(‘the boy Subrahmaṇya’)

Subrahmaṇya—also known by several other names such as Kumāra, Skanda, Kārttikeya, Ṣaṇmukha and Guha—is a very popular Hindu deity in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu. He is the son of Śiva and Pārvatī and the elder brother of Gaṇeśa. Many heroic exploits are attributed to him including the leading of the armies of the gods and killing the formidable demon Tārakāsura. Most of these were accomplished when he was still a ‘bāla’ or boy. Hence he is more often represented as ‘Bāla-Subrahmaṇya’. Iconographical works describe him as red in colour, with only two hands, holding a lotus in the right and keeping the left on the waist.