CHENNAI: Soorapadman was an asura who secured a boon that made it impossible for him to be vanquished. Unable to bear the torture he inflicted on them, the celestials prayed to Lord Siva to help them. Siva took a form with six faces. From the third eye of each face, a spark emanated. The six fire sparks became six beautiful babies.

Goddess Parvati hugged the babies, and they fused into one with six faces and 12 arms. This divine child was Lord Subrahmanya, also called Karthikeya, because he was taken care of by six maidens known as the Karthikai maidens.

When the time came for Soorapadman to be destroyed, Subrahmanya set out with the blessings of His parents. Parvati gave Him a spear. The battle between Subrahmanya and Soorapadman took place at Tiruchendur, in the southern tip of Tamil Nadu.

The battle went on for 10 days, and once the Lord had killed Soorapadman's brothers and was about to kill the asura himself, the asura transformed himself into a tree. Subrahmanya split the tree into two with the spear that Parvati had given Him. One half of the tree became a peacock, which became Subrahmanya's mount. The other became a cock and took its place on Subrahmanya's flag. Adi Sankara has composed Subrahmanya Bhujangam in praise of the Lord.

On the way to Tiruchendur to battle Soorapadman, Subrahmanya stayed in many places, with His army. These places came to be known in Tamil as ‘padai veedu' (army camp).

In each of these places, a temple of Subrahmanya can be seen even today. Offering worship at these temples will bring us auspiciousness, said Mathivannan in a discourse. There is one at Tiruchendur.

There is the temple at Swamimalai, where Subrahmanya taught the Pranava mantra to His father, Siva, and thus earned the name Swaminatha. The temple at Tiruttani is the one where He is seen with His two consorts. It would be of great benefit to people if they visited the six temples and worshipped the Lord who advised His own father and who vanquished the asura, whom none could kill.