In Shiva Purana Rudra-samhita, Tarakasura boasted and also disrespected Lord Vishnu before his war with Kartikeya. During his boasting, he also mentioned Rama avatar and Krishna avatar which happened in the future much after the time period of Tarakasura. How did Tarakasura know about future incarnations of Lord Vishnu? These are his dialogues:

Taking birth as Rama he killed a woman (Tāḍakā). Bālī’s death was brought about by him with a vile trick. A brahmin descendant of Viśravas was killed by him. Thus he violated the injunction of the Śruti. Sinful that he was, he forsook his own innocent wife. There too, he violated the path of Śruti for achieving his selfish end. In his sixth incarnation (as Paraśurāma) he cut off the head of his own mother. This wicked man insulted his own preceptor’s son. Incarnating as Kṛṣṇa he defiled the wives of others and forced them to violate the traditional virtues of the family. He contracted his marriages without any reference to the Vedic path. Again in his ninth incarnation he slighted the Vedic path and contrary to its principles, preached and established the atheistic philosophy called Buddhism.

  • 3
    The same incarnations happen in every kalpa, so he must be talking about those that happened in the previous kalpa.
    – Rickross
    Oct 4, 2020 at 11:10
  • 1
    @Kiran, does it not appear to raise doubts about authenticity of this Shiva purana edition? Are there any other authors?
    – Narasimham
    Oct 6, 2020 at 15:38
  • @Narasimham I raised this question suspecting interpolation in these verses only.
    – Kiran
    Oct 21, 2020 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


Tāraka probably is not speaking in Sanskrit. He probably is not saying Buddha or Kṛṣṇa, the retelling is just correcting his mislead naming. Actually, this seems to happen a lot with the Tamas scriptures, or Tamas enclaves of other scripture, as they correct wrong names to correct ones, which is very confusing, but the alternative would be even more so I guess. Just bear in bear mind when a Tāmasika scripture says Viṣṇu, it does not necessarily mean Viṣṇu Vaiṣṇava.

You can most clearly see this, with Maināka, who is almost certainly the form of Viṣṇu talked about when it Tamas scriptures state Viṣṇu is Pārvatī's brother, because those two are always brother and sister in every incarnation and Pārvatī and Maināka's and Pārvatī's names line up too closely for them for Maināka not to be a form of Viṣṇu.

Some traits of Viṣṇu appear bad to Tāraka, but that is because he is mistaken. However, because the meanings what Tāraka is saying is very similar to Viṣṇu's names, means when the scripture translates his dialogue into Sanskrit it takes initiative and fashions a prayer to Viṣṇu. Here are the names and the associated misinterpretation of Viṣṇu:

  • Rāma - superficially pleasing (like Rama)(the implication being he is not inside)
  • Paraśurāma - superficially pleasing with an axe (the implication being he makes everyone like him through violence)
  • Kṛṣṇa - malevolent
  • Buddha - The destruction of knowledge/awakeness (kind of like calling him a book burner)

Anyway, the resultant prayer is actually pretty good, as it shows how Viṣṇu's actions can be mistaken and how he is grander than Tāraka is in ignorance can see.

P.S. repeat the dialogue to yourself as a prayer to Viṣṇu and it will help you understand Tāraka's ignorance and the deeper meaning he is missing.

P.P.S there are more names hidden in the dialogue.

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