Lord Skanda-Murugan
 

Pratimālakshana of Saptadasha-Subrahmanya

('Primary Characteristics of Subrahmanya's Seventeen Aspects')

This summary of Saptadasha-Subrahmanya is gleaned from the Śekhara of Śaivāgamas.

Aspect

Heads

Eyes

Hands and emblems

Ornaments

Vāhana or pedestal

Colour of the image

Other features

1. ānashakti

1 2 Four: vajra, shakti, kukkuta and abhaya. Jatāmakuta, garland of svetārka, golden tiara studded with gems, white yajñopavīta, and smeared with sandal paste.   White Svarūpa of Parameshvara, Devī and ānashakti

2. Skanda

1 3 Four: kukkuta, abhaya, vajra and varada Pushpamālā on head, garments and ratnābharanas. White lotus Colour of smoke (dhūrmavarna) Surrounded by prabhāmandala

3. Agnijāta

1 2 Eight: sruva, japamālā, khadga, svastika, kukkuta, vajra and ājyapātra White or blue     Son of Agni. Poses to perform agnihotra.

4. Saurabheya

 
4 8 Eight: shakti, nīlotphala, pushpabāna, abhaya, vajra, ikshudhanus, shula and varada   Padmāsana Like a red lotus or pātalavarna Standing, right leg susthika and left kuñcita.

5. Gāngeya

1 3 Four: parashu, pūrnakumgbha, aranīm (sacred wood to create sacred fire for yajñas and kukkuta Karandamakuta, kukkutadvaja, nilotphala garland   Of the colour of pomogranate flower (dark red) or pātalavarna He is to be treated as Gangāsuta.

6. Saravanodbhava

1 3 Six: pushpabāna, ikshukārmukam, khadga, khetaka, vajra, kukkutadvaja. Shines like Bālasūrya and wears sakalābharanas. Simghavāhana Red He is born on reeds (sharajanmasamākhyātam) and is smeared with bhasmoddhūlam (sacred ashes) all over the body.

7. Kārttikeya

1 3 Ten: shakti, shūla, cakra, angkusha, abhaya, tomara, pāsha, shangkha and vajra. Bilva upon head. Peacock Red Shines like Bālasūrya. Sone of Śiva and the Krttikas.

8. Kumāra

1   Four: shakti, abhaya, varada and vajra. Karandamakuta and lotus garland.   Red Otherwise called Skanda, he is a bāla 'child'.

9. Shanmukha

Not specified. Shanmukha means six-faced.   Twelve: shakti, bāna, khadga, cakra, pāsha, abhaya, kukkuta, dhanus, khetaka, shangkha, hala and varada. Sakalalakshana, sakalābharana and sakalālangkāra. Peacock Red Attended by devīs Jayā (Devasena to the left) and Vijayā (Valli to the right).

10. Tārakāri

1 3 Six: abhaya, khadga, shakti, khetaka, japamālā and kukkuta.   Elephant Red  

11. Senāni

1 2 Four: shangkha, cakra, varada and abhaya. White sacred thread.   Blue God of fame, he is endowed with a beautiful face, cāruvadana, and otherwise called Devasenāpati.

12. Guha

Must be one 3 Four: shūla, vajra, varada and abhaya. Golden crown, studded with gems, white garments.   Blue Jaya to the left in kalyāna form.

13. Brahmacāri

Must be one 2 Two: danda and ūruhasta. Decorated with shikha 'tuft', kaupīna and mekhala. Standing on red lotus, left leg kuñcita. Red A bachelor

14. Deshika

1   Six: two hold shaktis, japamālā, varada and one more not given Karandamakuta. Peacock Red Teacher to Śiva

15. Krauñcabhedana

Must be one 3 Four: varada, abhaya, pushpabāna and ikshukārmukam.   Seated on peacock. Red Dislodges Kraunca.

16. Śikhivāhana

1 3 Four: abhaya, varada, pāsha and angkusha.   Seated on a peacock, comparable to the chariot of Indra (Indranīlarath- ārūdhām) Red  

17. Velāyudha

1 2 Two: katihasta and danda.     Like a red lotus. Grants all like the kalpavrksha. Son of Pārvatī and also called Skanda.

Note: The above summary is prepared from the dhyāna shlokas published by the Tañcāvūr Sarasvati Mahal Library under Śrītattvanidi, Vol. I, 3:102-118.

Dr. Raju Kalidos is Dean of the Arts Faculty and Head of the Department of Sculpture and Art History at the Tamil University, Tanjavur. He has published more than sixty articles on Indian iconography in distinguished academic journals of Europe and India. He has published and lectured extensively on topics of Indian sculpture, architecture and iconography.

See these related articles by Raju Kalidos:
"Iconography of Skanda-Murukan: Flashes of Insight"
"The Iconography of Murugan"
"Trimurti Orientation in Medieval South Indian Temples"
Picture galleries of Kaumara iconography:
Gallery I |Gallery II | Gallery III | Gallery IV

Index of research articles on Skanda-Murukan | Index of Kaumara sacred texts
home

Index of sacred texts in Tamil, Sanskrit and English