Lit. six faced; one of the sons of Shiva.
Sadhguru: The miraculous thing about Shiva’s son Kartikeya is that he was a great experiment where six beings were combined into one body. There have been many experiments like this in the past, where two yogis have shared one body. In the same body, there would be two people. They would speak different languages and exist in different ways. But here, six beings shared one body. There is an elaborate story of how this happened.
Though Shiva is described as the symbol of virility, he never had children. They say no human woman could hold his seed in her womb. Because of this, he spilled his seed into a sacrificial fire. When we say a sacrificial fire, it need not necessarily be a fire. It is a “Homa Kund”. A Homa Kund was like a laboratory for the rishis, where they created many things.Parvati, through her tantric powers, merged these six little fetuses into one, embedding six beings in one single body, and Kartikeya was born.
From the Homa Kund, six kritikas took Shiva’s seed into their womb. These kritikas were apsaras or beings who were not human – they were beings who did not belong to this planet and were of a higher level of capability. So Shiva’s seed was implanted into these six kritikas who held it for about three-and-a-half months, and life began to take form – six fetuses developed.
After this period however, the kritikas found the seed was too hot for them and they could not hold it any longer. As these kritikas were essentially moving from one dimension to another, they did not have any sense of responsibility to any one particular form of creation. So when they had to leave, they let these children out from their wombs and dropped them in a much more developed state than when they received the seed. Then they left.
Parvati herself could not have Shiva’s child, so she did not want this to go to waste. She took these six under-developed children and wrapped them in lotus leaves, creating some kind of incubation. She could see that their chances of individual survival were remote because they did not fully develop, but she saw that these six fetuses had six sterling qualities. She thought, “If all these qualities could be in one man, how wonderful he would be!” Through her tantric powers, she merged these six little fetuses into one, embedding six beings in one single body, and Kartikeya was born. Even today, Kartikeya is referred to as “Arumuga” or six-faced. He was a phenomenally capable human being. At the age of 8, he was an unbeatable warrior.