The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes Kumara’s March against the City of Tarakasura which is chapter 31 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 thirty-first chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 31 - Kumāra’s March against the City of Tārakāsura

Nārada said:

1. After granting blessings unto him they requested Guha for the boon: “This alone is our boon: Kill Tāraka, the sinner.”

2. After saying “Let it be so” to them, the enemy of Tāraka possessing great splendour mounted his peacock saying “Yoga, Yoga”.

3-4. With the Śakti in his hand Guha roared and then announced to the Devas, “O excellent Suras, if I do not kill Tāraka the sinner today, I shall clearly attain the state of those who slight and disrespect cows and Brāhmaṇas.”

When this was solemnly promised by him there arose a loud sound.

5-6. At the behest of Śarajanman (Kumāra, born in the forest of reeds) they said, “Yoga, Yoga”.

Clad in two dust-free red clothes the son of Pārvatī stationed at the head of all the Devas joyously moved (ahead). His banner shone well being rendered splendid by the emblem of a cock.

7-8. Even with his feet he was able to split mountains in the course of a battle. In his hand the Guhaśakti (Guha’s weapon Śakti) shone splendidly. It was loved by all living beings and it was full of quiescent lustre and excessive strength. Its hardness (was famous) in all the worlds and the armour too was full of that.

9-10. From the body of (the Lord) of great heroism, who was about to fight, the following qualities manifested themselves: Virtue (Dharma), Truthfulness, Absence of delusion, Splendour, Refulgence, Unimpairedness, Power, Prowess and Ṃercy. Joining the pair of hands (in reverence) they all stood in front of the noble-souled Lord, ready to carry out his commands.

11. As he went ahead, Lord Hara along with Pārvatī closely followed him in a chariot having the colour of the sun.

12. The chariot had been playfully made by Lord Hara himself. A thousand lions had been yoked to that excellent chariot.

13-16. O tiger among men, Brahmā himself held the reins. The lions of that chariot had beautiful manes. As they moved ahead they roared loudly. They appeared ready to drink up the sky. They frightened the mobile and immobile beings.

Seated in that chariot along with Umā Paśupati shone like the sun accompanied by clouds and rainbow and embellished by the streak of lightning.

In front of him went Lord Dhaṇeśa Kubera, Naravāhana (‘whose vehicle is drawn by men’) along with the Guhyakas. He had occupied the beautiful Puṣpaka (aerial chariot).

Riding on Airāvaṇa Śakra along with the suras closely followed the Bull-emblemed Lord, the bestower of boons.

17-22a. To his right Devas and Maruts, the fighters in diverse ways, went along with Vasus and accompanied by Rudras. Accompanied by Mṛtyu and surrounded on all sides by terrible Ailments in hundreds infuriated Yama went on his leftside. Behind Yama went the terrible white trident of Rudra named Vijaya. It had three spikes and had been made by Rudra himself. Behind him went Lord Varuṇa, the lord of waters, with a terrible noose. He was surrounded by hundreds of different kinds of aquatic animals. Rudra’s sharp-edged spear went behind Vijaya surrounded by the excellent weapons beginning with maces, iron clubs, Śaktis etc.

22b-28. The great missile Pāśupata followed the sharp-edged spear, O son of Pṛthā. It had only a single foot, but it was extremely terrible with many head and bellies. Behind it went his Kamaṇḍalu (‘water-pot’) that was served by groups of great sages. To its right shone the staff that went ahead encircled by glory and splendour. It was accompanied by Bhṛgu and Aṅgiras and was adored by Devas.

Rākṣasas, the other Devas, Gandharvas, Serpents, Rivers great and small, Oceans, sages, groups of celestial damsels, Constellations, Planets, the mobile and immobile beings and the Mothers followed the great Lord, and they were hungry. Behind everyone was the intelligent Hari seated on Tārkṣya (Garuḍa). He guarded the entire army surrounded by his own retinue.

Thus, accompanied by the army the son of the Tḥree-eyed Lord came to the northern shore. He resorted to the copper rampart and stood there.

29. Seeing the prosperity and excellent glory of the city of Tāraka Mahāsena was surprised- He praised his (i.e. the Demon’s) power of penance.

30. Seated on his peacock and surveying (everything), with the umbrella held over him, shone Guha who was on a par with the moon in his lustre.

31. The Lord of great lustre was fanned by Vāyu and Agni with chowries. He was surrounded by his own retinue and groups of attendants given to him by the Mothers and Suras.

32-36. Thereafter, amidst Devas Śakra bowed down to him and spoke these words: “O Mahāsena, see, see (the army) of the extremely powerful Daityas who do not fully comprehend you, their annihilator, like men engrossed in (the activities of) the household. Let a messenger be sent to their abode. Let him mention about you to Tāraka. This is customary among heroes. It is the bestower of fame on great people,”

With the permission (of the Lord), O Dhanañjaya, Śakra directed me, a devotee of Skanda, and sent me to the leader of Asuras. He considered me fit for the job of a messenger. I was myself desirous of going and was sent by Śakra.

In his palace in the midst of thousands of women I spoke (to him) thus: “O base Asura, O demon of wicked mind, Śakra says this to you. Listen:

37-38. ‘O Dānava, much sin has been committed by you by torturing and harassing the universe. I shall destroy that sin of yours today. If you are a man, O excessively sinful one, come out. If you do not come out, I will cast your city into the ocean within a moment for the sake of its purification.’”

39. On hearing these harsh words the demon who had been surrounded by the groups of women became infuriated. He raised his closed fist and rushed at me. I was frightened and so I ran away (from that place).

40. Being excited and bewildered, I reported the incident to Kumāra. When I came back, the Daitya began to think in his. mind,

41. ‘Without getting a support Śakra does not dare to say like this. The terribly awful omens produce fear in me.’

42-45. After thinking thus he got up and climbed on to the window-sill. Seated on the window-sill of the topmost storey of his abode consisting of a thousand storeys he saw the army of Devas that had covered up the earth and the firmament. The ten quarters reverberated with the sounds of chariots, elephants and horses, aerial chariots of wonderful shapes and sizes, the loud songs of Kinnaras, of Dundubhi drums, horns of cows, cymbals and conchs. On seeing that army that could not be stirred up or agitated he thought thus, ‘These had already been defeated by me. Why have they come again?’

46. The Daitya who was thinking thus, heard the harsh and terrible words proclaimed by the divine bards. They were heartrending to Tāraka:

47. “O Lord, be victorious; the entire army of Devas has been illuminated by your arms that have became red by means of the lustre of the rays of your matchless Śakti. O Lord Kumāra who causes bloom in the face of the Destroyer of the Puras like the moon amongst the cluster of lilies, be victorious. You are like the submarine fire to the ocean of the race of Daityas, O Lord having the peacock with sweet voice for your vehicle. With the sprout-like nail of the feet you have pounded the crowns of Asuras; O Mahāsena, you are like the forest-fire unto the dry grass (in the form) of the family of Tāraka; O Lord of Yogins, O Skanda, be victorious. Your lotus-like feet have been rendered brilliant by the rows of nails resembling the sun that dispels the, darkness of the worrying thoughts spreading in the sky of the heart of Yogins, O seven-day old boy-god, the burner of the grief of all the worlds.

48. Hail, Hail to you, the charming one. Obeisance to you, the dispeller of the fear of good people. Salute to you, O infant-Lord, having the mountain (for your abode); obeisance, obeisance, destroy the enemies of Devas.”

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