After Tharaka’s previous attacks, no one from the race of the Devas dared to oppose him. They had thus become leaderless. Now that he has won Brahma’s affection and blessings, he has become unscrupulous and unopposed.
The Devas under the fresh onslaught of Tharaka again marched to Lord Brahma and appealed to him:“O Lord, give us a leader who can challenge and resist the demon Tharaka. Otherwise our entire clan would be finished soon. As you know, our numbers have already diminished in his previous attacks.” “Take Kumara, son of Lord Shiva as your commander-in-chief and fight the Asura.” “But Lord, he is only eight years old!”“Age is no criterion of ability. His very birth was to lead you in battle and annihilate Tharaka.” “What are his credentials, our Lord?” “He is Subrahmanya because he is the omniscient. He knows all about the Brahma and is the most learned among the Devas. He was breast fed by six Krithikas and hence has been known as Karthikeya. He is Shanmukha, for he has six faces. His chariot is a divine peacock. It is destined that he would take up the life of a mendicant. He would settle atop the Mount Palani down south and give darshan to his devotees. Before he proceeds, take benefit of his great valour. All of you summon the entire army of the Devas, Gandharavas and Kinneras and take his leadership and fight Tharaka. Lord Shiva’s son will henceforth be known as Mahasena.”
Eventually the Devas formed a huge army and set off under the leadership of Kumara to face off with Tharaka. When the demon saw the army of the Devas proceeding towards him, Tharaka laughed in scorn. He addressed them thus:“O weak and incapable foes,” he addressed the Devas, “You folks have seen the might of my arms several times. What now? You have fled from the battled field, after my killing many of you. Where was your valour then? What more strength have you accumulated now to challenge me? Where were you hiding till now?”
“We have had no commander then”. Said the Devas. “Who is your commander now?”“This is Kumara, Lord Shiva’s son and our commander, who will kill you in battle.” The Devas replied unanimously.“Haa haa haa”, scorned the demon, “A rat to oppose a lion…haa haa haa.”“You little boy, go and play.”“Enough of your prattle, come for fight.”“My reputation and fame will vanish even if I defeat you, a little lad. Go away.”
“You are coward”, said Subrahmania, “You have the inner call that your death has come near. That is why you shy away from fighting me.”He paused for a while and said: “You say I am a boy and cannot contain you. A bit of fire is sufficient to burn a huge forest. Come for fight.” Tharaka, now enraged with fury, took his mace and opposed Karthikeya. The fight was equal for three days and three nights. The gods from above came down to the air to watch the combat. The sign of success shifted from one to the other. Once Kumara fell on the ground and the Devas looking on were in anxiety. Kumara got up at once and in greater fury drew his trident and praying his father the Lord in mind darted it against the demon. The trident pierced Tharaka’s chest and he fell dead. The Devas killed most of the demons that became leaderless after Tharaka. The remaining Asuras fled away in fear of death.
All the gods praised Kumara and were very cheerful in their victory.
( To be concluded )