The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Taraka is Slain which is chapter 30 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the thirtieth chapter of the Kedara-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 30 - Tāraka is Slain

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Lomaśa said:

1. As the demon Tāraka came there leaping and bouncing, boasting and swaggering, Indra, the most excellent among the intelligent ones, hit him with great force with his Vajra (thunderbolt).

2. Due to that blow of Vajra, Tāraka was made alarmed and afflicted. Although he fell down, he got up and struck his (Indra’s) elephant with his javelin.

3. He made Purandara who was on his elephant, fall down on the ground. When Purandara fell down, there was a great cry of distress.

4-5. Hear what was done by Tāraka there itself, O Lord. He stamped his foot on Indra who had fallen and snatched the Vajra from his hand. Looking at Indra who had been struck, he struck him with Vajra with great force.

6. Vīrabhadra raised his trident. That infuriated lord of great strength wanted to protect Purandara. With his trident of great lustre, he struck Tāraka, the Daitya.

7. On being struck by the trident, Tāraka fell on the ground. Although he fell down, Tāraka of great splendour rose up again (to his feet).

8. With his great javelin, he struck Vīrabhadra on his chest. Vīrabhadra fell down due to the blow from his javelin.

9. Devas along with the Gaṇas, Gandharvas, Serpents and Rākṣasas lamented again and again with a great cry of distress.

10. The exceedingly powerful Vīrabhadra, the slayer of enemies, suddenly got up. He lifted up his trident whose lustre was like that of lightning. It (i.e. the trident) shone continuously and brilliantly with its radiance. It illuminated the canopy of the cardinal points with its refulgence and had the splendour of the discs of the Sun and the Moon, the fire and the galaxy of stars.

11-13. When (the lord) of great strength was about to kill him with his trident, he was prevented by Kumāra (saying), “O highly intelligent one, do not kill him.”

Kārttikeya of great strength and lustre roared. Then he was greeted by “Jaya” (‘Be victorious’) by the living beings stationed in the sky. The hero then attempted to kill Tāraka with his great javelin.

14. The fight between Tāraka and Kumāra there became unbearable. It was extremely terrible and it caused fear (in the minds) of all living beings.

15. With Śaktis (javelins) in their hands, they fought each other. As they took the risk (and fought furiously) the hands of both of them became pierced by the Śaktis.

16-17. Like two lions of great strength, they dodged each other. They (resisted and) struck each other’s Śakti (with a dang). The two great warriors continued the excellent fight following the tactics known as Vaitālikī Gati (‘the movement of a conjurer?’), the Khecarī Gati (‘the movement of a sky-walker’) and the Pārvata Mata (‘opinion of Parvata, mountain or a Gandharva of that name’).

18-20. Taking their respective advantageous position, those two warriors of great strength and valour, who were experts in fighting, struck each other with the edges of their Śaktis in the course of the battle. They hit, cut and pierced, the head, the neck, the arms, the knees, the hips, the chest and the back. Thus the warriors of great strength desired to kill each other and continued to fight.

All the Devas, Gandharvas and Guḥyakas became mere spectators.

21-22. They said to one another: “Who will win in this fight?” At that time an ethereal voice said consoling them: “O Suras, indeed this Kumāra will kill Tāraka today. O Suras, do not be anxious. All of you stay happily in heaven.”

23-24. On hearing that voice uttered in the sky at that time, Kumāraka who was surrounded by Pramathas became desirous of killing Tāraka, the lord of Daityas of fierce form. Kumāra of great strength and superior power struck Tāraka, the excellent Asura, between the nipples with his Śakti.

25. Without minding that blow, Tāraka, the leading Daitya, who became furious, struck Kumāra also with his Śakti.

26. On account of that blow from the Śakti, the son of Śaṅkara became unconscious. Within a short while he regained consciousness and was eulogized by the great sages.

27. Just as a haughty and excited lion becomes desirous of striking (elephants), so also the valorous Kumāra struck Tāraka, the Daitya.

28. Thus Kumāra and Tāraka fought with each other. They were excessively agitated and they were engaged in a duel with Śaktis.

29-30. With a desire to defeat each other, they exerted themselves to a very great extent. While they engaged themselves in fighting each other with great force, they had wonderful (facial) expressions. They struck each other with the keen edges and sharp points of their Śaktis, wielding them dexterously. All Gandharvas, Devas and Kinnaras remained (as mere) onlookers.

31. They became exceedingly surprised. They did not say anything. (Even)the wind did not blow. The Sun became devoid of lustre.

32-35. The following Mountains came there to meet Kumāra: Himālaya, Meru, Śvetakūṭa, Dardura, Malaya, Mahāśaila, Maināka, Vindhya Mountain, the great Mountain Lokāloka, Mānasottara Mountain, Kailāsa, Mandara, Mālya(vān), Gandhamādana, Udayādri, Mahendra, the great Mountain Astagiri—these and many other Mountains of great lustre came there to meet Kumāra. They were prompted by sincere love.

36. On seeing that the Mountains were frightened, the son of Girijā and Śaṅkara spoke to them enlightening them:

Kumāra said:

37. O highly fortunate ones, do not be afflicted and distressed. O Mountains, do not be worried. Even as all of you remain watching, I will kill the greatest sinner.

38. After thus consoling those Mountains accompanied by the groups of Devas and mentally bowing down to Śaṃbhu, the intelligent Infant-Lord, fond of Hari, bowed down to his mother.

39. Thereafter Kārttikeya cut off the head of his enemy by means of his Śakti. That head of Tāraka fell down on the ground immediately. Thus Kārttikeya, the great lord, gained victory.

40-41. The groups of Devas, sages, Guhyakas, birds, Kinnaras, Cāraṇas, serpents and the groups of celestial damsels saw him with great delight. They eulogized Kumāra. Vidyādharīs danced and the musicians sang.

42-44. On seeing him victorious thus, all of them became filled with joy. Girijā came there with great delight and placed her son in her lap. Embracing him closely, she became very glad. Placing Kumāra endowed with the splendour of the sun in her lap, the slender-bodied Pārvatī of charming eyes fondled him. Śaṃbhu along with Pārvatī was honoured by the sages.

45. Seated in a noble seat, the chaste lady of measured speech, shone splendidly on being eulogized by the ascetics, Siddhas, Cāraṇas and serpents.

46. The Nīrājana rite was performed by Devas then to Pārvatī accompanied by Śaṃbhu and Kumāra. The chaste lady shone splendidly.

47. Himālaya came then surrounded by his sons as well as other Mountains beginning with Meru, by whom he was eulogized much.

48. Then all the groups of Devas beginning with Indra along with the sages, made a great shower of flowers on Kumāra of unmeasured splendour. Keeping him in front and waving the lights ceremoniously for him, they shone well.

49. With the sound of songs and musical instruments as well as repeated chantings of different kinds of Vedic Mantras, he was well eulogized by those who were experts among the knowers of the Vedas.

50. This narrative named Kumāravijaya is very wonderful. It dispels all sins. It is divine. It yields all desired things unto men.

51. Those who glorify this exalted story of the greatness of Kumāra and his valorous exploits, become pure souls equipped with unmeasured good luck. They will assume infinite forms without old age or death. This story yields pleasure to men. Whatever is desired in the mind will be achieved.

52. He who recites or listens to the story of the noble-souled Kumāra named Tāraka(-vadha) is released from all sins.

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