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Devasenapati-Taraka Vadha


With the birth of Karthikeya the devatas were overjoyed .Even as a child he had immense valour and intelligence .In fact in the yogic tradition Karthikeya is called Kumaragurave ( The child teacher ) for he teaches his own father Parameswara the meaning of Omkara in a metaphysical incident . When Kumara reached the age of seven the gods decided it was time finally to rid the world of Taraka. Lord Brahma himself decided to perform the jatakarma rites for the young god.Sage Kashyapa presided over the chanting of the hymns .Note the impartiality of the sage  , Taraka would be an grandson to the sage since he was born to Vajranga , yet he presided over the ceremony for the good of the cosmos.

On the banks of the Saraswati river the young god was seated on a throne of gems with the holy waters being poured over him , to the tune of chanting of the sages , kinneras, gandharvas , nagas, yaksha and all the celestials . Kumara was finally crowned Deva Senapati -Commander of the divine forces. Karthikeya has always been praised as deva senapati.

The various gods created companions for the child commander to assist him in the great battle. Understand the meaning of this statement in the following way. If Karthikeya represents the divine force of valour in a human being or the ability to maintain discipline and carry out great works , the companions represent the qualities of that divine force. This when codified into a mantra form will unveil the energy of that devata or grant you the cosmic vision of that force.  I will write more on this when we get to Mantra Shastra.

Let me illustrate with a few elaborated examples

Coming back to the story. Lord yama gave Kumara two companions called

Unmatha- Literally meaning drunk with intensity.Also stands for mad…

Pramatha-Literally meaning to bring forth by fire.Also a demon class

🙂 Imagine if you were a great warrior…what are the two qualities you should possess

1.One the ability to cut down foes ruthlessly with intensity on maintaining dharma.

2.Two to literally burst forth with fire .

Combine Unmatha and Pramatha !!!! In other words it means to worship Kumara is to imbibe these qualities.

I will leave rest of the deductions to the readers so that they can exercise their grey cells.

Surya presented Kumara with a war chariot that went with the speed of thought .Agni gave him the mahashakti .Varuna gave him two followers Mani and Sumani .Agni also gave him two more companions Jwalabija and Jyoti.Indra gave him two warriors Utkrosha and Panchaka.

Lord Vishnu gave him three companions Chakra, Vikrama and Sankrama .Vasuki gave him two snake warriors called Jaya and Vijaya…..there is a long list of companions and shaktis that were presented to the young kumara.

Vel Muruga-Devasenapati in the later war having grown up . Truly an awe inspiring sight

Finally he received the mahashakti and his favourite weapon from the hands of his mother. The Vel or the spear. The air was rent with the cries of the devata forces…Vel Muruga…Vel Vel Muruga….It created a tremendous noise as if the heavens were falling down. The stars shook in their very places and a great cloud of dust rose up from the banks of the river.

Lord shiva blessed his son , hugged him to his heart and said ” Kumara the time has come for you to assume the role of protector of the universe. Go forth and kill the evil Taraka and restore order to the universe “. Kumara fell on the feet of shiva , took his blessings and raised his Vel to the skies.

With the huge army by his side Kumara marched onto the capital of Tarakasura. The army setup camp near the capital and decided to send an messenger for the final warning as was the norm of warfare. The messenger reached Taraka’s court and delivered the message that Taraka should surrender the heaven to Indra and leave peacefully. Taraka flew into a rage and rejected the proposal. After the messenger left Taraka began thinking ” I have defeated the gods so many times and they never even put up an whimper of protest…What has changed now that Indra has developed so much confidence to deliver an warning to me ”  . He rose from his throne and looked out of his window and there before him was arrayed the largest army he ever saw and right in the midst of the army was an young boy of seven .

Taraka now knew this was the son of shiva come to fulfill the prophecy .However being drunk with power he thought he could cheat fate . The trumpet call for war was sounded from the fort of Taraka and the two armies faced each other near the Krauncha mountains.

Source ( Matysa Purana has the description of the War )

Taraka had many generals in his army. Jambha, Kujambha , Mahisha , Kalanemi and many more. Yama was appointed as the general on the devatas side .The five elemental gods arrayed themselves also on the devatas side. Charioteers fought with Charioteers, Elephants fought with Elephants , the ground was filled with the bodies of the wounded and the skies were filled with astras of various colours. The sound created was so terrible it appeared almost as the pralaya.

Jambha and Kujambha took on Kubera (god of wealth) and put him to flight. Kalanemi took on chandra and surya and defeated them soundly.Kalanemi also gave an sound beating to the Ashwini twins. Yama was being beaten by Grahasena.

Indra fought with Jambha and was knocked unconscious. He managed to get up and finally kill Jambha. Overall the gods were being beaten black and blue on the battlefield and they were losing heavily. Lord Vishnu could not bear to watch this terrible scene and he enters the battle and starts slaughtering the demonic forces .Lord Vishnu killed all the major generals in Taraka’s army and now finally a great battle started with Vishnu and Taraka.

( Please remember this story in no way proves Shiva is greater than Vishnu or the other way. For the sake of drama both Hari and Hara play many roles . In the mohini avatara Vishnu saves Shiva …also from Bhasmasura etc etc..In the Lingodhbhava Shiva teaches vishnu . Both are equal in greatness )

Both sides seemed evenly matched and blows were matched for blow. However due to his unique boon Lord vishnu could not slay Taraka. As the battle raged  Lord Brahma signalled to Kumara that it was time to finally deliver the world.

As Kumara stepped onto the battlefiled and Lord Vishnu stepped aside …..Taraka laughed derisively ” What you send an young boy to face me…you just saw the mighty Vishnu could not defeat me and you expect this rosy cheeked young boy of seven to kill me . The gods have surely gone mad from the beating that I administered ” .

Karthikeya spoke ” Taraka  even though the Omkara is one small word , a lifetime of ignorance is removed by this one small word. Same way valour is displayed on the battle field not in mere words. Come and fight ”

( This is again a coded message for the significance of the Omkara ) .

Taraka was now furious and shouted ” Have the gods no shame that they sent an young boy to fight me ..send Shiva to fight me not this young kid who will get slaughtered. Unable to defeat me you have hatched the plan to spoil my reputation by making me kill this child “

Kumara again replied ” Are you so afraid of the prophecy that you dare not face me Taraka….Leave your empty prattle and come face me in battle “.

Both sides of the devatas and demons fell silent as they watched the mighty demon and the young god circle each other like hungry tigers.  Taraka started raining showers of stones on Karthikeya .Kumara countered with the vayeva astra , then consecutively showers of fire , storms and lightning were met with an equal response.Then Taraka started using the maha shaktis he had obtained after great years of penance. Each Mahashakti was cut down by the young god.

The gods were wonderstruck at this display of skillmanship from the young boy , Himavant rushed to the battlefield to watch his grandson display his prowress. Taraka had also obtained the Brahamastra from Lord brahma and now he released this maha astra. The brahmastra has an property that once released it cannot be countered by any of the normal astras , it has to pierce its target. The brahmastra hit with an blinding force and the young god was felled on the battlefield . The gods were shocked ….was the prophecy to turn false . Himavant was terrified he might lose his grandson. Amidst all of this Lord shiva smiled calmly.  Kumara born of the fire …the one who had as an baby put the lord of fire to torment …brought the ganges to an boil…would he be killed even by the Brahmastra.

The young god had only fallen unconscious with the blow and having absorbed the shakti of the astra , he now rose like an lion awakened from sleep.  Kumara now started raining weapon upon weapon on Taraka many a time beating him badly …but none of those seemed to do lasting damage to the demon . Puzzled the young god fought with even more fury…..However Taraka due to his boons always managed to getup again.

As the sunset time was approaching near the Krauncha mountains ..Lord brahma passed on a message to Kumara that the weapon to kill Taraka would be the Vel. Having heard this Karthikeya seeked blessing from Goddess parvati and Shiva mentally .With one arm stretched he lifted up the Vel…..dazzling in the night sky like an array of stars …with one final lunge he released the Vel. It shot through the sky like an blazing thunderbolt and pierced Taraka’s chest .

Finally the tormentor of the gods was dead … dead at the hands of the seven year old god .

The whole of creation burst into joyous celebration

Deva Senapati-Saviour of the World

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