Tharaka was a very powerful Asura king. He was also a cruel tyrant. In the war that ensued between the Devas and the Asuras, the former were miserably defeated by the Asuras under the leadership of Tharaka. The Devas did not have a champion to lead them.
He did long and rigorous penance unto Lord Brahma, the God of Creation and sought a boon to the effect that not a living God or demigod should be able to defeat him in war. Doubly arrogant with the blessings of Lord Brahma, he began to haunt the Devas, the Gandharvas, the saints and the noble men. His lecherous advances to the celestial damsels, his devastating atrocities on the Devas and the mankind alike created panic among all of them. Anyone might be attacked or killed by him at any time. All the worlds had been living with this fear.
One day Indra, the king of gods, along with all other gods, demigods, saints and priests approached Narad to suggest a stratagem by which Tharaka could be punished. Narad suggested approaching Lord Brahma for a remedy. The grief-struck team led by Narad and Indra reached Brahmaloka and started worshipping the Lord Brahma with divine hymns:
“Oh Lord, our creator the merciful, Salutes unto thy holy feet! Thou hast saved us from disasters many
Thou art our refuge sole.
You are father to us and all other beings
And we have no saviour other than you.
Together we pray for your intervention and
Save us from this situation perilous. ”
Pleased by their invocation the Brahma manifested before them with such luster and dazzle that blurred their vision for some time. Lord Brahma with a compassionate and empathic smile asked:“I am immensely happy in seeing you all together here.” He continued:“How are you Indra ? What is news Narad?”
When the four-headed Lord asked these questions, each member of the assembly felt that the question was posed to him. Saluting once again, Narad replied:
“Narayan…Narayan…Oh Lord, you are our creator and you alone cause all actions to take place.”
Indra filled the gap: “Such a one as you are, there is nothing in this universe that you are ignorant about. I am sure you are aware of our pathos and the root-cause of our penury.” “I can apprehend it, Indra. It is the torture from the demon Tharaka that created the cause for your arrival here,” said Lord Brahma.
Narad added, “It is your rare boon that made him stronger and more offensive.”
“Yes, I have given benefaction to him. But a tree, even though it is poisonous, cannot be felled by its gardener. Now that all of you have approached me in group, I am not going to disown you. Lord Shiva is in penance atop the Himalayas. Goddess Parvati, who was his wife in the former birth, is nursing him. Work to unite them in wedding and the son born for them will lead all of you in the battle and cause the death of the Tharaka. Good luck.”Saying so, the Lord Brahma disappeared.
(To be concluded)
KK Shanmukhan (The writer can be contacted at [email protected] )