Vaigasi Viságam is a significant Hindu religious festival commemorating the birth of Lord Murugan, also known as Kartikeyan. According to the Hindu calendar, Lord Murugan was born on the nakshatra of Vishakha (விசாகம்) during the month of Vaigasi, hence He's also called Visagan. Therefore, devotees celebrate His birth on the same nakshatra and in the same month every year. Murugan is known to be a warrior and a wise one, which is also the quality of His birth nakshatra, Vishakha.
Vishakha is also the birth nakshatra of Lord Buddha. Buddha is also known for his wisdom like Kartikeya.
Birth of Kartikeya
Lord Kartikeya, the Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is the embodiment of valor and wisdom. He holds the esteemed position of being the commander-in-chief (Senapati) of the celestial army. His purposeful birth was destined to conquer the forces of evil and restore balance and harmony across the three realms. However, his birth was marked by a series of extraordinary events.
It began with the self-immolation of Shiva's first consort, Sati, during her father Daksha's grand yagna. Enraged by this incident, Shiva beheaded Daksha and retreated into deep meditation for an extended period. Seizing the opportunity, Surapadma, the Asura king, embarked on a rigorous penance to obtain a boon from Shiva. The boon stated that he could only be defeated by Shiva's own son. Surapadma assumed that Shiva, engrossed in his meditation, would never have a child.
With the absence of a divine successor, Surapadma, along with his brothers Tarakasura and Gajamukha, unleashed a reign of terror, slaying anyone who dared to oppose them, including the celestial army. In desperation, the devas sought a solution and turned to Lord Vishnu, who revealed that Parvati, the reincarnation of Sati, would become Shiva's consort and their combined energy would bring forth a child ordained to destroy the king of the asuras. Lord Agni, one of the devas, asked what if the king of asura knew about this and destroys the child. Vishnu smilingly replied that it was Agni's duty to avoid such incident and his further questions will be answered by time.
Soon Goddess Parvati succeeded in attaining Lord Shiva as her divine consort after austere penance. Through their divine union, a blazing seed (embryo) was conceived. Lord Agni was entrusted to carry the seed safely to Saravana Poigai ("Shravana Lake"). The seed was so hot that even Agni couldn't bear the heat, so he broke it into six pieces for easier transportation and delivered them to the nurturing care of the six Krittika women, wives of the six celestial sages. They grew safely under the loving care of their foster mothers and learned many things including the dhanur veda.
A few years later, Goddess Parvati journeyed to Saravana Poigai to reunite with her beloved offspring. She merged their six individual bodies with six heads into one harmonious being, bestowing upon him the name Murugan, also known as "Six Faced" (Arumugan). As Murugan grew, he possessed unparalleled beauty, intelligence, and immense power, earning him the name Kumara, signifying eternal youthfulness.
Lord Kartikeya: The Liberator
According to the Puranas, it is believed that standing in front of Lord Kartikeya purifies one with sattvic energy. The asuric kings, Surapadma and Tarakasura performed good deeds but were consumed by the demonic desires to control all three worlds. Eventually, in the midst of the great war called Surasamharam, they confronted Kartikeya for a final battle. Although Kartikeya emerged victorious, the demon kings humbly requested to be kept at His feet. In response, He granted their request and transformed them into the symbols of liberation: the Peacock and the Cock, after shattering their ego. Even to this day, those who worship Murugan also pay reverence to the Peacock and the Cock.
Lord Kartikeya is primarily regarded as the "Tamil God," representing the deity associated with the Tamil language, culture, and traditions. Ancient texts mention that Sage Agastya created the Tamil language under the command of Kartikeya. Therefore, Agastya is revered as the Guru, while Kartikeya is revered as the presiding deity of Tamil. He is predominantly worshipped by the people of South India and the Yezidis of Iraq. Interestingly, Kartikeya holds a significant position among the Yezidis, who are an ethnic group native to the Iraqi region and surrounding areas. It is worth noting that they still carry the genetic lineage of their early ancestors.
Importance of Lord Kartikeya
Lord Kartikeya holds the esteemed title of being the guru of Supreme God Shiva, as He imparted the profound meaning of the sacred syllable "Aum" (the Pranava Mantra) to Shiva. Additionally, He is known by various names such as Saravana, Skanda, Subramanya, and more. The holy month of Sravana, also known as Saavan, is considered highly auspicious for worshipping Lord Shiva. It is in this context that Sravana nakshatra, connected to both Shiva and Kartikeya, gains significance. Among the 18 Puranas, the Skanda Purana dedicated to Kartikeya is the longest, encompassing over 80,000 verses. Furthermore, in the realm of astrology, Kartikeya is revered as the presiding deity of Mars.