Author: Anant Pai
Illustrator: C M Vitankar / M Mohandas
Publisher: India Book House
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8175082917
This special issue of Amar Chitra Katha comics features three deities from Hindu Pantheon. These are: Ganesha ; Karttikeya ; and Ayyappan.
No traditional Hindu will launch upon a new undertaking without invoking Ganesha, for it is he, as Vighneshwara, prime movers of obstacles, who clears the path of success.
The legend about the birth and exploits of this deity are many, different Puranas giving different versions of the same incidents. Our story, however, is based solely on the Shiva Purana version.
On the heights of Mount Kailasa, the divine household of Shiva and Parvati stood divided, for Shiva, came and went as he pleased and Parvati was irked by his intrusions on her privacy. Out of that divine dissension was born Ganesha, who rose to become perhaps the most lovable deity in the Hindu pantheon.
Karttikeya, the commander-in-chief of the celestial army, is also known as Subrahmanya Skanda, Ghua and Kumara. In the southern states of India, Subrahmanya is a popular deity even today. Among the Tamil-speaking people he is better known as Murugan. He is worshipped in the East, especially in Bengal, where women pray to him for worthy sons. Like Ganesha, he too is a son of Shiva and Parvati, miraculously born. If Ganesha was created by Parvati, Karttikeya was the creation of Shiva, nurtured by Agni, Ganga and Krittikas, each in turn.
A strange and fascinating series of divine events led to the birth of Manikanthanj. Manikanthan had a glorious destiny. His devotees believe, at the end of a life full of dramatic events, Lord Parashurama himself sculpted and installed an idol of him in the hill temple of Shabri, deep in the forests of Kerala. There, as Lord Ayyappan, he is worshipped as the presiding deity of the whole range.