Apt for a Tuesday (that is to say – Mars’ Day: Dies Martis, Hemera Areos, etc.)
‘Kumara’, by Kedaram Vishwanathan.
Better known as Skanda or Kartikeya – Kumara [‘Son’], the prominent Hindu War God (well, one of … look, we have quite a few) Whose Vahana (‘Vehicle’/’Steed’) is the Peacock or Rooster (although I have also seen a few other avian iconographic options … and maintain that there should be some conceptual resonancy for a bipedal predatory dinosaur … but that is my peculiar idiosyncracy).
Now, Kumara is interesting because He helps us to demonstrate the underlying coterminity of an array of seemingly somewhat disparate Hindu myth and deific (co-)identity.
The most prominent mythology tends to refer to Skanda as Son of Shiva, via a complicated situation involving the Krtikka (Pleiades constellation – whence His name of Kartikeya, i.e. ‘of the Krtikka’, in reference to His Six Mothers; and thus also His Six Heads in many iconographic depictions – we similarly find a brief citation for a ‘Six-Faced One’ in the Taittiriya Aranyaka attached to the Yajurveda).
In Vedic texts, we find Agni linked to the Krtikka (Pleiades constellation); and there is also a prominent mythological presentation for Kumara as Son of Agni, again via a complicated situation involving the Pleiades.
At first, there may appear to be some curious contradiction here – is the deific that has fathered this Son via the Pleiades, Shiva or Agni?
And to that, the answer can only be – “Yes”.
For while there are some rather … pointed differences to the major manifestations of the Agni => Kumara and Shiva-Rudra => Skanda mythology (in particular, the role played in the latter by Agni specifically) – it is nevertheless abundantly clear that in various important particulars, the myths do, indeed, foundationally align.
And, as luck (‘Shiva’) should have it … we are in possession of quite an array of Vedic direct statements that Agni is Rudra.
Further supports for all of this are to be furnished via the drawing from both Nordic and Classical Indo-European mythologies – wherein we can find both the situation of Odin and Heimdall appearing to resonate with interesting directness to the ‘pattern’ of this myth; and the situation of .. various deifics in relation to the Pleiades within the Greek reckoning. I have written upon those mat(t)ers elsewhere.
For today, it is enough to hail Skanda – a figure I intend to write further upon in due time !
योगीश्वरो महासेनः कार्तिकेयोऽग्निनंदनः ।
स्कंदः कुमारः सेनानीः स्वामी शंकरसंभवः ॥