Skanda Shasti is the Hindu festival for Skanda, also known as Karttikeya and Murugan. It is in October or November each year.
Muruga was born of Siva’s mind and is brother to Ganesha. He has a dynamic power that awakens spiritual cognition. He is the God of yoga (in its true sense — not just asanas), of monks, other renunciates and government leaders, and of healing.
This year I am in Kauai for Skanda Shasti. Kauai is a beautiful small island in the north of the Hawaiian Islands. It is tropical, slow, beach bordered and interior decorated by mountains. I sit each morning on the lani (verandah or deck) in a little guha (small cottage, minimal and rustic, but meeting all needs), high in the mountains but overlooking the ocean. I am ten minutes from the sea and the township but could be on another planet in terms of its isolation and quietness. Except for the roosters who are the ever present alarm clock.
During Skanda Shashti, the Muruga energy is built and intensified over several days of pujas. The last day of the festival is wonderful and amazing, with super high energy and wonderful ceremony. During the puja, Muruga is bathed in an array of sacred substances including milk, yoghurt, honey, sandlepaste and vibhuti. There is no describing this – it must be experienced to be truly understood.
The photos today are not mine – for some reason I take few photos while I am in Kauai, and of course photography is not allowed in the temple. The photos are from the Hindu Monastery, taken by the monks who publish daily photos on TAKA (Today at Kauai Aadheenam). Click here for the daily photos, here and here for more photos of Skanda Shasti.
Firstly a milk abhishekam. Then honey. Then Sandlepaste.
Finally, adorned with the fruits and flowers special to Muruga and wonderfully abundant on this island.