Tharaka had three mighty sons who were equal to their father in gallantry and strength. Enraged, infuriated and aggrieved, Tharakaksha, Vidyunmali and Kamalaksha, the sons of Tharaka wanted more powers and to grow to the unquestionable supremacy of the universe. They, all the three put together, decided to do penance on Lord Brahma.
They knew very well that Lord Brahma would always favour the Devas, since they were noble people and would not encourage the Asuras because of their exigencies. Therefore, from the very initial stage of their meditation, the trio decided to harden the worship.
During biting winter, they covered themselves amidst the heap of ice and prayed the Lord.
During summer they meditated sitting in the middle of the fire. During monsoon, they stood under the heavy rain uncovered and continued their penance. Standing head-long on the tip of a spear they worshipped Lord Brahma for thousands of years.
They, all the while praised the Lord: Aum Bhrahmane Nama:Salute to Lord Bharma who has no beginning, is endless and everlasting. The density of fumes from the efficacy of their prayers spread all over the world. At last Brahma appeared before the three brothers.
“My sons, I am happy by your worship. Stop your Thapa for the maintenance of world order. Take the boon you desire.”
“We should not be killed by anybody”. One asked for that boon. “We should have three impregnable forts in the three worlds, where we, along with our kith and kin would enjoy our life.”This boon was demanded by the second.
“The forts should always be moving and if at all they should ever be burnt, it must be with a single arrow,” demanded the third one.
Brahma told them in reply:“The first one is impossible to grant. All creatures are supposed to die one day ”, replied Brahma, “the second can be sanctioned. The third one with certain alterations can also be sanctioned.”Thus blessing, the Lord disappeared. Accordingly Maya, the chief architect of the Asuras was entrusted with the responsibility of building the three forts.
The fort, impregnable and sturdy, with walls of iron was built by Maya on the lower world, the Earth. The second fort, made out of silver walls, was built in the sky. The third fort, made out of gold walls, was built in the heaven. These forts, Puras, were known as Tripuras. The three brothers occupied their respective forts and lived happily according to their rules of law.
Vidyunmali, the first among Tharaka’s sons entered into single combat with Nandikeswara, the chief of Lord Shiva’s lieutenants, and was killed. The water in the Tripura Fort recalled him into life, since it contained magical water. Asuras, with increased population, flocked together in these forts and their cruelties to the subjects of their respective worlds started manifesting gradually.
The three cities were constantly flying. They never came in a single line. But, according to astrological science and planetary movements, all the three forts came in a single line, just for a moment in thousand years. That day was Pushya in conjunction with the moon.
The tortures inflicted by the three became intolerable and crossed all limited. All the gods and demigods approached Lord Brahma again for want of redress. Brahma redirected them to Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva, hearing the pathetic trauma of the gods and saints all over the world, decided to put an end to the Tripuras. He calculated the accurate position of Pushya Star conjunct with the Moon. He made his bow with Mount Meru. Serpent Vasuki was made the bow-string. He converted the earth as his chariot. The Sun and the Moon were made the chariot wheels. Lord Vishnu was made his arrow. The Vayu God was inserted inside the feather of arrow. With all precautions and meticulous arrangements Lord Shiva waited. According to his calculations the decisive moment reached whereby all the three forts befell in line and, lo, Lord Shiva darted a single arrow and the Tripura forts were all burnt into ashes. Along with the Tripurs all other demons also were burnt.
The three worlds sent a sigh of relief. The Lord, after the herculean tasks, placed his massive bow, Thrambaka, in the palace of Videha, the kingdom of king Janaka.
( To be concluded )