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Should Die - ?'
Taraka was determined to conquer the Devas (angels). It was not an easy task. It was a
very difficult, even for an extra- ordinarily strong person like Taraka. So he resolved to
propitiate Brahma, get a boon from him that there would be no death for him, and then
challenge the Devas. So he began his tapas (penance) in, the Madhuvana forest. For some
days he took only water as food. Later only the air was his sustenance. He continued his
vigorous meditation in different ways. He stood in water. He stood only on the thumb of
his foot. Later he supported himself on his hands on the ground and continued the penance
with his feet upwards. The more delay there was in Brahma's appearance before him, the
more rigorous did Taraka's tapas become.
The flames generated by his tapas began to burn the worlds. Then Brahma manifested himself
"Tarakasura, Srise. I am pleased with your penance. What do you want? Ask for the
boon," Brahma said.
Tarakasura opened his eyes. Right in front of him was Brahma standing. Taraka bent
his head low and saluted him. "0 Lord, bless me that I will have no death," he
"Tarakasura, you should not ask for the impossible. Anyone born must die. A boon
against this rule can never be given. Ask for anything else."
Tarakasura began to reflect. If he asked that he should not die at all, Brahma would not
give him that boon. But if he should ask that his death must come only in a particular
way, it might be granted. Therefore I should ask that this death must happen under
conditions that would be impossible. Then Brahma would surely grant it. And he, Taraka,
would be an immortal.
At that time Shiva was engrossed in a severe penance. For none would it be possible to
disturb or distract his mind from the tapas. Hence, Shiva's marriage was impossibility.
Therefore, if he, Taraka, should now ask that his death should come about only by a son of
Shiva, that would be a very clever way. And Tarakasura thought further - I must be safe
even if he marries and a son is born. Just an infant, even if it is Shiva's son, cannot
do anything to me. So it would be very clever indeed to ask that my death should come
about only by a child seven days old."
Tarakasura prostrated again before Brahma and asked - "Lord, if then I must die, let
me die from a son of Shiva, and when he is seven days old as a child."
Brahma smiled. "So be it", he said, and with that blessing disappeared from the
Taraka was immensely happy that he had got a boon making him immortal.
And now with his unbearable arrogance, Taraka threw all the three worlds into a fright.
Indra was afraid of him and gave him his elephant Airavata. Kubera made over all his
wealth. Wherever there were good things, all of them became Taraka's property. He drove
out the angels from Heaven and appointed demons (Rakshasas) in their place. Everywhere
thefts, murders and looting increased. The very deities of the Cardinal Directions became
slaves and the Apsara damsels of Heaven became his maidservants.
The angels were unable to bear the rampaging of Taraka and prayed to Brahma. Brahma knew
that only a son born to Shiva could stop the wickedness of Tarakasura and till then none
would be able to control or punish him. Yet he appeared before Taraka.
Tarakasura, saluted Brahma and said, "Lord, you are so kind as to come to me. What is
"Taraka, you are unequal in courage and in strength. But the' angels are in agony
because of you. It is not possible for them even to live in there own world ofDevaloka.
Don't harass them. Allow them to live in peace in Devaloka," Brahma advised.
"Your wish will be obeyed," Tarakasura acquiesced. He left the Devaloka, for the
angels and returned to Shonitapura.
But his wickedness did not subside. He was proud that there was none to restrain him. The
angels continued to be troubled by him, and continued to be in fear.
Brahma told them, "There is only one way in which you can escape the trouble of
Tarakasura. Only the son ofParameshwara can kill him. So Shiva must marry Parvati.
You must so manage that Parameshwara sees Parvati and marries her."
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