has it that Vishnu desirous of progeny worshipped Shiva
at Tiruvarur and that Shiva
blessed him with a male child Kaama.
Parvati (Shakti) who was enraged by the fact that Vishnu had not included
her in his worship of Shiva inflicted a curse upon him that his child would be burnt to
death by Shiva. (see Kumarasambhava
Upon realization of the curse, an aggrieved Vishnu created a composite image featuring Shiva,
Uma and Skanda (Somaskanda - symbolic
of fertility) and offered worship to it. Parvati alleviated the curse placed on him
stating that despite being burnt to death, Kaama would live on to create the forces of
attraction between the male and the female that would ensure the continuation of the human
Somaskanda is thus a manifestation of Shiva
featuring Shiva, Uma and Skanda; Shiva
in a seated posture, with Parvati to his left and with Skanda
his son, seated in between the two.
It is to be noted that Somaskanda
represents the processional image of Shiva in most Saivite temples and there is thus a
shrine dedicated to the Utsavamurthy Somaskanda in most Saivite
temples. Tyagaraja represents a special class of (the iconic
representation of) Somaskanda and is enshrined (in a royal shrine) only
in a handful of temples (as in Tiruvarur).
Representations of Shiva
Somaskanda - Iconography
All about Shiva