Kantha Sashti – Auspicious Days & Puraanic Legend

Part 1 – Auspicious days for Muruhan 

Fridays, the constellation of Kaarthihai and the Sashti thithi. As Lord Muruhan is the presiding deity for Mars, Tuesday is also auspicious to HIM. Among these, it is the Sashti fast,specially the Kantha Sashti fast, that is discussed here.

Sashti: Sashti is based on thithi.The moon grows layer by layer (kalai) after the new moon and becomes full moon; then it fades layer by layer and ends up as a new moon. The fourteen days between the new moon and full moon are known as fourteen thithis;  a thithi can be longer or shorter than a day. Sanskrit numerals are used to name the thithi.

Sashti means six; hence there will be two sashti thithis every month. The sashti thithi that occurs after the new moon is denoted as “sukkilapatcha sashti” or “poorva patch sashti”; in other words it is the sashti that occurs on the brighter side of the moon, i.e.,  during the waxing moon. Although all the sashti during the waxing moon are auspicious for Lord Muruhan, the sukkila patcha sashti that occurs in the Tamil month, Aippasi, (mid-October to mid- November) is most auspicious.

The six days, after the new moon in the month of Aippasi, are collectively allocated for the Kantha Sashti Fast. Devotees of Muruhan observe fast during the six days.

Part 2 – The Puraanic Legend

According to Kantha Puraanam, the six days that Lord Muruhan fought against the demon, Soorapanman, are collectively observed as the Kantha Sashti fast.

Soora Samhaaram: Soorapanman had two brothers, Singgamuhaasuran and Thaarahaasuran and more than two hundred thousand siblings. He had one sister by the name of Ajamuki. Soorapanman and his two brothers performed austere penance and courageous sacrifices to Lord Siva and received from Him the boon that they shall rule the 1008 worlds for 108 yugas, and that they cannot be destroyed by anything or anybody, except for the power of Lord Siva Himself. Soorapanman became arrogant due to this great boon and started to torture the Devas and others.

The Devas beseeched Lord Siva’s help. Desiring to respond to their prayers, Lord Siva, who was in a state of solitude and ecstasy, married Devi Paarvathi and brought forth six flames from His six eyes of wisdom. Lord Siva, who is depicted with five faces, exposed His sixth at that point of time. Lord Muruhan appeared from these flames.

Before preparing for the war, Lord Muruhan sent a peace mission to Soorapanman, but it failed. Hence, Lord Muruhan waged war against Soorapanman. Vaayubahavaan was Muruhan’s charioteer. Thaaraahaasuran was killed by Muruhan’s Vel while Singgamuhaasuran died by Muruhan’s Kulisaayudham. Thaarahaasuran returned to Swami Aiyappan as an elephant to be His vehicle while Singgamuhaasuran went back to Devi Kaali as Her lion. Soorapanman used all his might and magical powers to fight against Lord Muruhan. As all his efforts failed, he stood as a mango tree. The tree was split into two by Muruhan’s Vel. When the two parts of the tree transformed into a rooster and a peacock and went to attack the Lord, they lost their arrogance due to the graceful glance of the Lord, and became His flag’s emblem and vehicle, respectively. The Devas got back their heavenly world and lived happily.

Click HERE to find out more about the The Kantha Sashti Fast (Part 3) and Soora Samhaaram at Sri Kandaswamy Temple (Part 4).