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Taarakaasur's Children
From   MBH, Shalya Parv, Ch 44-47    See also   Kaarttikeya, Padm Puraan, 1/24;
This story comes in MBH, 6-War-29-15 also.

Taarakaasur had three sons named Vidyunmaalee, Taarakaaksh and Veeryavaan (some say they were Vidyunmaalee, Taarakaaksh and Kamalaaksh). These three began to perform severe Tapasya. For a 100 years they meditated standing only on one leg. For a thousand more years they lived on air and meditated. They stood on their heads and meditated in this posture for yet another thousand years. Brahmaa Jee got very pleased at this difficult Tapasyaa. He appeared before them and said, "What boon do you want?" "Make us immortal." answered Taarakaasur's sons.

"I can't make you immortal," replied Brahmaa Jee. "I don't have the power. Ask for something else instead."  "Very well, then," said Vidyunamaalee, Tarakaaksh and Veeryavaan, "Then Grant us the following. Let three forts be made for us. The first will be of gold, the second of silver and the third of iron. We will live in these forts for a thousand years. At the end of the thousand years, the forts will become one. This combined fort will be called Tri-Pur. And if anyone can then destroy Tri-Pur with only a single arrow, that shall be the death destined for us."

This was rather unusual boon but Brahma Jee granted it. There was a Daanav named Maya who was very good at building work. Brahmaa Jee asked him to build these forts. The golden fort was built in heaven, the silver one in the sky and the iron fort was built on earth. Tarakaaksh got the golden fort, Veeryavaan got the silver one and Vidyunmaalee the iron one. Each of the forts was a big as a city and had many palaces and Vimaan (spaces vehicles) inside.

The demons populated the three forts and began to flourish. The gods did not like this at all. They first went to Brahmaa Jee, but Brahma Jee said he could not help them. After all, the demons had got Tri-Pur which could not be destroyed at least for a thousand years - thanks to Brahmaa Jee's boon. The gods then went to Shiv for help, but Shiv said that the demons were doing nothing wrong. As long as that was the case, he did not see why the gods should be so bothered. The gods then went to Vishnu. Vishnu's suggestion was that if the problem was that the demons were doing nothing wrong, the solution was to persuade them to become sinners.

Out of His powers Vishnu created a man. This man's head was shaven, his clothes were faded and he carried a wooden water-pot in his hands. He covered his mouth with a piece of cloth and approached Vishnu and asked Him - "What are my orders?"

Vishnu said - "Let me explain to you why you have been created. I will teach you a religion that is completely against the Ved. You will then get the impression that there is no Swarg (Heaven) and no Narak (Hell) and that both Heaven and Hell are on earth. You will not believe that rewards and punishments for deeds committed on earth are meted out after death. Go to Tri-Pur and teach this religion to the demons, which will dislodge from the righteous path. Then we can do something about Tri-Pur.

The being did as he had been asked to do. He and four of his disciples went to a forest that was near Tri-Pur and began to preach. They were trained by Vishnu Himself. Therefore, their teachings were convincing and gradually they had many converts. Even the sage Naarad Jee got confused and was converted. In fact, it was Naarad Jee who carried news of this wonderful new religion to king Vidyunmaalee.

He said to the King Vidyunmaalee, "There is a wonderful new teacher with a wonderful new religion. I have never heard before. I have got converted.

Since the great sage Naarad Jee had got converted. Vidyunmaalee also accepted the new religion. And in due course, so did Tarakaaksh and Veeryavaan too. The demons gave up revering the Ved, they stopped worshipping Shiv's Ling. Vishnu and other gods then went to Shiv and began to pray to him. When Shiv appeared, they told him that the demons had now become evil and should be destroyed. They had even stopped worshipping Shiv's Ling.

Shiv agreed to destroy Tri-Pur. Vishwakarmaa was the architect of the gods. Shiv called Vishwakarmaa and asked him to make a suitable chariot, bow and arrow. The chariot was made entirely out of gold. Brahma himself became the charioteer and the chariot was speedily driven towards Tri-Pur. The gods accompanied Shiv with diverse weapons. By then a thousand years had also passed so the three forts had become a single Tri-Pur. Shiv instilled a divine weapon known as Pashupat into his arrow and shot it at Tri-Pur. The arrow burnt up Tri-Pur into ashes in a split second.

While the celebrations were going on, the shaven-heads religious teachers arrived and asked - "What are we supposed to do now?" Brahmaa Jee and Vishnu told them to go and live in the desert. The last of the four eras was Kali Yug and in Kali Yug, evil would reign supreme. When Kali Yug arrived, they were to come back and begin their teaching afresh.

What is Tri-Pur : Tri means 3 (three), and Pur means, town. So Tri-Pur means three towns. He who lives in Pur is called Purush. "Puree shayanaad iti purush". Every man is living in three Pur. One in Jaagrat; two in Swapn and three Sushupti. When we are awakened, it is Jaagrat. The dreaming state is called Swapn and the deep-sleep state is known as Sushupti. The Jeevaatmaa has to travel beyond these three states and attain Tureeya or Moksh, called as liberation. He who stays / lives in Tureeya state, in the bliss, is called Tri-Puraantak or Tri-Puraaree.

The description of Shiv's Chariot as given in MBH, G-6/29

Shiv said - "I will kill these people." And he made the two mountains - Gandhmaadan and Vindhya, the two poles of his chariot. He made this Earth as his chariot and Shesh Naag as its Aksh (axle). The Sun and the Moon were of two wheels. He made Elaapatra and Pushpdant the two pins of the yoke. Malaya mountain was made the yoke of the chariot. Takshak Naag was used to tie the yoke to the poles. Four Ved were his four horses. Gaayatree and Saavitree were used as reins of the chariot and Om was used as whip. Brahmaa himself was driving that chariot. Mandaraachal mountains were used as bow, Vaasuki Naag as the bow string, Vishnu as the arrow and Agni as arrow-head. Vaayu worked as the arrow's two wings and Yam as the feathers in its tail. The chariot's standard was Meru Parvat. Then Shiv riding that chariot which was composed of all celestial forces, proceeded to destroy the three cities.

One Vidyunmaalee was killed by Shatrughn at the time of Raam's Ashwamedh Yagya. Ugradanshtra's name is also written there as his brother's name. it is not known whether he was his real brother or what.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 05/11/13