त्रिपुरान्तकाय नमः शिवाय

tripurAntakAya namah sivAya ||

In vedic tradition, rudra praSna is probably the most important point of culmination of physically observable and unobservable aspects of mahAdeva. Some vedic scholars believe that rudra prashna might have been a result of observing tripurAsura samhAra.

In the story, as mahAdeva starts his journey to battle tripurAsuras, devatAgaNa makes a chariot for him. Telugu scholar sri mudigonda nAga vIrayya sAstri writes in his translation (of same name) of siva mahA purANam as follows:

anta devatalAyasurula varambu leringiyunduTa naradambugAniyaradambunu villugAkayesanguvillunu bANambugAkatagubANambu munnaguvAningUrpangadamgi viSwambharanu rathambuganunddAniki sUryachandrula dvAdaSAraSodashArambulagu chakrambuluganu udayAstAchalambulanu nogaluganu mantrabulu ghatambuluganu rutushatkambu nEmuluganu madarAdri chOtuganunAkasambu tekkambuganu svargamokshambulu dhvajambuluganu shadangapurANa mImAmsAdharma SAstrambulu tErinagaluganu dikkulu pAdambuluganunanantudubandhamuganu sandrambulEdunu rathakambalambuluganu gangAdisarismatallulu svarnakamkaNakarabhUshitulagu chAmaragrAhuNuluganu lOkAlOkAchalambusaupAnambuganu vidhini sArathiganu dolipalkulu tEjuluganu braNavambunu goradAganu darvIkarambulu paggambuluganu vElpulu raSmidhAruluganu akArambu goduguganu bangarukonda villuganu SEshundu nAriganu sarasvati ghantaganu nArAyaNundu bANambuganu aggi salyambuganu tAralu turangabhushambuluganu maharshulu gurrapuroutuluganu vishavAyuvulu sainikuluganu santarinchi sarva dEvamayundagu mahESvarunkosangi rathArohamambu chEyamani prArthinchina SankarundAmodinchi ayambuna syamdanambekkanappudu vEdahayambulu tundambulanderichi kanugrudlu midikinchi pudamingUludu rathambuchalinchi mundunakumroggangulaparvatambulu chelinche Seshundu padan kinayyadiyantangAnchi vishnundokka mahAvrushambai tErupaiketti hayambulaki bAsatayai nilichenappudamarulellandamakunbashutvambununparamEsvarunakunbashupatitattvambunu gOri vadasiramta Sivundu

devatas keeping in mind the strange request of the tripurAsuras that a bow like no other, an arrow like no other and so on, built a chariot for mahAdeva with

– 12 and 16 forms of Sun and Moon as wheels

– rise and fall (of creation) as yoke

mantras as pots

– 6 seasons as boundaries

mandara hill as the space

AkAsha as the flap

– heaven and mOksha as the flag-mast

shadanga yoga, purANas, dharma shAstras as jewelry

– directions as feet

– 7 seas as the cloth

– ganga and others as kankaNa, karabhUshanas, chAmaras

– time as the charioteer

– words as the tejas

praNava nAda as the horsewhip

– snake skins as tether

akAra as the chattra (umbrella)

– golden hill as the bow

sesha as the bowstring

saraswati as the bell

nArAyaNa as the arrow

– fire as the spear

– stars as jewelry of the horses

maharshis as cavalry

– poisonous fumes as soldiers

and presented to mahEshwara praying him to slay tripurAsuras. As Sankara accepted and started his ascent to the skies, with vEdas as the horses, mountains and Sesha shivered. vishnu observed this and became a great ox to guide the horses in a determined way. Seeing this, all immortals (devatas) prayed to be pashus with shiva as pashupati.

The symbolism is embodiment of haindava sampradAya –

When vEdas run the chariot of mahAdEva, he attains vijaya and in this vijaya, the whole creation guides his chariot to attain vijaya over tripurAsuras (us) who think they can live forever in their nagaras (human bodies) and mahAdEva becomes paSupati and we his paSus.”

paSu in sanskrit literally means that which can be tied to a pASa. Therefore, paSupati literally ties us to his pASa and controls us if we remain his paSu!

No wonder many vEdic scholars propose that rudra praSna was an expression that was a consequence of tripurAsura samhAra. It is evident indeed –

“namo rathibhyo-arathebhyascha vo namo

namo rathebhyo rathapatibhyascha vo namo

…………………….. rathakArebhyascha vo namo”

On this mahA SivarAtri, imagine Siva on his chariot made by the devatAgaNa, mahAdEva‘s ascent to the skies to confront tripurAsuras and finally ourselves as his paSu tied to him through pASa called bhakti.

hara hara mahAdEva!

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