The Shiva Purana (English translation)

by J. L. Shastri | 1970 | 616,585 words

This page relates “virtues of the tripuras” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Chapter 3 - The virtues of the Tripuras

Śiva said:—

1. A meritorious person is the presiding ruler of the Tripuras now. He who practises meritorious deeds should not be killed by sensible persons.

2. O gods, I know the misery of the gods completely. It is great. Those Asuras are very strong. They cannot be killed by the gods or demons.

3. The sons of Tāraka and Maya are equally meritorious. O sensible ones, they are invincible to all the citizens.

4. How can I knowingly commit malicious deeds to my friends though I am hardy and powerful in battles? Even Brahmā has said that there is a great sin attending on even casual malicious actions.

5. There are ways of atonement and amends for a brahmin slayer, a wine addict, a thief or a person who violates sacred rites. But there is no expiation for ungrateful men.

6. Those Asuras are my devotees. O Gods, how can they be slain by us? Let this aspect be thought over by you who know what is virtue. You must consider this virtuously.

7. They should not be slain as long as they continue their devotion to me. Yet, this reason may very well be intimated to Viṣṇu.

Samtkumāra said:—

8. O sage, thus when they heard these words Indra and other gods immediately intimated this to Brahmā in the first instance.

9. Then, with Brahmā at their head, the gods including Indra quickly went to Vaikuṇṭha in all glory.

10. On going there and seeing Viṣṇu, the gods bowed to him in agitation, and with their palms joined in reverence they eulogised him with great devotion.

11. They intimated to Viṣṇu the powerful, the reasons for their misery, the earlier ones as well as the later.

12. On hearing the distress of the gods as well as the vows observed by the Tripuras, Viṣṇu spoke as follows.

Viṣṇu said:—

13. This is true that where the eternal virtue reigns supreme, no misery raises its head like darkness when the sun is seen.

Sanatkumāra said:—

14. On hearing these words the gods became miserable and dejected. They spoke to Viṣṇu with their lotus-like faces depressed.

The gods said:—

15. How are we to go about our activities. How can our misery be dispelled? How can we be happy? How are we to remain firm?

16. As long as the Tripuras are alive, how can we observe virtuous activities? All the residents of the three cities give troubles to us.

17. What else can we say to you? Either the annihilation of the Tripuras shall be made or the untimely destruction of the gods shall be proceeded with.

Sanatkumāra said:—

18. After saying this and lamenting frequently, the gods were in a fix and could neither stay nor leave the proximity of Viṣṇu.

19-21. On seeing them in that plight, distressed and humiliated, Viṣṇu thought within himself, “I am the benefactor of the gods. But what can I do in this affair? The sons of Tāraka are the devotees of Śiva.” After thinking like this, he thought upon the Supreme Viṣṇu, the lord of sacrifices, the primordial Puruṣa.

22. Immediately on being thought upon by Viṣṇu all the sacrifices came where Viṣṇu was stationed.

23. With palms joined in reverence they bowed to and eulogised Viṣṇu, the lord of sacrifices and the primordial Puruṣa.

24. The eternal lord Viṣṇu saw the eternal sacrifices and told them looking at the gods too including Indra.

Viṣṇu said:—

25. In order to destroy the three cities and to bring about prosperity in the three worlds, O gods perform the worship of lord Śiva along with the lord of sacrifices.

Sanatkumāra said:—

26. On hearing the words of Viṣṇu, the intelligent lord of the gods and bowing to him lovingly, the gods eulogised the lord of sacrifices.

27. O sage, eulogising thus, the gods worshipped the Sacrificial Being in accordance with the rules governing the same with the complete rites.

28. Then from the sacrificial pit rose up thousands of Bhūtas of huge size and armed with tridents, spears, iron clubs and other weapons.

29-31. The gods saw thousands of Bhūtasaṅghas armed with tridents and spears and possessing various weapons such as staffs, bows, stones, etc. They had various missiles to strike with. They were in different guises. They resembled the destructive fire and Rudra. They were on a par with the destructive Sun. When they bowed to him and stood waiting in front, Viṣṇu saw them. The glorious lord of sacrifices who carried out the behests of Rudra, spoke to them.

32. Viṣṇu said—“O Bhūtas, listen to my statement. You are all very powerful and have risen up for fulfilling the task of the gods. All of you go immediately to the three cities.

33. Go there, strike at, break and burn the three cities of the Asuras. O Bhūtas, thereafter you can go away as you please for prosperity.

Sanatkumāra said:—

34. On hearing the words of the lord, the hosts of Bhūtas bowed to the lord of the gods and went to the three cities of the Asuras.

35. Immediately after their entry into the cities they were reduced to ashes like moths in the fire.

36. Those who escaped fled out of the cities and came grief-stricken to Viṣṇu.

37. On seeing them and hearing the incidents in detail, lord Viṣṇu pondered over this.

38. On realising that all the gods were distressed and dejected in the mind, he too was extremely grieved.

39. He became much worried at the thought “How can I destroy the three cities of the Asuras, with force and carry out the task of the gods?”

40. The lord who had authoritatively laid down the rules of conduct according to the Vedas, said “There is no doubt in this that the virtuous ones cannot be destroyed by black magic.

41. O good gods, these Asuras and the other residents of the three cities are virtuous. Hence they have become invincible. Not in any other manner.

42. After perpetrating great sins they worship Śiva and so they are freed of all sins even as the leaves of the lotus from water.

43. O gods, thanks to the worship of Śiva, their cherished desires are realised. Different means of enjoyment in the world are brought under their control.

44. Hence these Asuras who are devoted to the phallic worship enjoy different kinds of pleasures and prosperity and salvation hereafter.

45. Then putting obstacles in their activities of virtuous rites, by means of magic art I shall destroy the three cities of the Asuras quickly for accomplishing the task of the Asuras.”

46. After thinking thus, lord Viṣṇu set himself to the task of interfering with the sacred rites of the Asuras.

47. As long as the worship of Śiva is continued and as long as the pure activities are strictly adhered to, there is no question of their ruin at all.

48. Hence such means shall be followed as will make Vedic Dharma disappear thence. Undoubtedly the Asuras will foresake their worship of the phallic emblem of Siva.

49. Deciding thus, Viṣṇu started ridiculing the Vedas for putting up obstacles in the virtuous activities of the Asuras.

50. At the bidding of Śiva, Viṣṇu who was commanded to protect the three worlds, and who renders help to the gods spoke to them.

Viṣṇu said:—

51. O gods, you go to your own abodes. Undoubtedly I shall carry on the task of the gods to the extent of my intellect.

52. Strenuously I shall make them averse to Śiva. Coming to know that they are devoid of devotion to him he will reduce them to ashes.

Sanatkumāra said:—

53. O sage, accepting his behest with bent head, the gods and Brahmā felt satisfied and with faith in their hearts returned to their abodes.

54. Thereafter Viṣṇu performed deeds conducive to the welfare of the gods. Listen to those excellent deeds destructive of all sins.