Subramanya Sashti, also known as Skanda Subramanya Sashti is dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya (Skanda). It is observed on the sixth day during the Shukla Paksha of ‘Margashira’ month. Lord Subrahmanya, son of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati, is also known as ‘Kartikeya,’ ‘Velan Kumaran,’ ‘Murugan’ and ‘Tamil Kadavul. Subramanya Sashti is also celebrated as ‘Kartikeya Subramanya Sashti’ and ‘Kukke Subramanya Sashti.’ The day is also known as ‘Subrahmanya Champa Sashti ‘when the Shukla Paksha Sashti Tithi of the Margashira month falls on a Sunday. Subramanya Sashti has a special significance for the followers of Lord Kartikeya as it marks the triumph of Lord Subrahmanya over the demon Tarakasura. Subramanya Sashti is celebrated with immense fervour and devotion in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It is the most awaited events in South India.
Rituals and Celebrations:
On Subramanya Sashti, devotees get up at sunrise and take a sacred bath in the holy rivers. Devotees worship Lord Murugan by reading his stories and singing bhajans and kirtans in praise of him. Devotees worship Lord Kartikeya with devotion. Offering milk on the snake mound relieves the person from any ‘Sapra Dosha.’ A Naivedyam is prepared from Urad dal and offered to the Lord. Several devotees also keep a fast on and consume only one meal during the day. Some devotees stick to fruits, coconut water, and juices alone on all the six days. Prayers and rituals are performed in Lord Subrahmanya temples. Doing charity on Subramanya Sashti is very auspicious. It is a noble act to donate clothes, food and other essentials to the poor and needy. The fasting is observed for six days or one day depending on the convenience of the devotee. Devotees visit Subrahmanya temples. The essence of Vrat is non-utterance of falsehood, not getting anger.
Significance of Subrahmanya Sashti:
The observance of Subramanya Sashti is dedicated to Lord Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva. Lord Subrahmanya is worshipped in the form of a 5-headed snake. It is a popular belief that one who worships Lord Subrahmanya on this day is freed from ‘Sarpa Dosha.’ According to the Hindu legend, Lord Subrahmanya is the General of Gods army and is also known to be sharper of all gods. A person who performs rituals like ‘daan’ and ‘snan’ on Subramanya Sashti will be freed from all his/her sins. A legend says that King Muchukunda observed Subramanya Sashti at the behest of Sage Vasishta. He attained immortal fame and a vast expanse of the empire stretching over all the three worlds.
Demon Surapadma was troubling the three worlds on account of the invincible boon he received. The gods approached Lord Shiva. Lord Subrahmanya was manifested by Lord Shiva from his third eye through six effulgent sparks which later unified as a child with six faces by Goddess Parvati. Lord Murugan received the divine Vel from his mother. The battle lasted for six days, and the demon was vanquished on the Sashti day. Owing to the prayers of the demon, Lord Muruga bestowed immortality on him by converting him as a peacock, which became his mount. The Subramanya Sashti Vrat is highly efficacious to win the blessings of Lord Subrahmanya and confers all prosperity on the devotees.