The Birth of Karttikeya from the Ganges


Sage Vishvamitra continues his narration about the earthly course of Ganga, her begetting [getting] Kaarthikeya, Krittika-stars breast-feeding that boy, Gods naming that boy as Kaarthikeya, and that boy's anointment [to choose by or to designate] as the Chief of Celestial Armies.

Chapter [Sarga] 37 in Detail

"While God Shiva is undertaking asceticism thus, then the Gods desiring an Army Chief for celestial forces have arrived in the audience of Forefather Brahma, along with Indra and keeping Fire-God at their fore." Sage Vishvamitra continued his narration to Rama. [1-37-1]

"On approaching the Forefather Brahma, oh, Rama, all of the celestials headed by Fire-God and along with Indra have venerated and then spoke this to him. [1-37-2]

Oh, God Brahma, he who has hypothetically given a Chief of Celestial Army in the form of his potency [power] that God Shiva is undertaking a supreme asceticism, indeed along with Goddess Uma. [1-37-3]

“‘Looking forward for the welfare of the worlds, oh, knower of the procedures, Brahma, you may order us clearly what is to be done next, as you alone are our ultimate recourse. [1-37-4]

"On listening the words of Gods, Brahma, the Forefather of all the worlds, soothingly spoke this to the celestials with sweet words. [1-37-5]

What the Daughter of Mountain, namely Goddess Uma, has said that 'you shall have no posterity [offspring’s or children] in your own wives' is true and it cannot be decried [disapproved], and it is unambiguous too. [1-37-6]

“‘In whom the Fire-God can procreate an enemy-destroying Chief of Celestial Armies, such an empyreal [celestial or divine] Ganga is there. [1-37-7]

" 'The elder daughter King of Mountains, namely Ganga, will graciously welcome the offspring from Fire-God, and that act of Ganga in welcoming the offspring through Fire-God will also be pleasurable in many ways to the younger daughter of King of Mountains, namely Uma, no doubt about it.' So said Brahma to all the Gods. [1-37-8]

"On hearing those words of Brahma, oh, Rama, the delight of Raghu's dynasty, all the Gods have praise-fully worshipped him, as their ends are achieved at the bidding fair of Brahma. [1-37-9]

"On going to that supreme Mt. Kailash, oh, Rama, which is heaped up with many ores [natural minerals], all of those Gods have assigned the Fire-God to father a son. [1-37-10]

Oh, Fire-God, you please coordinate the mission of Gods, oh, great-resplendent [shining brilliantly] God of Fire, you may release the potency of Shiva, which you have contained so far, in the daughter of King of Mountains, namely River Ganga.' Thus, all Gods have requested the Fire-God. [1-37-11]

On assuring the Gods that he will do his best, the Fire-God approached Ganga entreating [negotiating], 'Oh, Goddess Ganga, you verily bear pregnancy with the potency of Shiva, since this is the select process of all the Gods.' So said Fire-God to River Ganga. [1-37-12]

"On listening that sentence of Fire-God, River Ganga adopted a celestial form readying [to make ready] herself, and on seeing her glorious mien [appearance] the Fire-God seeped throughout her. [1-37-13]

"The Fire-God then drenched River Ganga from all over with the potency of Shiva which he contained so far, oh, Raghu's delight Rama, and every rill [narrow spaces] and channel of Ganga is replete [full] with it. [1-37-14]

"River Ganga then spoke this to the Fire-God who is in the lead of all Gods, 'oh, God, I am incapable to bear up the rampant fervor [intense heat] of yours, and while being burnt with the fire of God Shiva compounded with that of yours my life-force is very highly tortured.' [1-37-15, 16a]

"He who consumes fire-oblations on behalf of all the Gods, that Fire-God seeing the miserable condition of River Ganga then spoke this to her, ''you may lay away that embryo [a vertebrate at any stage of development prior to birth] here at the side of Himalayan Mountains.' So said Fire-God to River Ganga. [1-37-16b, 17a]

"Oh, great-resplendent Rama, on hearing the words of Fire-God, oh, charming prince Rama, River Ganga indeed ejected that great-radiant embryo of Shiva from all her rills [narrow spaces] and channels. [1-37-17b, 18a]

"Which refulgent [brilliant] embryo with the glitter of molten Gold has emerged from River Ganga is there that has reached earth, and from that the silver, and even the gold with its matchless dazzle have emerged. [1-37-18]

"In that process, copper and iron are also generated from that combustion of fires of Shiva and Fire-God, and the residua [something remaining or remainder] have become tin and lead, and thus that embryo on reaching the earth has evolved itself into various other elements also. [1-37-19b, 20]

"But, just when that embryo is laid down on Himalayan mountains, entire reed-garden sprouted on that mountain is made brilliant by that glittering embryo and the reed-garden itself has become golden. [1-37-21]

"Oh, tigerly-man, from then onwards the gold with its brilliance equaling that of the Fire-God is renowned by the name of jaata ruupa , one that retains its birth-time form, and oh, Raghava, everything on the mountain, say grass, trees, climbers, and shrubs, all have become golden. [1-37-22]

Then for the boy who took birth from the embryo deposited in Himalayas, the Wind-Gods along with Indra have arranged Krittika stars to simultaneously suckle [to give milk to from the breast] him. [1-37-23]

Those Krittika stars have decided among themselves that 'this boy shall be the son for all of us, and on making such a best resolve they suckled [to give milk to from the breast] the just born boy. [1-37-24]

"All the Gods have then said, 'this boy will be renowned in all the three world as Kaarthikeya, as Krittika-stars have suckled him, without any doubt.' [1-37-25]

"On hearing that blessing of Gods, Krittika stars gave a wash to that excellently auspicious boy who is radiant like fire, and who slid down from the secretion [concealment] of the womb of Ganga. [1-37-26]

And Gods called that boy, oh, Rama of Kakutstha, whose glow is like that of flaring fire and who is ambidextrous [unusually skillful] as 'Skanda' for he slid down from the secretions of a womb. [1-37-27]

Then an unexcelled milk instantly came forth from the breasts of the six Krittika-stars, and becoming a six-faced one that boy too sucked that milk from the six Krittika-stars at the same time. [1-37-28]

On sipping the milk just for one day he became an adolescent boy on that day itself, and even though he is of delicate constitution as a boy, that taskmaster triumphed over the army troops of demons by his own vigor [force]. [1-37-29]

"All of the celestial have then come together under the leadership of Fire-God and they anointed [to smear or rub with oil or an oily substance] that highly resplendent boy, Skanda, or Kaarthikeya, as the Chief of Celestial Army troops. [1-37-30]

"This way, I have vividly narrated the legend of Ganga to you, oh, Rama, like that the Divine and Meritorious [deserving of honor or esteem] legend of the emergence of Kumara, namely Skanda is also narrated. [1-37-31]

"He who is a devotee of Kaarthikeya, oh, Rama of Kakutstha, he thrives with longevity, also with sons, grandsons on this humanly earth in his mortal life, and on its conclusion he becomes one with Skanda on journeying to Skanda's abode. [1-37-32]

Thus, this is the 37th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate