Kartikeya is addressed as Guha many times in Mahabharat. What is the meaning of Guha and why is Kartikeya called as Guha? Here is one example from Sambhava Parva:

The illustrious deity Guha, who combines in his composition the portions of all the other deities is of a lineage unknown. Some call him the offspring of Agni; some, of Krittika, some, of Rudra, and some of Ganga. It hath been heard by us that persons born in the Kashatriya order have become Brahmanas.

2 Answers 2


The Valmiki Ramayana also several times refers to Lord Kartikeya as Guha. Like in Yuddha Kanda, strike of Kumbhakarna by Hanuman was compared with strike of Lord Kartikeya (Guha) on Krauncha Mountain.

स शूलमाविध्य तडित्प्रकाशं | गिरिर्यथा प्रज्वलिताग्रशृङ्गम् |
बाह्वन्तरे मारुति माजघान | गुहोऽचलं क्रौञ्चमिवोग्रशक्त्या || 6.67.19

Holding firmly the spike, which was bright as lightning and looking like a blazing mountain-peak, Kumbhakarna struck Hanuma on his chest, as Guha (the son of Shiva) struck Krauncha mountain with his powerful Shakti.

Kartikeya is called 'Guha' because he is the one who resides in Guha (heart) of creatures, who is Guhya (secret), who knows Guhya vidya (secret knowledge). Shiva Purana Kailash Samhita chapter 11 summarises all these meanings of Guha in just a single verse:

नमो गुहाय भूतानां गुहासु निहिताय च ।।
गुह्याय गुह्यरूपाय गुह्यागमविदे नमः ।।२४।।

Salutations to Guha who resides in Guha (heart) of all living beings. Who is secret (Guhyaya), who has secret form (Guhyarupaye) and who knows the secret Agamas (Guhyagamavide).

Thus Kartikeya is called Guha because - "भूतानां गुहासु निहिताय च ।। bhUtAnAM guhAsu nihitAya cha ||", he resides in the heart of all beings!

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    Very interesting reference to Ramayana! We really need to read the entire text to learn all the information Valmiki and other poets have given us in tiny similes!
    – Surya
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 7:16

The simple meaning of Guha is "the secret born" or "reared in a secret place" as per Mahabharata: Anusasana Parva:

because of his birth in the solitude of a forest of reeds he came to be called by the name of Guha (the secret-born)


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