|Taraka was surprised that a messenger like that should come
and irritate him.So he thought within himself, "I have seen this fellow, Indra's strength
so many times. He has so often been beaten by me, so often fallen down and eaten
the dirt on that ground, fallen so heavily that even grass could not he grow
there later. Because of my great-grandfather Brahma's words and out of pity,
I had left the Devaloka to him. And now he exhibits such pride! But how could
he get this courage? Of late I have also had a series of ill omens. My left eye
has been fluttering. And so much of dirt rises up in the sky. And there are the
ugly shouts of wild beasts. Blood has rained from the skies. These ill omens
must mean something. A son must have been born to Shiva. It must be only because
of that, that Indra shows something like courage."
Engrossed in thought, Tarakasura went up the steps and from
the high terrace of his palace, looked around scanning the far-off horizon. Then he
heard the war cries of the army of the gods, like a distant thunder. He saw a
huge army marching on him with all its four divisions, namely, the elephant -
borne wing, the chariots, the cavalry and the infantry. The martial music with different
types of drums and trumpets could be heard from a distance. Right in the middle
of the marching army, the great hero Kartikeya sat in a bright chariot covered
in a white canopy and equipped with all weapons. A saffron pennant with the symbol
of a cock fluttered atop the advancing chariot.
Taraka now knew that it was the son of Shiva coming to confront
him. He remembered
the boon he had asked of Brahma and obtained. He was shaken, thinking that his
end was near. But he did not want to show any fear before his men and pretended
to be unaffected. He sent for the commanders of his army and asked them to make
all preparations for the war. The Rakshasa army marched forward like the surging
waves of the ocean.
The Gods and the Demons stood prepared for the war, with
their armies in definite formations. The fight began. Spears and swords, bows and arrows, clubs, axes
and rope-slings were all employed as well as many other varieties of weapons.
Duels, wrestling, fights with army formations at close quarters - all such methods
were used in the terrific battle. Thousands lay dead on the battlefield and several
thousand others were wounded. The field was crisscrossed with streams of blood.
Indra, the king of the gods, fought with Taraka and was defeated. Veerabhadra
engaged Taraka in a severe encounter for a long time. Then with determination
to defeat the enemy, Mahavishnu himself fought with Taraka. But he fell unconscious,
hit by the 'Shakti' weapon of Taraka. Recovering quickly yet, he roared like
a lion and felled Taraka with his 'Chakra' or the wheel weapon. Taraka stood
up again and it seemed an unending fight between equals. Brahma
was watching the terrible fight. Seeing the defeat and the distress of the gods,
he told Kartikeya, "O
son of Shiva, Taraka cannot be killed by any but you. You must at once dispatch
him." All the gods joined Brahma in that prayer.
Now Kartikeya himself marched on the foe. Small in size,
he yet appeared fearless and frightening to the enemies. He confronted Taraka whom, brandishing a sword,
shouted to the gods, "You cowards! You have brought this tender boy to face
me. Are you not ashamed? Where is your entire valor? Are even Indra, Vishnu and
Shiva so naive? Unable themselves to do anything, they have sent this child to
fight with me, like pushing a calf into the tiger's mouth! I am certain to kill
this boy. But as a great demon like me this is certainly a sinful deed." Taraka
then turned to Kartikeya and said, "Look here, boy, you are still so young.
If you want the pleasure of a fight, get it from your friends in a game or by
wrestling. Go back, and if you wish, send your father to
|TARAKA ASKING KARTIKEYA
TO LEAVE THE BATTLEFIELD