[Advaita-l] Tripura Samhar

Kartik Vashishta kartik.unix at gmail.com
Thu Jun 21 08:18:22 EDT 2018


Revered Self,

Sadar Pranam,

Is there an analytical interpretation of the destruction of the three
cities by lord Shiva? I am looking for an explanation as to what is meant
by "lord Shiva made the Earth with her forests and oceans his battle car"
and other descriptions of the Tripura Samhar.

I am below pasting the description of the Tripura Samhar from the Sri

Formerly, the valiant Asuras had, in
heaven, three cities. Each of those cities was excellent and large. One
was made of iron, another of silver, and the third of gold. The golden
city belonged to Kamalaksha, the silver city to Tarakaksha, and the
third, made of iron, had Vidyunmalin for its lord. With all his weapons,
Maghavat (Indra) was unable to make any impression on those cities.
Afflicted (by the Asuras), all the gods sought the protection of Rudra.
Approaching him, all the gods with Vasava at their head, said, 'These
terrible dwellers of the triple city have received boons from Brahma.
Filled with pride in consequence of those boons, they are greatly
afflicting the universe, 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.
Thus addressed by the gods, Mahadeva thus accepted their request, moved
by the desire of benefiting them, and said, 'I will overthrow these
Asuras. And Hara made the two mountains, viz., Gandhamadana and Vindhya,
the two poles of his car. And Sankara made the earth with her oceans and
forests his battle car. And the three-eyed deity made that prince of
snakes, viz., Sesha, the Aksha, of that car. And that God of gods, the
wielder of Pinaka, made the moon and the sun the two wheels of that
vehicle. And the triple-eyed Lord made Elapatra and Pushpadanta, the two
pins of the yoke. And the valiant Mahadeva made the Malaya mountains the
yoke, and the great Takshaka the string for tying the yoke to the poles,
and the creatures about him the traces of the steed. And Maheswara made
the four Vedas his four steeds. And that lord of the three worlds made
the supplementary Vedas the bridle-bits. And Mahadeva made Gayatri and
Savitri the reins, the syllable Om the whip, and Brahma the driver. And
making the Mandara mountains the bow, Vasuki the bowstring, Vishnu his
excellent shaft, Agni the arrow-head, and Vayu the two wings of that
shafts, Yama the feathers in its tail, lightning the whetting stone, and
Meru the standard, Siva, riding on that excellent car which was composed
of all the celestial forces, proceeded for the destruction of the triple
city. Indeed, Sthanu, that foremost of smiter, that Destroyer of Asuras,
that handsome warrior of immeasurable prowess, adored by the celestials,
O Partha, and by Rishis possessing wealth of asceticism, caused an
excellent and unrivalled array called after his own name, and stood
immovable for a thousand years. When, however, the three cities came
together in the firmament, the lord Mahadeva. pierced them with that
terrible shaft of his, consisting of three knots. The Danavas were unable
to gaze at that shafts inspired with Yuga-fire and composed of Vishnu and
Soma. While the triple city commenced to burn, the goddess Parvati
repaired thither to behold the sight. She had then on her lap, a child
having a bald head with five clumps of hair on it. The goddess asked the
deities as to who that child was. Sakra, through ill-feeling endeavoured
to strike that child with his thunderbolt. The divine lord Mahadeva (for
the child was none other), smiling, quickly paralysed the arm of the
enraged Sakra. Then god Sakra, with his arm paralysed accompanied by all
the celestials, speedily repaired to the lord Brahma of unfading glory.
Bowing unto him with their heads, they addressed Brahma with joined hands
and said, 'Some wonderful creature, O Brahma, lying on the lap of
Parvati, in the form of a child, was behold by us but not saluted. We
have all been vanquished by him. We, therefore, desire to ask thee as to
who he may be. Indeed, that boy, without fighting, hath with the greatest
ease vanquished us all with Purandara at our head.' Hearing these words
of theirs, Brahma. that foremost of all persons, acquainted with Brahma,
reflected for a moment and understood that boy of immeasurable energy to
be none else than the divine Sambhu, Addressing then, those foremost of
celestials with Sakra at their head, Brahma said, 'That child is the
divine Hara the Lord of the entire mobile and immobile universe. There is
nothing superior to Maheswara. That Being of immeasurable splendour who
was beheld by you all with Uma, that divine lord, had assumed the form of
a child for Uma's sake. Let us all go unto him. That divine and
illustrious one is the Supreme Lord of the world. Ye gods, ye could not
recognise that master of the universe.' Then all the gods with the
Grandsire repaired to that child, endued with the effulgence of the
morning sun. Beholding Maheswara, and knowing that he was the Supreme
Being, the Grandsire Brahma thus adored him: Thou art Sacrifice, O lord,
thou art the stay and refuge of the universe. Thou art Bhava, thou art
Mahadeva, thou art the abode (of all things), and thou art the highest
refuge. This whole universe with its mobile and immobile creatures, is
pervaded by thee. O holy one, O lord of the past and the future, O lord
of the world, O protector of the universe, let Sakra, afflicted with thy
wrath, have thy grace.'

"Vyasa continued, 'Hearing these words of the lotus-born Brahma,
Maheswara became gratified. Desirous of extending his grace, he laughed
aloud. The celestials then gratified (with praise) both Uma and Rudra.
The arm of the thunder-wielding Sakra re-got its natural state.

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