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The fifth day of Navratri is all about celebrating and praising motherly love. On this day we worship Mata Skandmata, the mother of Lord Kartikeya, the commander-in-chief of the army of Devas(gods). Skanda is another name for Lord Kartikeya, Mata means mother; thus the name Skandamata.

• She rides a lion and has four hands. She holds Kartikeya (Skanda) in one hand, holds a lotus in the second and the third hand and blesses her devotees with the fourth hand. She is also known as Goddess Padamasana since she is often depicted as seated on a lotus flower, and ‘The Goddess of Fire’ because of her power to protect people from the evil.

• The birth of Kartikeya is an interesting story. Shiva detached himself from the worldly affairs after his wife Sati immolated herself. At the same time, the Gods were under attack by the demons led by Tarakasur, who had a boon that only Shiva’s offspring could kill him. Fearing that Shiva may never have an offspring, the Gods approached Lord Vishnu for help who then told them about Parvati, an incarnation of Adi Shakti destined to marry Shiva. On behalf of gods, Rishi Narada approaches Parvati and tells her about her destiny. Mata Parvati observes extreme penance as Mata Brahmacharini following which Shiva 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 warmth 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).

• Mata Skandmata is worshipped as the mother of a supremely gifted child. She is the symbol of salvation, power and prosperity.

• She blesses her true devotees with wisdom and all the treasures of the world. Her aura and energy is as brilliant as the sun.

• It is said that when a devotee worships Skandamata, Lord Kartikeya is automatically worshipped as he is sitting in her mother’s lap. Her worship leads to peace, prosperity and salvation.

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