Mars, Agni and Karthikeya


The Planet Mars – sometimes known in Vedic Astrology as Mangala or Kuja, is son of the Earth, and is a focus of energy or shakti of the Earth. Mars is said to be of a fiery nature, and has the Vedic fire god Agni as its ruling deity. The mythological tales of the Puranas gives the son of Lord Shiva, Karthikeya (also known as Skanda, Murugan, Subramaniam) as the deity behind Planet Mars. What then is the purpose of these deities and how do they contribute to the light and energies that emanate from Mars?

In the Skanda Purana, a Hindu religious text, Mars is known as the deity Mangala and was born from the sweat of Shiva. The planet is called Angaraka in Sanskrit, after the celibate god of war who owns the signs of Aries and Scorpio, and teaches the occult sciences.

Mars is the planet of energy; Mars rules our capacity to project emotion; Mars is emotional excitability which may turn to violence on occasion. Mars is the planet of power, strength, courage and aggression. A strong Mars provides us with the energy, independence, will and self-confidence to carry out our endeavours.

Mars is the secret flame hidden in matter. This secret energy demands manifestation in material form. Mars can also bring out negativity and the dark side of Earth’s energy, the primordial powers, the abyss of tsunami, earthquake, typhoon; the return of prakriti (nature) to raw chaos.

On the higher level, Mars directs us to the yogas of knowledge and energy and gives self-discipline and asceticism. A strong and spiritual Mars is good for the practice of rituals and yogic techniques, methods of directing psychic and spiritual energies.

Origin of Karthikeya

Murugan, the youthful warrior god, is principally worshipped in South India. Murugan is principally shown carrying a spear, Vel, and is quick to protect his devotees and generous in granting boons. Murugan has increasingly become identified with Skanda, the six-headed warrior son of Shiva. Skanda has six heads because as an infant he as nursed by six surrogate mothers, the six brightest stars of the Pleiades. The constellation Pleiades is called Krittika in Sanskrit, so Skanda is widely known as Karthikeya. Skanda and Murugan are both shown riding peacocks; this is due the story of the two brothers Ganesha and Subramanya (Skanda) (both children of Lord Shiva and Parvati) having a race around the Universe. Skanda rode his favourite mount (vahana), the peacock.

Two sons of Shiva and Parvati

Ganesh and Karthikeya; two sons of Shiva and Parvati


Krittika is named after Karthikeya, son of Lord Shiva. Karthikeya is also the commander of the celestial army of the Gods. The word meaning of Krittika is “flame”. There are six stars (in Pleiades) formed like a Kshura or razor – i.e., the end of an arrow. The presiding deity of Krittika Nakshatra is Agni – the ancient God of Fire.

Krittika nakshatra starts at 26:40° Aries to 10:00° Taurus. The lord of this nakshatra is the Sun. Its shape or symbol is the dagger or razor, it is sattvic (serene, peaceful) in nature and of Brahmin caste. The deity is Agni, Fire god, and the nakshtra has the shakti (power to/of) to burn. Its basis is heat and light, for burning or purification. It is of kapha dosha; Parashara says it rules the eyebrows, others say it rules the head and upper/back of the head. Of Brahmin caste, Brahmins are those who maintain and worship the sacred fire, knowers of the sacred hymns and sacrificial rules. Its occupation is those who work on fire, i.e. goldsmiths, blacksmiths, boilermakers, armourers, army commanders, etc.

Agni and Mars

The Vedas first address Agni to whom obeisance is offered in all fire-rites (vedic sacrifices) called homa. Agni also means agrani, leader to whom all sacrifices are offered. Agni is agrani which is also a name of Mars who is firey in nature, has the colour of fire in his eyes, in his skin colour and the colours associated with Mars. The malefic nature of Mars, harnessed in austerities – tapas – which leads to a discipline which burns attachments and desires toward the material world. It also burns the tamasic tendencies within and achieves release from bondage to the cycle of birth and death. This tapas is a direct expression of the fire of Mars that burns in every spiritual aspirant’s heart.

Agni is the part of the first trimurthi – Indra, the chief of the gods, Vayu, the god of Wind, Agni the god of Fire. Rig Veda first five slokas address Agni. Agni provides light, heat, it burns and provides the energy for men to engage in action towards their goals – the purusharthas. Agni spreads divine wisdom, and enables devotees to acquire new skills and insights. Mars is a precursor of new and original ideas in everyday life and also, in the realm of spirituality. Mars is also the commander in chief of the planetary hierarchy. Mars, firey planet, is agrani, leader after the style of the god of fire, Agni.

Agni is said to have seven flames; each flame is named in Mundakopanishad. There is a similarity with the solar fire we call Sun, which has seven horses pulling the chariot of the Sun across the skies. Angaraka (the smouldering fire) (which is also a name for Mars) splinters itself into seven flames. The Sun and Mars provide light, heat, burning and energy on different planes within the human person. The Sun disperses the magnetic energy of the Central Sun of all Universes, and emits light energy to all the planets, which in turn reflect light and magnetic energy from the Sun.

Agni is described in various ways in vedic literature. His wife is said to be Swaha (the offering to the fire) and they are said to have three offsprings, three different types of fire: Pawaka, Pavamana and Suchi. The first is the Fire of the Ancestors (Pitris). This fire is the karmic chain, the genetic code, the contribution of each set of ancestors within. We are born into a family with karmic history, in the biblical sense, the sins of the fathers are visited to the children unto the seventh generation. The second fire is the fire of the asuras which causes internal friction, which creates impedimenta and hurdles along the path. This is caused by the planets combining and recombining light within us. The third kind of Fire within is the Solar fire, the fire of the Inner Sun, the Atman, which is the spiritual path.

The Sun, as source of solar fire and Mars as source of Agni, the fire within, together control and regulate the activities of these three types of fire within. Precise knowledge of these fires could indicate the direction and goal of every incarnated person.

Mars represents energy in transformation towards a higher design. A spark becomes a flame, a flame becomes many flames, the flames die out and become embers and ash. The spark ignites wood, the wood smoulders and is fanned into flame, fire, the wood is energy in transformation, wood has become friction, light, heat, hot coals, embers, ash. The fire of the Pitris penetrates the ova in the womb, the spark of life is ignited, the embryo forms, is born with light and heat, fire in the eyes, in the stoma, in the marrow and blood, the fire of the asuras begins with the first breath. The new born soul is grasped by the planets and seeks the solar fire within, the light of the atma.

The Mars energy makes the individual active in physical generative activities. Where the Mars energy is oversighted by Skanda – Karthikeya, and the generative impulse is inhibited in sexual relationships, the energy seeks transformation and may be express as tapas, discipline, inner strength, spiritual austerities. The glamour of the world, the desires and dross of materialism are burnt up in the wake of spiritual ascesis, the fire of Mars becomes a bridge towards the four goals of life, right conduct (dharma), satisfaction of elementary needs (kama), wealth of skill, capacity and application (artha) and the release from the cycle of birth-death-birth again (moksha).

Devotion of Karthikeya

Hey Swaminatha karunakara deena bandho,
Sree Paravatheesa mukha pankaja padma bandho,
Sreesadhi deva gana poojitha pada padma,
Valleesa nadha mama dehi karavalambham.

Extend a hand of support, Oh Lord of Valli,
Who is the chief of gods, who is merciful,
Who is friend of the oppressed,
Who is the son of the lotus faced lord of goddess Parvathi,
And whose lotus feet is worshipped
By all gods and also by Lord of Goddess Lakshmi.

Devadhi deva sutha, deva ganadhi nadha,
Devendra vandhya mrudu pankaja manju pada,
Devarshi narada muneendra sugeetha keerthe,
Valleesa nadha mama dehi karavalambham.

Extend a hand of support, Oh Lord of Valli,
Who is the son of God of gods, who is the chief of all gods,
Whose soft lotus like feet is worshipped by Devendra,
And whose fame is sung by deva sage Narada and others.

Nithyanna Dana nirathakhila roga harin,
Bhagya pradhana paripooritha bhaktha Kama,
Sruthyagama pranava vachya nija swaroopa,
Valleesa nadha mama dehi karavalambham.

Extend a hand of support, Oh Lord of Valli,
Who gives food daily in charity, which cures all prevalent diseases,
Who bestows luck, which fulfills all wishes of devotees,
And whose real form is the pranava given in Vedas.

Krouncha surendra parigandana Sakthi soola,
Chapa thi sasthra parimanditha divya panai,
Sree kundaleesa drutha thunda sikheendra vaha,
Valleesa nadha mama dehi karavalambham.

Extend a hand of support, Oh Lord of Valli,
Who is the Lord of mountains, who holds,
Shakthi, Soola, bow and arrows in his holy hands,
Who wears ear rings and who rides the fast moving peacock.

Devadhi deva radha mandala Madhya methya,
Devendra peeda nagaram druda chapa hastha,
Sooram nihathya sura kotibhiradyamana,
Valleesa nadha mama dehi karavalambham.

Extend a hand of support, Oh Lord of Valli,
Who is the god o gods,
Who rides the central Chariot among a group of chariots,
Who prevents problems for Devendra,
Who can send arrows very fast,
And who by killing Sura became,
The object of adulation of billions of devas.

Heeradhi rathna vara yuktha kireeda hara,
Keyura kundala lasath kavachabhirama,
Hey Veera tharaka jayaa amara brunda vandhya,
Valleesa nadha mama dehi karavalambham.

Extend a hand of support, Oh Lord of Valli,
Who wears crowns and chains with diamonds and gems,
Who wears armlet, ear rings and strong armour,
And who is the valorous one who killed Tharaka,
And was saluted by the groups of devas.

Panchaksharadhi manu manthritha Ganga thoyai,
Panchamruthai praudhithendra mukhair muneendryai,
Pattabhishiktha maghavatha nayasa nadha,
Valleesa nadha mama dehi karavalambham.

Extend a hand of support, Oh Lord of Valli,
Who was crowned as their leader by Indra,
With the chanting of the holy five letters,
With the bathing of the holy water of Ganga,
After strengthening it further by holy chants,
And who was anointed with the five holy nectars,
By very learned and holy sages.

Sree karthikeya karuna mrutha poorna drushtya,
Kamadhi roga kalushi krutha drushta chitham,
Sikthwa Thu mamava kala nidhi koti kantha,
Valleesa nadha mama dehi karavalambham.

Extend a hand of support, Oh Lord of Valli,
Who is known as Karthikeya, who with his,
Fully nectar like looks of mercy cures,
Passion, diseases and mind which has made been dirty
Who is the treasure house of arts and
Who shines like billions of suns.

Subrahmanyashtakam punyam yeh padanthi dwijothama,
They sarve mukthimayanthi Subrahmanya prasadatha,
Subrahmanyashtakam idham prathar uthaya ya padeth,
Kodi janma krutham papam thath kshanad thasya nasyathi.

The twice born who reads this octet on Subrahmanya,
Would attain salvation by the grace of Lord Subrahmanya,
And for him who reads this octet on Subrahmanya, as soon as,
He gets up in the morning, the sins committed in billons,
Of previous births will vanish in a second

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