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Tarakasura

Previous Read: Vajranaga

Tarakasura was a Daitya and the son of Vajranaga (son of Diti and Kashyapa). He was killed by Kartikeya. He had a boon that he could only be killed by a son of Shiva. The purpose of his life was to defeat Indra and the devas.

Family

  • Father: Vajranaga
  • Mother: Varangi
  • Brothers: Surapadman, Simhamukha
  • Grandfather: Kashyapa
  • Grandmother: Diti
  • Sons: Tarakaksha, Kamalaksha, Vidyunmali

Birth

Vajranaga was a daitya who had lived in the forest with his wife Varangi. Once, while Vajranaga was doing penance, Indra went to their hut and uprooted all of the nearby trees in the form of a monkey. He took the form of a sheep and ate all the grass. He then took the form of a snake and unsuccessfully attempted to bite Varangi. Varangi patiently endured all of this.

When Vajranaga came back, he was enraged to see Varangi in this situation. He prayed to Brahma. When Brahma finally appeared, he asked for the boon that they have a son who defeated Indra and torments the devas for a long time. Brahma granted him this boon. Varangi and Vajranaga soon had a son named Taraka, who stayed in Varangi’s womb for a thousand years. They also had two other sons named Surapadman and Simhamukha.

Boon from Shiva

Tarakasura performed severe penance for thousands of years. After a long time, Shiva appeared in front of him. Tarakasura asked for a boon that he can only be killed by Shiva’s son. He knew that Shiva’s wife Sati had just died childless and Shiva wasn’t planning on marrying again.

Shiva granted him the boon. Thus, Tarakasura became invincible.

Defeating the Devas

With the help of his brothers, Tarakasura repetitively attacked the devas. Soon, all the devas including Indra had been defeated. Tarakasura and his brothers conquered Swarga.

Tarakasura married and had three valiant sons named Tarakaksha, Kamalaksha and Vidyunmali.

Death

The devas knew about Tarakasura’s boon. But they also knew that after Sati’s self-immolation, Shiva was not going to marry again. They decided to attempt to bring about a marriage between Shiva and Parvati, the daughter of Himavat and Mena. After many futile attempts and intense penance by Parvati, Shiva and Parvati were finally wedded. Soon, they had a son named Kartikeya.

For the full, detailed story of the marriage of Shiva and Parvati and the birth of Kartikeya, see Parvati

Now since Kartikeya was born, the devas attacked Tarakasura and his asura army. The devas and their army proceeded toward the massive army of Tarakasura. While they were marching, a heavenly voice from the sky said that the devas could only win if Kartikeya was their commander. The devas requested Kartikeya to become their commander. Kartikeya accepted.

The battle started and the asuras were dominating. They were too strong for the devas. Even Indra could not stand up and was wounded by the enemy’s might. King Muchkunda, a king who was on the devtas’ side, was angered by the destruction of the deva’s side. He attacked Tarakasura. In the battle he got injured and fell to the ground. Angrily he invoked the Brahmastra, but Tarakasura was not affected. Sage Narada told him that Tarakasura had a boon that he would not die by humans. He told Muchkunda to wait for Kartikeya.

Kartikeya soon killed Surapadman and Simhamukha. They became the mounts of Parvati and Kartikeya.

Meanwhile Veerbhadra had caused lots of destruction in the ranks of the demon army. Taraka realized it was not easy to kill him. He used illusionary powers and the devas fled.

Kartikeya then challenged Tarakasura. An intense battle erupted between Kartikeya and Taraka. They fought for hours, but eventually, Kartikeya fell unconscious and was taken away by the other devas. When he woke up, Kartikeya ran back into the battlefield and the battle ensued again. After many more hours, Kartikeya threw the Shakti weapon at his enemy and Taraka fell down dead.

When Tarakasura’s three sons grew up, they built three great cities and defeated the devas. They would be collectively known as Tripurasura.

Next Read: Tripurasura

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5 thoughts on “Tarakasura”

  1. Aarsh Shroff, you have a very interesting output from your vast research. It makes for an easy and intriguing read. I am following ur blog which is fully recommendable for someone who is a bit more interested to delve into mythology.
    Good job, Aarsh.

  2. In the Mahadev TV serial, Shiva appeared and literally helped Kartikay kill Tarakasur. How did they come up with that?

    1. It is not mentioned anywhere that Shiva appeared in the battle between Kartikeya and Tarakasura. Kartikeya single-handedly killed Taraksura. Often in TV serials, events are dramatized and the story is slightly changed to make the serial more interesting for the viewers. That is probably why they included Shiva in the battle.

      1. Prashanth Raju

        If you go to Kailash, there’s a pass near Manasarovar called “Tarka pass” – it’s like an open field and from that spot you can see Kailash, Manasarovar, Gurla Mandhata and Rakshastal. It’s supposed to be the place where Tarakasura was killed!

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