Today, I’ll tell you a story about Taraka. That’s an old Hindu story. Now, when we hear these stories, we should understand that, like fairy tales, they are allegories and not something that necessarily happened.
So, a long long time ago, there was this demon called Taraka. He was of darkness. Nobody knows where he came from. He went from village to village… Because I guess back in those days they had villages not cities. He went from village to village destroying everything, killing people, and just wreaking havoc. People in those villages tried to fight him back, but what happened, the more arrows and stones they threw at him, the bigger and stronger Taraka became. He finally became as big as a mountain.
The people understood that only a special hero could defeat Taraka, and they appealed to Shiva. Shiva and Shakti got busy… and soon Skanda was born. He is also known as Kartikeya. Several years ago when I told this story, a student came up to me after the class and said that was Kartikeya, not Skanda. Skanda, Kartikeya, the same, just different names. And what Skanda did when he faced Taraka, he sat down and meditated. It’s not easy to meditate in front of a demon as big as a mountain! As Skanda meditated, in his mind, he expanded and grew until he became bigger than a mountain. And when he became bigger than a mountain… he swallowed Taraka whole.
There is a pose called Skandasana, named after Skanda. It’s terrible though. You fold over and put your foot behind your head, so you kinda look like you swallowed yourself whole. I am not going to teach it to you guys, because it’s just awful, you don’t deserve that.
But what this story about Skanda and Taraka reminds us is that we are bigger and stronger than our demons.