This legend narrates the story of the destruction of
Kaama by Shiva and the birth of Skanda.
Sati, the consort of Shiva immolated
herself at the site of the Daksha Yagna, which was later
destroyed by Shiva. Sati was reborn as Uma, or Parvati
the daughter of the mountain king Himavaan (the Himalayas). Shiva withdrew himself from
the universe and engaged himself in yogic meditation in the Himalayas.
In the meanwhile, the demon Surapadma
ravaged the earth and tormented its beings. It was realized by the gods that only the son
born of Shiva and Parvati could lead the gods to victory over Tarakaasuran,
Surapadman and their demon companions. They plotted with Kaama,
the lord of desire, to shoot a flower arrow at Shiva, as he sat in meditation, so as to
make him fall in love with Parvati. When Kaama aimed his arrow at Shiva, he opened his
third eye and burned him to ashes instantly. Upon hearing the pleas of Kama's wife Rati,
he brought back Kama to life, in flesh and blood for her sake, and in a formless state for
His penance disturbed, Shiva fell in love with
Parvathi. However, the sparks of the fiery seed of Shiva were unbearable; even the fire
God Agni could not bear them; this fire was then transported by the river Ganga into the Sara
Vana forest, where Sara Vana Bhava was born. He was raised
by the six Kartika damsels. Parvati combined these six babies into one
with six faces, ie. Shanmukha. Shanmukha, or Kartikeya
the supreme general of the devas, led the army of the devas to victory against the demons.
The six sites at which Kartikeya sojourned while leading his armies against Surapadman are
Tiruttanikai, Swamimalai, Tiruvavinankudi (Palani), Pazhamudirsolai, Tirupparamkunram and
Tiruchendur. All these sites have ancient temples glorified by the tamil
poems of Tirumurugaatruppadai of the Sangam period
(prior to the 3rd century CE).
Tamilnadu near Thanjavur, enshrines Kaamari Murthy, the destroyer of
Kaama, in the Veeratteswarar temple which is one of the 8 Veeratta stalas
celebrating Shiva as the destroyer of evil.