Tarakamaya war was the 5th of the 12 wars fought between Devas and Asura.

The background was as follow :

Maharishi Atri performed very difficult tapasya. So difficult was the tapasya that Atri’s energy was thrown up into the sky which in turn hurled it down onto the earth. This energy then gave birth to Soma. Brahma took Soma up into his chariot and drove the chariot around the earth twenty-one times. From whatever energy was left after Chandra had been created, the herbs were born.

Chandra also performed very difficult tapasya and after the meditation was over, Brahma appointed Chandra lord over seeds, herbs and stars. Chandra also performed a Rajasuya yajna as a celebration of his lordship. This gave him a lot of pomp, wealth and respect.

But all this glory turned Chandra’s head. The guru of all the devas was Brihspati and Brhaspati’s wife was Tara. Chandra kidnapped Tara. Despite Brihaspati’s repeatedly requesting him to return Tara, Chandra refused. A war began between the two sides. Since Shukra, the guru of Asuras, did not like Brihaspati he took Chandra’s side. Indra and other devas fought on side of Brhaspati.


Now as per this section of Padma Purana, Soma is now fighting on side of Devas. See the verses that describe the army of Devas

22b-23a. Soma (i.e. the Moon), of white horses, having cool rays, delighting the world with lustre full of cool water, shines (i.e. shone) in his chariot.

23b-26a. The demons saw that Soma, who was accompanied by Stars, whose rays were cool, who was the lord of brāhmaṇas, whose form was marked with the shadow of a hare, who removed the nocturnal darkness, who was the lord of the Stars in the sky, who gave nectar, who was the immutable lord, who was the store of pure herbs and of nectar, who was the great lot of the world, who was agreeable, who was full of nectar, who had the snow-weapon, and who remained (in his chariot).

and then later again in verses 123-124 we have Indra commanding Soma

  1. Śakra, who helped the gods to prosper, being delighted, said, “Let it be so,” and ordered Soma, having cold weapons, to fight at the head (of the army):
  1. “O Soma, help Varuṇa for the destruction of the demons and the victory of the gods.

So question is how do one reconcile the above verses with the fact that Soma was fighting against other Devas in Tarakamaya war ?

  • Tāraka was one asura also right killed by Kartikeya..the Padma purana section seems to be talking about that Tāraka and not Brhaspati's wifw Tara...
    – YDS
    Sep 30 '20 at 7:39
  • 1
    @YDS - Seems that verse 184 on the same page refers to two demons Tara and Maya in this war.. So perhaps your point seems to be valid Sep 30 '20 at 7:52

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