The union of Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Brahmanism results in athleticism, Kartikeya. And his unlimited ability to improve, and his athletic inclination to always be improving, means that he is strengthened by whatever challenges he faces. He never weakens, but always is growing stronger.
Kartikeya had been inspired by Kamadev (Vishnu), after Kamadev had instructed Parvati how to manifest Uma: Uma-Parvati is the mother of Kartikeya, Shiva the father, Kama the inspiration. But it was Brahma, who raised Kartikeya. Kartikeya was then trained by Agni, and the other Brahmanist Devas. And instructed by every other kind of being and non-being. Transcending these differences, being composed of all life, Kartikeya embodies the unifying theme of living beings: an athleticism, of body, mind and heart. Thus, every being can name Kartikeya "Murugan," their youth, their progeny, their heir. And is strong, like a youth.
He is also known as "Murugan," a name that suggests "boy," in the same way that it is used in English when a person acknowledges a youth: "that's my boy!" It is also identical to the connotation of ancient English, boy, "knight," a capable and loyal servant, able to act as an agent in war or peace, or in any purpose at all. As a lawyer would represent their client, in business negotiations or in lawsuit, or an officer-soldier would represent their commander-in-chief in administration or in execution of orders. As a trusted servant would be left in charge of their master's home, and as is much a part of their master's home as an extension of their master - so is a Murugan an embodiment of a totality of service.
Like his father Shiva and mother Parvati-Uma, Kartikeya is both male and female. His female aspect is divided in two: Devasena, the daughter of Indra, and Valli, the daughter of the Deer. Together, they represent both the exhaustion or completion of exertion, and the second-wind the athlete discovers through willpower in forcing past the exhaustion of exertion. And in combination with the masculine servant Murugan, connote the Yogi's ability to transform both mind and body into a vehicle, and by self-control master their form: the Yogi can control their heart as well as their emotions, as easily as they would stretch an arm, or balance on a leg. The Yogi can become any caste, assume any duty, can transform themselves to become what is needed of them.
Kartikeya, by the instruction of his mother, became also known as Skanda - an abstract concept of sensory perception. As the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin relay information reliably to the mind for interpretation, Skanda is the ultimate Vehicle, Vahana. As the senses become a vehicle for the mind, merged with this mental understanding of interpreted perception, so too does Skanda act. Anticipating the needs of his masters, he is able and ready to serve even before his service is needed.
Kartikeya is the commander in war, of war, the embodiment of war. Subrahmanya is a name that suggests all the goodness of Brahma. As his brother, Ganesh, is the Ganapataye, the leader of the Ganas, so is Kartikeya a commander. The sense of commander, though, should be moderated in the understanding of a democratically elected military, policing and judicial authority: a Sheriff or President in American democracy would be an adequate analogy. But it should also be enhanced to include the sense of an occupying authority: a conqueror who acts as a kind of governor. All the good living things of all the worlds are led by Kartikeya. But especially the Devas - s/he is the heir to King Indra. And also especially the animals, whose heir s/he is also. And the snakes are most loyal to Subrahmanya. This loyalty is understood in the same context by which animals willingly obey their masters - as vehicles, and extensions of their master's will.
Subrahmanya is the most unusual name of Kartikeya, for Hinduism does not understand a difference between good and evil, except that which we make. As Brahma has the power to separate with his spoon what food is preferred from what is unpreferred, so does Kartikeya teach the necessary logic of moderated intolerance.
The athlete will discern that their current state not good enough, or unfavorably. And then improve. Where then is the athlete's satisfaction? How does the athlete discover Svaha? Svaha taught Kartikeya to find satisfaction in continual improvement and growth, the athlete is only satisfied with their own sustained effort and growth.
This brought Kartikeya in direct conflict with Tarakasura. Though able with every weapon, especially the bow, for this battle His mother, Parvati-Uma, gave him the Vel, a kind of spear which has a flat head, able to split targets into two (representing the ability to discern between good and bad, or more accurately, favorable and unfavorable - like a weaponized spoon of Brahma). In this war, he destroyed his opponents by absorbing their strength, or transforming them into vehicles: whatever challenge he faced made him stronger, and more able. His mother, Parvati-Uma was new-born at the time, and did not have a vehicle, and he gave her the Tiger. He took for himself two vehicles: the peacock and the rooster.
Kartikeya's abode is the battle camp, office, or other place of service. He loves to see the differences that separate beings, especially people, broken down through union. We can all become willing vehicles for each other, loyal servants, through selfless service. We can all improve through athleticism.
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