Wednesday 8 November 2023

Origin of Skandha Sashti Festival/Sashti Virtham – Vrath Katha/Story

 Skandha Sashti Festival is a special festival dedicated to Lord Murugan who is otherwise called with different names like Karthikeyan, Kandhan, Kumaran, Subramaniyan, BalaMurugan etc. Lord Murugan is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and was born out of sparks that came out of Lord Shiva’s third eye. Kanda Sashti is celebrated with great devotion to worship Lord Skanda during the Tamil month of Aippasi. Skanda Sashti celebrates the victory of Lord Skanda over the evil demons.

Sashti falls on the sixth day of the bright half of the lunar month in the Hindu calendar, which is observed in the Tamil month of Aippasi [October -November]. Although Sashti falls every month, but the skanda sashti festival celebrated during the month of Aipaasi is special and six days of fasting is observed, and the sixth day is when Lord Murugan killed Surapadman [Soorasamharam].

Please click on the link for Skanda Sashti 2023 dates

Originof Skandha Sashti Festival/Sashti Viratham

How to Observe SkandaSashti Vratham/fasting?

How to do the Sashti Pooja at home

                                    image source: Google images

Story behind Skandha Sashti/Sashti Vrat Katha

Once there was a demon named Surapadman, who along with brothers Simhamukhan and Tarakasuran was violent and cruel. They defeated the Devas and took over the Earth. They found immense pleasure in torturing the Devas and humans. They destroyed anything and everything that was in there way that belonged to the Devas.

 All the gods and goddesses in heavenly abodes approached Lord Brahma and asked him for a way to put an end to this atrocious behavior of Soorapadman and his clan. Surapadman had got the boon that only a son of Shiva will kill him. The demon had thought that Shiva who had gone into deep meditation after death of Goddess Sati will never return to earthly life.

Lord Brahma told them that only supreme god, Lord Shiva has the power to kill the demons and bring back peace to all the devas and every living being in all the lokhas. So, everyone ran towards Mt. Kailash where Lord Shiva was in deep meditation.

All the Rishis and Devas convinced Manmathan [Kamadeva – God of Love] to wake up Lord Shiva from deep meditation which resulted in his death by turning into ashes when Shiva opened his Third eye. Furious Shiva dropped six sparks from his eyes which was carried by Agni to Saravan lake. There the six flames got the form of six beautiful and charming babies. The children were under the care of six karthika stars [Karthigai pengal]. Later goddess Parvathi embraced all the six children together and they became one with six faces called with different names like Shanmugam, Murugan, Subramanyam, Karthikeyen etc.

The demons continued their rampage and Soorapadman held son of Lord Indra and many other saints and devas as captives. Lord Subramaniyan soon adorned the role of general of Devas and decided to annihilate the demons.

The whole war scene is enacted in all the Murugan temples, the above images are that of Thiruchendur Murugan temple Where Soorasamharam takes place in great galore and  devotion. Lakhs and lakhs of people visit the Thiruchendur Murugan temple during Soorasamharam. All the people chanting together  "Vetrivel Muruganukku Arogara, Veeravel Muruganukku Arogara" will bring goosebumps to each and every one.

Soorapadman approches Lord Murugan  in the war

                                  Soorapadman's head is beheaded by Lord Murugan
image source:

In the final battle, Lord Murugan killed Soorapadman with his “VEL” and this act of the lord is known as Soorasamharam. The main Skanda Sashti festival is held on this day. The famous “Vetrivel” chanting that takes place on the Sashti day is associated with he victory of Skanda over Soorapadman. 

Lord Murugan is considered the God of war, valor and wisdom and is highly revered in South India, particularly in Tamil Nadu.

Celebration of Skanda Sashti

This special day signifies the victory of good over bad and is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the people. During the Sashti Festival the battle between Lord Murugan and demon Soorapadman called the "SooranPor" is enacted in all the Murugan temples. The courtyard or the whole place is setup like a battle field where Lord Murugan kills Soorapadman, Singamugan and Thaarakasoooran.

In some places, processions are held, and devotees carry “Kavadis” which are elaborate and decorative wooden or metal structures, decorated with flowers and peacocok feathers, as an act of penance and devotion to Lord Murugan. They offer prayers to Lord Murugan while carrying the Kavadi, which symbolizes the burden of sins that they carry.

                              image source: google images

This festival holds deep spiritual and cultural significance for devotees of Lord Murugan and it is observed with great enthusiasm and devotion across various temples in South India. Sashti festival holds great significance for devotees who seek the blessing of Lord Murugan ot overcome obstacles, attain success and gain spiritual enlightenment. Observing Sashti vrat and performing the rituals with devotion can bring peace, prosperity and happiness into one’s life.

 I will be writing in details about this Skandha Shashti viratham in the following posts.

How to Observe SkandaSashti Vratham/fasting?

How to perform SkandaSashti Pooja at home?

Skanda Sashti Viratham Dates - 2023

                                  Photo Credits : Wikimedia commons

Thank you all for visiting my space, please come back again for more interesting articles about Indian Festivals and Poojas here. Meanwhile check out interesting articles about Navarathri, Golu, Pongal and other Indian Festivals here.

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Have a great day and enjoy.

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