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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.

Mangala

In Hindu mythology, the planet Mars is known as Mangala. Hindus believed in the existence of nine planets called Navagraha. The planet of Mars is identified with the war god Karttikeya, known also as Skanda. Karttikeya was born from six sparks that fell from the eyes of the god Siva into a lake near Madras. From the sparks, six children were created who were nursed by the Krttika, the Pleiades.

But once, Parvati , who was Siva's wife, embraced them all together with such affection that she squeezed them into one body , six heads, and twelve arms The newborn became the war god Karttikeya who is often depicted riding a peacock called Paravani and armed with a bow and arrow.

There are numerous accounts of Karttikeya's birth. Some hymns tell that he was the son of Siva and Parvati, whose union was brought about by the gods for the purpose of creating the god war who would defeat the rival of the gods: the demon monster Taraka. Karttikeya accomplished this task using a powerful lance, that had been forged from some of the shining rays of the Sun god Surya.

A variant of the legend tells that he was the son of the fire god Agni and the goddess Ganga, associated with the sacred River Ganges. Karttikeya is particularly popular in southern India. He is also associated with a particular month of the year called Karttika, which was believed to be the most appropriate for warfare.

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