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Navratri (Day 5) – The Story of Maa Skandmata

Today we will listen to the glory of Maa Skanda Mata , mother of Skanda , the first born son of Lord Siva and Maa Parvaty. Therefore, Maa Parvati is sometimes referred to as Skandmata, which means mother of Kartikeya or Skanda.

Maa Skandmata is another form of Maa Durga, and is believed to protect her devotees, just as a mother protects her children. The goddess’s love and care helped Lord Kartikeya defeat the demon Tarkasura.

History and Origin

Lord Shiva and Devi Sati were married a long time ago. Lord Shiva, however, became infuriated when Sati impaled herself in the Maha Yagna organized by her father, and he was left devastated. In order to purify himself, he renounced all worldly affairs and immediately started deep penance.

Tarakasura soon began attacking other Gods, creating panic and problems. Moreover, Tarakasura had a boon that only Lord Shiva or his child could kill him. It was a cause of great concern as none of the Gods could defeat him. Therefore, Sage Narada met Maa Parvati on behalf of all the other Gods. Her previous life as Devi Sati was described to her by him, in addition to the purpose of her current birth. Sage Narada explained that Maa Parvati would have an offspring with Lord Shiva who would then defeat Tarakasura.

In order to convince Lord Shiva that she was an incarnation of Sati, Maa Parvati had to undergo extreme penance and meditation (Tapasya). Over a thousand years, she went without food, water, and performed severe penance. Finally, Lord Shiva recognized her dedication and married her. Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati created the fiery seed when their energies combined.

However, this fiery seed was so hot that even Lord Agni, the God of Fire, could not handle it. The seed was then handed to Ganga, who safely carried it into ‘Saravana’, the ‘Forest of Reeds’. Six sisters, known as Krittikas (mothers), took care of the seeds. The fiery seed grew into a boy over time. As the Krittikas took care of him, this baby boy became known as Lord Kartikeya, the son of Shiva and Maa Parvati.

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In due course, Lord Kartikeya was made commander-in-chief of the Army of Gods and given special weapons to defeat Tarakasura. Kartikeya then fought a fierce battle with Tarakasura, slayed the demon and brought peace to the world.

As Kartikeya was born of a heated, effusing seed, he came to known as Skanda, which means ‘effusing’ in Sanskrit. His mother, Maa Parvati, became known as Skandmata.
The goddess performed penance for Shiva and played a critical role in the birth of Skanda. Skandmata is therefore worshipped during Navratri. Mother to a powerful and gifted son, she achieved peace and harmony among us all.

Skandmata has four arms, rides a lion, and sits on a lotus. Besides holding a lotus in two of her hands, she carries Lord Kartikeya with the third hand and blesses all her devotees with the fourth hand.


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