There are many names for the planet Mars in Sanskrit including Angaraka, the radiant one and Mangala, the giver of good fortune. But perhaps most important is Kuja, he who is born - 'ja, of 'ku- the Earth, a common epithet for Mars who is the son of the Earth in Vedic thought. As the son of the Earth, Mars is called Bhumi-ja and Bhauma as well. Kuja represents the fire force at work in the field of the Earth, from the fire at the core of the Earth, to the volcanic fire, to the fire in plants and animals, to the fire of human will power.

While the Sun and the Moon relate directly to fire and water as elements, Mars relates to the earth a more indirect way. As the fire hidden in matter, Mars grants us the energy to accomplish our labors on the physical plane. For this reason the Earth Goddess or Bhumi Devi is the overruling deity of Mars. Sometimes in her stead, the overrulership of Mars is ascribed to the Earth God or lord of the field (Kshetrapati), who is a form of Vishnu and Rama. In this regard, Mars is a God of agriculture or of tilling the Earth. At other times, Kshetrapati is ascribed instead as the supreme ruler of Mars.

Usually however the supreme deity of Mars is said to be Skanda, the second son of Shiva and Kali (born after Ganesha) who, like the Greek god Mars, is the war god and the leader of the Divine army. Skanda represents the Divine will in manifestation through which truth conquers falsehood. Anger and violence are distortions of this energy on the physical plane. Skanda holds all spiritual powers but we must undergo purification (tapas) in order to receive them. He is also called Karttikeya, the one born of the Pleiades or Krittika Nakshatra, and Subrahmanya, the good priest. He is Kumara or the Divine child to the Sun and Moon who are his father and mother. He is most popular in South India, where he is called Murugan in Tamil.

In addition, the planet Mars relates to Hanuman, the monkey God and head of the Divine army of Lord Rama. Hanuman is generally worshipped on Tuesdays, the day of Mars.

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