The devata of Rigveda tenth mandala 47 and 48 suktas (hymns) is Indra Vaikuntha. This is not Vishnu but one of the incarnations of Lord Indra. He is named as Vaikuntha because of his mother Vikuntha, daughter of Prajapati.

There is a text called Bṛhaddevatā which is written by Sage Shaunaka. This text contains the details of the deities worshipped in hymns of Rigveda. It also gives the background stories of composition of the mantras.

There is explanation given for these hymns.

In this answer, the deeds of Indra was described.

There was an Āsuri, daughter of Prajāpati, Vikunthā by name. She, desiring a son like Indra, performed very severe austerities. She then obtained from Prajāti her desires (in the form of) various boons. And Indra himself was born of her, as he wished to slay the Daityas and Danavas. Once he was engaged in battle with the Danavas.

Of them he slew nine nineties and seven groups of seven. Having shattered with the might of his arm the citadels of gold, silver, and iron, (and) having slain all (of them) in their respective spheres (yathāsthānam), as arrayed on earth and the other (two worlds). On earth he exterminated both the Kālakeyas and the race of Puloma, the archer, and in heaven the notorious (tan) offspring of Prahlada.

My question is - Was deed of Indra in demolishing the citadels of gold, silver, and iron, of Danavas, source for the story of destruction of 3 cities of Tripurasura by Shiva?

  • Are you asking if Shiva took inspiration from Indra to destroy Tripurasura?
    – Ikshvaku
    Feb 19, 2020 at 14:41
  • Please read the question again. I am talking about composing of story. @Ikshvaku Feb 19, 2020 at 14:50
  • These stories really happened according to Vedanta. That's what Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, etc say in their brahma sutra bhashyas.
    – Ikshvaku
    Feb 19, 2020 at 14:52
  • I have my own doubts and I had expressed them. If you know the answer you can post it. I am not interested in arguments please. @Ikshvaku Feb 19, 2020 at 14:55

2 Answers 2


The above story described above in the question is not the source of story of destruction of Tripuras by Lord Shiva! This destruction of Tripuras story is taken from YajurVeda. In the Krishna Yajurveda 6.2.3:

तेषामसुराणां तिस्त्रः पुर आसन्नयस्मय्यवमाथ रजताथ हरिणी ता देवा जेतुं नाशक्नुवन्ता उपसदैवाजिगीषन्तस्मादाहुर्यश्चैव वेद यश्च नोपसदा वै महापुरं जयन्तीति त इषु समस्कुर्वताग्निमनीकं सोमं शल्यं विष्णुं तेजनं तेऽब्रुवन्क इमामसिष्यतीति रुद्र इत्यब्रुवन्रुद्रो वै क्रुरः सोऽस्यत्विति सोऽब्रवीद्वरंवृणा अहमेव पशूनामधिपतिरसानीति तस्माद्रुद्र पशूनामधिपतिस्ता रुद्रोऽवासृजत्स तिस्त्रः पुरो भित्वैभ्यो..... [YajurVeda 6.2.3 ]

The Asuras had Tripuras; the lowest was of iron, then there was one of silver, then one of gold. The gods could not conquer them; they sought to conquer them by siege; therefore they say--both those who know thus and those who do not--'By siege they conquer great citadels.' They made ready an arrow, Agni as the point, Soma as the socket, Visnu as the shaft. They said, 'Who shall shoot it?' 'Rudra', they said, 'Rudra is fierce, let him shoot it.' He said, 'Let me choose a boon; let me be overlord of Pashus.' Therefore is Rudra overlord of Pashus. Rudra let it go; it cleft the Tripuras and drove the Asuras away from these worlds.

This is the story for the destruction of Tripuras by Lord Shiva and it is this story which is described by Puranas. It's because here- Destruction is done by Lord Rudra who is Lord Shiva himself. - Various Gods became various parts of the arrow and Puranas also mention this!

  • I read the Yajurvedic story. However, my doubt is that Bṛhaddevatā, in the which story mentioned in the question appears, might have preceded the Yajurvedic story. Hence, the question @Tejaswee Jul 28, 2020 at 14:40

Rig Veda mentions purandara - पुरन्दर (one who destroyed cities). Rig Veda praises both Agni and Indra as purandara - पुरन्दर.

In praise of Agni: Rig Veda VI.16.14

तमु त्वा दध्यङ्ङृषिः पुत्र ईधे अथर्वणः। वृत्रहणं पुरन्दरम् ॥१४॥

tamu tvā dadhyaṃṃ ṛṣiḥ putra īdhe atharvaṇaḥ | vṛtrahaṇaṃ purandaram ||

In praise of Indra, Rig Veda II.20.7

स वृ॑त्र॒हेन्द्र॑: कृ॒ष्णयो॑नीः पुरंद॒रो दासी॑रैरय॒द्वि । अज॑नय॒न्मन॑वे॒ क्षाम॒पश्च॑ स॒त्रा शंसं॒ यज॑मानस्य तूतोत् ॥७॥

sa vṛtrahendraḥ kṛṣṇayonīḥ purandaro dāsīrairayad vi | ajanayan manave kṣāmapaśca satrā śaṃsaṃ yajamānasya tūtot ||

If we closely observe, both Indra and Agni were praised as eliminator of Vritra and destroyer of cities.

That is the beauty of above mantras, composers of which were different sages, of Rig Veda. They are referring to the same Almighty or BRAHMAN, because Agni, Indra are epithets used to indicate same brahman (RV I.164.46 - ekam sad ...)

Coming to the destruction of 3 cities by Indra, as mentioned in Bṛhaddevatā of Sage Shaunaka, we can infer from the above that Sage Shaunaka explained the deeds of Indra as mentioned in Rig Veda, in an anecdote .

Destruction of 3 cities or Tripuras by Rudra, as mentioned in Krishna Yajurveda 6.2.3, might have followed the anecdote of Bṛhaddevatā of Sage Shaunaka.

One interesting aspect is that Vishnu is also called purandara in Vishnu Sahasranama No.335

The term puram is also used to refer to the three Sariras viz. the sthula,sukshma, and karaaa sariras. He is purandara because he has torn apart these three and is the Atma beyond these three Sariras.

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