skanda gaNas

Weighed down by the arrows showered by our foes, we call upon son of the ranger of kailAsha. He who bears the bow in battle and showers arrows on the dAnava horde. He who is called ugratamaa and bhImatama, who rushes to battle with the the axe and spear, we worship him in the midst of the six-fold maNDala. One who is dallying with sumukhi and biDAlAkShI, we bow to him.

The brahmins asked the sUta: Now, pray tell us the awesome deeds of that son of agni who is praised by the atharvaNa kalpa. The sUta continued: having bowed to the destroyer of the andhaka and his pretty-hipped wife I shall now narrate the deeds of the six-headed one. brahmA, the lokapita, said:

Oh mahAsena, rudra combining with agni (as on the fifth day of the piling of the altar in the agnichayana) and umA with svAhA has given rise to you who was suckled by the kR^ittikas. A part of the blazing semen of rudra bounced off the yoni of umA and fell on the mahAparvata from where sprung the two terrible twin female and male gaNas mi~NjikA and mUjika. As one enters the AvarNa of kumAra one must duely offer oblations to these gaNas as one does to viShvaksena while entering the vaiShNava maNDala. Another part of the semen glancing off the yoni of sushroNI fell in to the raktArNava. From it arose five terrifying bhUta gaNas headed by vIrabAhU, who are the lords of the pishAchas. These became the attendents of kumAra. From the heart kartikeya emerged the ram-headed nejameSha, also known as bhadrashAka, who flies around with great fury. He is worshipped with the secret R^iks of the R^igvidhAna. From the left side of kumAra emerged the awful shAka who became the lord of several fierce ganas. From the right side of kumAra emerged the aweful vishAkha who terrified the universe by his piercing yell. From agni emerged seven beautiful goddess named kakI, halimA, mAlinI with an elephant face, brinhilA, AryadevI, palalA and vaimitrA. From them kumAra generated a terrible, fiery eyed, ferocious son named shishu. He joined the hordes of ShaNmukha as a general. These aweful emanations of the six faced one are pacified with the tarpaNa indicated by sage bodhAyana in his kalpa.

Then the eagle-headed goddess of immense violence, vinAtA also joined the kumAra pArshada with her horde of violent goddess. She was accompanied by the elegant smiling faced goddess chatushpatha-niketA who arrived to aid kumAra with a band of horrible ghosts. From the body of kumAra emerged a mighty blazing genius who dropped listlessly to the ground. Agneya raised him up and made him band leader of some of his bhUtagaNas, naming him skandApasmara. He is terrible and worshipped with tarpaNas and invoked to cause the enemy to hallucinate. Then, the snake-faced venomous goddess kadru whose hordes are invoked using the secret R^iks known as the dR^itarAShTras came to kumAra. She was followed by pretty goddess holding a skull in her hand, known as lohitAyanI, who had suckled the young skanda. She is offered tarpaNas under the kadaMba tree. With her comes two other pretty goddesses on either side known as revatI and AryamAtA. revatI is accompanied by a horde of nasty genii known as raivatas. They may be invoked to make an enemy’s clan extinct. AryAmAtA wreaks havoc with her berserk ghost troops, who joined kArtikeya’s ranks.

Then kumAra installed the goddesses saramA with the head of a bitch and surabhI with the head of a cow. They were accompanied by their own bhUta hordes. Then came AraNyAni with a her hordes and she is offered tarpaNas under the kara~nja tree. sIta pUtanA, in the form of a hideous lady, the mistress of the piShachis also arrived to join guha’s party. All these beings are invoked in the homas, tarpaNas and abhishekas in connection with the worship of kArtikeya.

We salute AraNyAni, who had saved our life when we were confronted with death about this time last year. We shall go to her grove again and call up the yakShini now.

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