The legend of Kartikeya
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
How Kartikeya's mount came to be
Kartikeya is known to be the protector of good, hence he carries a Vel or the divine spear. His mount is the beautiful national bird of India, the Peacock. He destroyed the terrible asura (demon) Surapadman by hurling the spear at him. The asura was split into two parts, one of which became His mount, and the other, His rooster banner.
There is an interesting story relating to both Velayudha (Muruga) and his mount. One day, Shiva and Parvati decided to conduct a competition between their sons, Ganesha and Muruga. They asked them to go round the world three times on their respective mounts and declared that the winner would get to have the unique Jnana Pazham (the Fruit of Knowledge). Ganesha mounted his vahana, the Rat and Kartikeya proudly sped off on his own vehicle, the peacock.
It was then that Ganesha, being the wiser one, realized merely had to go round his parents three times, and that would be equivalent to going around the world three times. He finished the three rounds quickly enough and got hold of the precious fruit. Kartikeya came back flying on the peacock, confident that he would finish much faster than his brother who would have to travel on a little rat! He was absolutely disappointed and angry when he learnt what had transpired in his absence and, renouncing the world, went off in a huff to Palani, where there stands a sacred temple today.
There are many temples of Muruga all over south India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Even Buddhists and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka venerate this deity. The Sinhalese refer to him as Kathirkamam. Lord Muruga is usually shown seated on his peacock, its brilliant plume spread out fully, with his two wives, Valli and Devayani seated by him on either side.
The god Shiva with a peacock feather