Day 5 : Skandamata
Skandamātā (स्कन्दमाता) is the fifth form of Hindu Goddess Durga. Literally meaning Mother of Skanda, her name comes from word, Skanda is another name for war god and her son Kartikeya and Mata is the term for mother. As one of the Navadurga, Her worship takes place on the fifth day of Navaratri(the nine divine nights of Navadurga).
Form of Devi :
Goddess Skandamata mounts on the ferocious lion. She carries baby Murugan in her lap. Lord Murugan is also known as Kartikeya and brother of Lord Ganesha. Goddess Skandamata is depicted with four hands. She carries lotus flowers in her upper two hands. She holds baby Murugan in one of her right hand and keeps the other right hand in Abhaya Mudra. She sits on lotus flower and because of that Skandamata is also known as Goddess Padmasana.
The complexion of Goddess Skandamata is Shubhra (शुभ्र) which describes her white complexion. Devotees who worship this form of Goddess Parvati get the benefit of worshipping Lord Kartikeya. This quality is possessed only by Skandamata form of Goddess Parvati.
Story of Devi Skandamata :
After Sati immolated herself, Shiva became detached from the worldly affairs and started practicing austere penance as an ascetic. At the same time, the gods (devas) were under an attack from demons (asuras) who were being led by Surapadman and Tarakasura.
They had a boon that only Shiva or his offspring could kill them. Fearing that Shiva may ever have an offspring, the gods rush to Lord Vishnu for help but Vishnu tells that the gods themselves are responsible for the situation. Had they not attended Daksha Prajapati’s Yagna without Lord Shiva, Sati would have ever immolated herself. He then tells them about Parvati, who is an incarnation of Adi Shakti and destined to be Shiva’s consort.
On behalf of gods, Rishi Narada approaches Parvati and tells her that if she observes extreme penance, she would get Lord Shiva as her consort, who was also her husband in the previous birth. After thousands of years of observing penance, Shiva relents and marries Parvati.
Shiva and Parvati’s energy combines and produces a fiery seed. Lord Agni is entrusted with carrying the seed safely to Saravana Lake till the radiance from the seed becomes Shiva’s offspring. The heat from the seed becomes unbearable even for Agni to hold and he hands over the seed to Ganga who safely carries it to the lake in forest Saravana. Goddess Parvati then took the form of the water body as she alone was capable of carrying the seed of her consort, Shiva. Later, six faced Kartikeya takes birth and is taken care of by six Krittikas (mothers). He thus gets the name Kartikeya. He grew up to be a handsome, intelligent and powerful youth and thus got his name Kumara (Youth in Sanskrit)
Kartikeya was to be taught by Brahma but on the first day he asked Brahma the meaning of Om. Brahma explained him the same question to Shiva who explained the meaning of Om in twelve crore versus.
As the commander-in-chief of the army of gods, he is blessed by all the gods and given special weapons for the was against Tarakasura and Surapadman. He, later, kills Tarakasura in a fiercely fought battle.
Spiritual Significant of Devi Skandamata by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Skanda is another name for Lord Karthikeya who represents the coming together of Jnana Shakti (power of knowledge) and Kriya Shakti (power of righteous action). Skanda is the combination of these two. Skandamata is that form of the Divinity that brings practical wisdom and action together.
The Shiva Tattva is the blissful principle, ever calm and disengaged from action. The Devi Tattva (Mother Divine) is the primordial energy responsible for action and activity in creation.
It is said that the Devi represents the confluence of Iccha Shakti (power of intention), Jnana Shakti (power of knowledge) and Kriya Shakti (power of righteous action). When the Shiva Tattva unites with these three powers, then what emerges is Skanda.
Skandamata represents the very origin of Jnana (knowledge) and Kriya (the principle of action or activity). It can be understood as Kriyatmak Jnana (knowledge in action or action driven by right knowledge).
Many times, we see that knowledge is there but it has no purpose, or it cannot be used in any action as such. But there is also knowledge which has a definite end or purpose (attained through action). In college, you study subjects like Physics and Chemistry in great detail, but you do not use it much in your daily life. When you study Medicine, then you use that knowledge every day. When you understand how to repair a television, then you can use that knowledge and skill to repair a TV when it is damaged. Or like when you learn how a motor works and how to repair it. This is more practical-oriented knowledge. Skanda signifies the coming together of knowledge and (righteous) action in our life. Skanda Tattva is thus an extension of the Devi Tattva (Mother Divine).
We often say that the Brahman is manifest everywhere and is omnipresent; but at present when you have a difficult situation to deal with in your life, then what do you do? What knowledge would you use then? In order to resolve the problem you need to act, you need to put knowledge into action. So when you take action that is guided by knowledge, it is the Skanda Tattva that manifests. And Goddess Durga is considered as the mother of the Skanda Tattva
Skandamata Mantra :
सिंहासनगता नित्यं पद्माञ्चित करद्वया।
शुभदास्तु सदा देवी स्कन्दमाता यशस्विनी॥
Meaning: Skandmata, who rides on Lion with Kartikeya, holds lotus in her two hands and Varmudra in one hand, be propitious to me.
Colour of the Day : Yellow