Karttikeya, aka: Kārttikeya; 7 Definition(s)

Introduction

Karttikeya means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

[Karttikeya in Shilpashastra glossaries]

Kārttikeya (one of the aspects of Subrahmaṇya, according to the Kumāra-tantra). He should have six faces and six arms and be of the colour of the rising sun. Two of his front hands should be kept in the abhaya and the varada poses, while the rest should carry vajra, kheṭaka, śakti and khaḍga.

According to the Śrītatvanidhi, Kārttikēya should have one face with three eyes, ten arms and the complexion of the rising sun. There should be a fruit (or leaf) of the bilvā three on the head and in the right hands the śūla, the chakra, the aṅkuśa, and abhaya; in the left hands the tomara, the pāśa, the śaṅkha, and the vajra and varada. He should have his peacock vehicle by his side. The complexion of this aspect of Subrahmaṇya should also be that of the rising sun.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy

Karttikeya (कर्त्तिकेय) as depicted according to images found found in the hills near Ciplun in the Ratnāgiri district.—Of the six faces of Kārttikeya, five are seen, two on each side of the central one. The god is standing in the samabhaṅga pose. The image is 71 cm. in height. All the heads have kirīṭa-mukuṭas studded with jewels. Two of his twelve hands are now broken, but those that are undamaged are shown holding the arrow, the mace, the bow, the lotus, etc. He wears the yajñopavīta and the champaka-mālā reaching below the knees. The tassels of his elaborately carved girdle are shown gracefully hanging on his legs. To his left is seen his vehicle, the peacock, and to his right a female chawri-bearer.

(Source): What is India: Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras (shilpashastra)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Purana

[Karttikeya in Purana glossaries]

Kārttikeya (कार्त्तिकेय) is the name of a deity once worshipped in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) according to the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—The term Kārttikeya is referred to once in the Nīlamata, his other names Skanda and Kumāra being more common. The mention of the worship of Kṛttikās along with Kārttikeya, anticipates the story of his being reared up by Kṛttikās.

(Source): archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

Kārttikeya (कार्त्तिकेय).—Skanda, the son of Śiva. For details see under Skanda.

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Kārttikeya (कार्त्तिकेय).—(Guha)—a god with his vāhana as peacock; conqueror of Krauñca of Asuras; also Kumāra;1 brought up by the Kṛttikas;2 delight to the mind of Umā;3 overheard the report given by his father to Pārvati on the subject of the colour of his throat, the Nīlakaṇṭha legend, when he was lying down on the lap of Umā on the top of the Kailāsa hills.4 Took part in Bāṇa's war with Kṛṣṇa and disabled by Garuḍa and Pradyumna.5

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 25. 16; III. 10. 44; 32. 23; 41. 32; 42. 6; 43. 31.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 41. 38; 72. 43; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 15. 116.
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 54. 19.
  • 4) Vāyu-purāṇa 54. 28f.
  • 5) Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 33. 21 and 26.

1b) Kumāra, being the son of Kṛttikas; narrates the mahātmya of Nandi in nandīpurāṇa,1 born in the full moon day of the citra month and Indra made sin into one on the fifth day and on the sixth anointed devasenāpati. All important gods gave him some present or other and praised him.2 Promised to slay Tāraka and slew him.3 Image of; 12 hands in a city, four in a kharvaṭa and two in a village; one of the hands has a cock; others detailed.4

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 5. 27; 53. 61.
  • 2) Ib. 159. 4. 18.
  • 3) Ib. 160. 10-26.
  • 4) Ib. 260. 19, 45-51.

1c) (Pāvaki) a sage of the Rohita epoch.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 1. 62.

1d) A tīrtha sacred to Yāśaskari.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 13. 45.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Katha (narrative stories)

[Karttikeya in Katha glossaries]

Kārttikeya (कार्त्तिकेय) is the name of Śiva’s son born for the purpose of slaying the asura Tāraka and to protect the realm of Indra, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 20. Accordingly, “Long ago, when Indra, oppressed by Tāraka, was desirous of obtaining a son from Śiva to act as general of the gods... ”. Also, when Śiva addressed Kārttikeya, “Thou wast born in order that thou mightest slay Tāraka and protect the realm of Indra, therefore do thy own duty”.

Kārttikeya was born out of the fire having six faces. Accordingly, “When thus addressed by Śiva, the goddess (Umā) worshipped Gaṇeśa, and the fire became pregnant with that germ of Śiva. Then, bearing that embryo of Śiva, the fire shone even in the day as if the sun had entered into it. And then it discharged into the Ganges the germ difficult to bear, and the Gaṇas, by the order of Śiva, placed it in a sacrificial cavity on Mount Meru. There that germ was watched by the Gaṇas, Śiva’s attendants, and after a thousand years had developed it, it became a boy with six faces.”

The name Kārttikeya is derived from the fact he was nursed by the breasts of the six Kṛttikās. Accodingly, “Then, drinking milk with his six mouths from the breasts of the six Kṛttikās appointed by Gaurī to nurse him, the boy grew big in a few days.”

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Kārttikeya, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Karttikeya in Hinduism glossaries]

Kārttikeya (कार्त्तिकेय).—The younger son of Lord Śiva and Pārvatī. He is the presiding deity of warfare. Also known as Subrahmanya or Skanda.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

Relevant definitions

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Shakha
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Vishakha
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Krittika
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Kumara
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Kanta
Kānta (कान्त) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, as me...
Lohitaksha
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Mayura
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Kraunca
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Agnikumara
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