Skanda Shashti Message (1946)
by Swami Sivananda
Skanda Shasthi is the six-day-worship of Lord Skanda or Karttikeya. He is the spiritual son of Lord Siva. Lord Skanda is worshipped with intense devotion by a very large section of people throughout Southern India and Sri Lanka as well.
The origin of Lord Skanda, the purpose of His Avatara and its significance are of much importance to all seekers after Truth. During the battle between the Asuras and the Devas, the latter were defeated several times by the former. The Devas were unable to resist the onslaught of the Asuric forces. Then, in despair, they approached Lord Siva and entreated Him to give them an able Leader under whose heroic lead they might obtain victory over the Asuras. They surrendered themselves completely and prayed to Lord Siva sincerely.
The gracious Lord granted their request by creating the Mighty Divine Warrior, Lord Skanda, out of His Divine Power or Achintya Sakti. This great son of Lord Siva at once assumed leadership of the celestial forces, originated them, inspired them and attacked the Asuric forces. The Asuras were routed and a glorious victory was gained by the Devas. Thus it was through the able guidance and leadership of Lord Skanda that the Divine forces obtained victory over the demoniacal.
The inner life of the spiritual aspirant is precisely such a constant struggle between the divine and the demoniacal aspects in him. The seeker's Sadhana is this determined battle against the Asuric forces that try to drag him down into deeper darkness and take him away from his ideal. At times he becomes so totally helpless under the violent attacks of his lower nature that it seems as if all hope of progress is doomed to failure. He feels that he has fallen, never to rise again. But, let all sadhakas take heart that the compassion and grace of the Divine Lord is never-failing. It will never let you down. ‘Nil desperandum' should be your guiding motto, for, the eternal law is "darkness cannot stand before light".
Make a whole-hearted surrender at the feet of the Divine even as the Devas surrendered to Lord Siva. And like them pray earnestly with Bhava and sincerity. The divine help will surely come, and in your heart there will spring up the routing torrent of Divine Sakti. The Lord's grace will become manifest to you in the form of inner Soul-force. This power is the Skanda manifest in inner being to aid in your battle against the lower asuric self with its devilish minions like passion, anger, greed, jealousy, falsehood, deceit, cruelty and thousand other aspects of evil. No more are you helpless! The descent of the Divine Grace with this Atma Bala, with this Skanda Sakti, will vanquish all the undivine forces that attack you on the spiritual path and emerge triumphant and victorious. You achieve your life's goal.
Therefore Lord Karttikeya is the very embodiment of the Divine Grace. He is the personification of the Daya Sakti, or Kripa Sakti of the Lord. The grace of the compassionate Lord, when prayerfully and sincerely invoked, manifests as such irresistible Divine Power that all Asuric forces fly away in holy terror at its mere approach. The Lord's Grace is the ultimate resort and unfailing support in the inner warfare of everyone's spiritual life, of all struggles. The significance and the spiritual message embodied in Skanda Avatara is the message of Supreme importance of self-surrender, the Supreme efficacy of sincere prayer and the unfailing compassion of the Lord. If you truly surrender yourself to the Lord with Bhava.
He will at once shower His Grace upon you. No real prayer from the bottom of your heart will remain unanswered. If you obtain the Lord's grace, you will certainly succeed and overcome all obstacles and annihilate the force of darkness, that stand against you. There is no force that can stand against the Supreme Power of Divine Grace.
Take shelter at the Lord's feet Pray to Him earnestly and invoke His aid and obtain His grace and compassion. Emerge triumphant and victorious. Attain the lofty and glorious spiritual state of freedom, perfection and bliss. Upon this joyous occasion of Skanda Shashthi, when you are all celebrating the victory of the Lord over the demon, Tarakasura, the powerful leader of the Asuras, remember these great truths and be courageous. Surrender yourself afresh at His feet.
May the glorious Lord Skanda inspire you all and infuse in you with inner spiritual strength! May He lead you all to victorious triumph against the demons of nescience and worldliness!
May He bless you all!