By the Gupta era, Śiva and Umā have emerged as the recognized parents of Skanda, but an examination of the descriptions of the deity's birth from the Mahābhārata presents a much more complex view of his parentage. This essay examines one of the early narratives of the deity's birth from the Mahābhārata where the young god has several fathers and mothers. Through an examination of the paternal relationships Skanda has in the Āran{dot below}yakaparvan of the Mahābhārata I argue one can observe the methods employed by epic redactors in writing non-Vedic gods into the emerging Hindu pantheon. Each paternal relationship demonstrates particular concerns the epic redactors faced with the inclusion of a non-Vedic deity into the text, concerns that are addressed through establishing paternal relationships between the young god and his fathers in this account, Agni and Śiva.

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Keywords Agni, Divine birth, Mahābhārata, Skanda, Śaiva history, Śiva
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Journal Religious Studies and Theology
Mann, R. (2014). Skanda and his fathers in the Āranyakaparvan. Religious Studies and Theology, 33(1), 7–22. doi:10.1558/rsth.v33i1.7