[ Tripurantaka ]
One of the names of Adiyogi. Tri-pura means “three cities.” Tripurantaka means “one who ended Tripura.” The story of Shiva demolishing all the three cities with a single arrow refers to the three fundamental dimensions of who you are.
There was a rakshasa king. Rakshasa is generally translated as demon, but they are not necessarily demons. They are a different kind of people who do not subscribe to the laws of society. A rakshasa is one who is ruled by his own passions, his own lust, and his own needs. Conquest, rape, and grabbing things are normal for him.
This rakshasa king became very powerful, so powerful he built three cities floating in the sky. He ruled these cities and whenever he wanted, he came to the earth and ravaged it. There was no competition for him. He was such a warrior and his armies were so strong, no one could stop him. He terrorized all the others – human beings and gods. At that time, the god population in the country was more than the human population. We had 330 million gods, even then, and not that many people! That many gods and yet this man had no sanctity for anything. He just ravaged everything that he saw. No one could kill him; no one could conquer him. They called all the devas. All the heroes went to fight against him, but he not only vanquished them, he disgraced them in every possible way. He made sure that he was the power. At that time, Shiva had his eyes closed. They went to him and pleaded for years, but he did not open his eyes – he was somewhere else. Then Vishnu found a way to make him open his eyes and they told him, “Only you can stop this man.” But the rakshasa had taken a boon that no individual city of his could be destroyed by any army. Shiva saw that he could not shoot down these cities individually – he had to shoot down all three at once. So he shot a single arrow that went through all the three cities and they fell down.
Life happens between threes
Tri-pura means “three cities.” Tripurantaka means “one who ended Tripura.” The story of Shiva demolishing all the three cities with a single arrow refers to the three fundamental dimensions of who you are. This can be expressed in many different ways. In terms of qualities, these three dimensions are called tamas, rajas, and sattva. In terms of physical manifestation, we call them pingala, sushumna, and ida. These three nadis are the manifestation of who you are. Then there are the three forces earth, moon, and sun. And the three dimensions of one’s existence here: past, present, and future. Essentially, life is happening between these three. You can see it as past, present, and future. Or you can see it as ida, sushumna, and pingala. Or you can see it as earth, sun, and moon. If you try to conquer only one out of the three, you will be on an endless ride because the three are internally one. In yoga and in spiritual process, a lot of people are trying to take charge of only one thing, which is a desperate endeavor.
Excerpt: Asanas Guide – Align With the Divine (Isha)
▵ Asanas Guide – Align With the Divine (Isha)