealth and divine powers. They indicate that He is the source of the four Vedas, the Vedangas and the six schools of philosophy. They also indicate His control over the five organs of knowledge as well as the mind. They denote that He is the Supreme Being with thousands of heads and hands. His head turned in all directions signifies that He is all-pervading. It indicates that He can multiply and assume forms at will.

Lord Subramanya’s temples can be seen in Udipi, in Tiruchendur, in the Palani Hills, in Ceylon, and in Tiruparankundrum. Lord Subramanya spent His days of childhood in Tiruchendur and attained Mahasamadhi at Kathirgamam. If you go to Kathirgamam with faith, devotion and piety, and stay in the temple there for two or three days, the Lord will grant you His vision. You will get rich spiritual experiences. A huge festival is held in the temple every year on Skanda Sashti. Thousands of people visit the place. Massive amounts of camphor are burnt on this occasion.

Skanda Sashti falls in November. It is the day on which Lord Subramanya defeated the demon Taraka. On this day elaborate festivals are held with great pomp and grandeur. Devotees organise Bhajan and Kirtan programs on a grand scale. Thousands are fed sumptuously. Many incurable diseases are cured if one visits Palani and worships Lord Subramanya there. In South India, the Lord’s Lilas are dramatized on the stage.

In addition to the Skanda Sashti, devotees of Lord Subramanya observe weekly and monthly days in His honour. Every Friday, or the Kartigai Nakshatram day every month, or the sixth day of the bright fortnight,–all these are sacred days for His devotees. The sixth day of the month of Tulam (October-November) is the most auspicious of them all. This is the Skanda Sashti day.

In many places the festival commences six days prior to the Sashti itself and concludes on the day of the Sashti. During these days, devotees recite various inspiring hymns and read stories connected with Lord Subramanya. They worship the Lord and take Kavadi. They go on pilgrimage to the various Subramanya shrines.

The Tirumurukatrupadai has been composed in His praise by the famous Nakkerar. He who studies this eminent work daily with devotion and faith, gets certain success in life as well as peace and prosperity. The Tiruppugal is another well-known book in Tamil, which contains the inspiring devotional songs of Arunagirinathar in praise of Lord Subramanya. The Kavadichindu songs are also in praise of the Lord. The Skanda Sashti Kavacham is another famous hymn in praise of Lord Subramanya and is sung particularly on festive occasions.

Perhaps the most potent propitiatory rite that a devotee of Shanmukha undertakes to perform is what is known as the Kavadi. The benefits that the devotee gains from offering a Kavadi to the Lord are a million-fold greater than the little pain that he inflicts upon himself.

Generally, people take a vow to offer the Lord a Kavadi for the sake of tiding over a great calamity. Though this might, on the face of it, appear a little mercenary, a moment’s reflection will reveal that it contains in it the seed of supreme love of God. The worldly object is achieved, no doubt, and the devotee takes the Kavadi; but after the ceremony he gets so God-intoxicated that his inner spiritual being gets awakened. This is also a method that ultimately leads to the supreme state of devotion.

The Kavadi has various shapes and sizes, from the simple shape of a hawker’s storehouse (a wooden stick with two baskets at each end, slung across the shoulder) to the costly palanquin structure, profusely flower-bedecked and decoratively interwoven with peacock feathers. In all cases the Kavadi has a good many brass bells adorning it and announcing it as the Kavadi-bearer draws it along. As the Kavadi-bearer very often observes silence, the bells are the only eloquent signs of a Kavadi procession.

The two baskets hanging at each end of the Kavadi contain rice, milk or other articles that the devotee has vowed to offer the Lord. The more devout among them, and especially those who do it as a Sadhana, collect these articles by begging. They travel on foot from village to village, and beg from door to door. The villagers offer their articles directly into the basket of the Kavadi. The Kavadi-bearer continues begging until the baskets are full or the avowed quantity is reached, and then offers the Kavadi to the Lord. Some keen devotees undertake to walk barefoot from home to one of the shrines of Lord Subramanya, bearing the Kavadi all the way and collecting materials for the offering. He has to walk a hundred miles sometimes! The people who place the articles in the baskets also receive the Lord’s blessings.

The Kavadi-bearer is required to observe various rules between the time he takes up the Kavadi, and the day of the offering. He has to perform elaborate ceremonies at the time of assuming the Kavadi, and at the time of offering it to the Lord. He also puts on the dress of a Pandaram, a Saivite mendicant. It consists of a saffron-coloured cloth, a conical scarlet cap, and a cane silver-capped at both ends. Lord Siva, the Supreme Pandaram Himself, loves to wear this dress. The Pandaram lives on alms only. The bare chest of the Kavadi-bearer is covered with several rudraksha malas.

The Kavadi-bearer observes strict celibacy. Only pure, Sattwic food is taken; he abstains from all sorts of intoxicating drinks and drugs. He thinks of God all the time. Many of the Kavadi-bearers, especially those who do it as a spiritual Sadhana, impose various forms of self-torture. Some pass a sharp little spear through their tongue, which is made to protrude out of the mouth. Others may pass a spear through the cheek. This sort of piercing is done in other parts of the body also. The bearer does not shave; he grows a beard. He eats only once a day. The spear pierced through his tongue or cheek reminds him of the Lord constantly. It also prevents him from speaking. It gives him great power of endurance.

The Kavadi-bearer enjoys a high state of religious fervour. He dances in ecstasy. His very appearance is awe-inspiring; there is divine radiance on his face. Devotees often experience the state of feeling union with the Lord. Sometimes the Deity enters them and possesses them for some time.

The Agni-Kavadi is the most difficult offering. With the Kavadi hanging on his shoulder, the devotee walks through a pit of burning coals. Hymns are sung in praise of the Lord by those assembled all around the pit. Drums are beaten and incense is burnt. The entire atmosphere is awe-inspiring. The true devotee enters into ecstasy and easily walks over the fire.

At the Sivananda Ashram in India, Skanda Sashti is observed for six days, preceding and including the Sashti day. Devotees of Lord Subramanya live on milk and fruit and do rigorous Sadhana. They get up at 4am during Brahmamuhurta and meditate on the Lord.

On each of the six days, all the participants do Japa of the Mantra, Om Saravanabhavaya Namah, as much as possible. They even greet one another with this Mantra.

Yogis and learned scholars deliver lectures on Subramanya Tattwa, or the divine sport of the Lord. During the evening Satsang, hymns in praise of Lord Subramanya are sung. Readings are taken from my book, Lord Shanmukha and His Worship. Devotees sing inspiring songs on the Lord.

An elaborate ceremonial worship is performed daily to the sacred image of Lord Subramanya. On the last day a grand havan is performed. The evening Satsang is devoted entirely to the adoration of Lord Subramanya.

Pray from the bottom of your heart: “O my Lord Subramanya, O all-merciful Lord, I have neither faith nor devotion. I do not know how to worship Thee in the proper manner, or to meditate on Thee. I am Thy child who has lost his way, forgotten the goal and Thy Name. Is it not Thy duty, O compassionate Father, to take me back? O Mother Valli, will you not introduce me to Thy Lord? Thy love for Thy children is deeper and truer than that of anyone else in this world. Though I have become

Thy worthless and undutiful child, O beloved Mother Valli, pardon me! Make me dutiful and faithful. I am Thine from this very second; always Thine. All is Thine. It is the Mother’s duty to correct, educate and mould Her reckless child when it strays aimlessly on the wrong path. Remove the gulf or the veil of delusion that separates me from Thee. Bless me. Enlighten me. Take me back to Thy holy feet. I have nothing more to say. This is my fervent prayer to Thee and Thy Lord, my beloved and ancient Parents.”

May Lord Subramanya shower His Grace upon you! May His blessings grant you peace, bliss and prosperity!

(pgs. 105-113, Hindu Fasts & Festivals)