Shiv — the most powerful and charismatic God within the Hindu mythology, is known by various names such as Mahadev, Neelkanth, Bholenath and much more. With his every name a story is associated that depicts his glory. Among so many, one name of Mahadev is ‘Tripurari’ too i.e ‘the destroyer of cosmos’.
Also Read: Don't Just Worship Krishna, Learn From Him.
How Shiv became ‘Tripurari’?
The tale comes from Shiv Maha Purana, a sacred Hindu scripture praising Lord’s Shiv’s glory. Once there were three asuras, in their attempt to invincibility, they created three flying cities called the ‘Tripura’. Their 3 cities appeared to be separate yet they nourished each other. Each of those cities was large and engineered in a remarkable way: made from iron, silver and gold. The golden city belonged to Kamalaksha, the silver city to Tarakaksha, and the third, made of iron, had Vidyunmali for its lord. These three demons were the son of demon Tarkasur, who was killed for his evil deeds by Lord Shiv’s son Kartikeya. The demons were very wily hence they obtained a boon from Lord Brahma that they would die together and that too with a single weapon only. Thus in order to seek revenge, filled with pride in consequence of those boons; they started afflicting the universe. The only way to destroy the cities was by a single arrow in the brief moment when they were aligned in a single line.
With all his weapons, when Indra dev was unable to make any impression on those cities, all the gods sought the protection of Lord Shiv.
“O Lord of the gods, none, save thee, is competent to slay them. Therefore, O Mahadeva, slay these enemies of the gods: O Rudra, creatures slain in every sacrifice shall then be thine.”
Mahadev thus accepted their request and found a solution to free all of mankind from the clutches of these terrible demons. Tripur’s 3 cities were greed, delusion and ego. All 3 are bound to each other. Shiva mounted a chariot made of the earth. The sun and the moon served as its wheels. The axis of the Mount Mandara served as his bow. Adi Sesha, the serpent of time, made up his bowstring and Vishnu himself became his arrow. Shiva was ready to take on the task of destroying Tripura. He followed the three cities for eons, until finally the moment arrived when they were aligned in a single line. In a flash, Shiva drew his bow and let loose his powerful arrow. It found its mark and Tripura, the three flying cities were destroyed in seconds. Shiva then smeared his body with the ashes of the smouldering cities.
Seeing death and destruction all around them - Tripurasurs prayed to lord Shiva to have mercy on them. Lord Shiva assured them that after their death they would be born as his ganas. After their death the Tripurasurs were privileged to be reborn as the ganas of Shiva.
In this way, Lord Shiva became Tripurantaka/Tripurari (destroyer of three worlds).
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