Taraka (ताड़का Tāṛakā) or Tadaka or Thataka was a demoness in the epic Ramayana. Along with her children, Maricha and Subahu, Taraka would harass and attack rishis performing yajnas in the forest. They were ultimately slain by Rama and Lakshmana on behest of their teacher, maharishi Vishwamitra.
Rama Killing Demon Tataka
Taraka was a Yaksha princess and daughter and only child of the Yaksha king Suketu, she was a beautiful princess that was wooed by and married Sunda, a Rakshas. She bore Sunda two sons, Subahu and Maricha. When Rishi Agastya cursed both Suketu and Sunda to death, Tadaka took it upon herself (with her son, Subahu's, aid) to wreak vengeance on the sage. This earned them both the Rishi's anger. Agastya cursed Tadaka with the loss of her beautiful physique, and transformed both mother and son into hideous demonic creatures with a cruel, cannibalistic nature.
As revenge, Tadaka and Subahu attempted to harass as many rishis as they could, by destroying their Yagnas with rains of flesh and blood. Brahmarishi Vishwamitra was especially at the receiving end of Tadaka's harassment. Unable to cope with her mischief any longer, Vishwamitra finally approached Dasaratha, the King of Kosala, for help. The King obliged by sending two of his four sons, the 16-yr-olds, Rama and Lakshmana, to the forest, charging them to protect both Vishwamitra and his Yagna.
When Tadaka and Subahu both attempted to destroy yet another of Vishwamitra's yagnas, Rama warned them not do so. They responded by laughing at Rama, and deriding him as a 'mere boy'. The 'mere boy' retaliated by slaying both mother and son swiftly.
This act gained the young princes the blessings of not just Vishwamitra but also the blessings of all of the assembled sages in the yagnashala.
- Gibbs, Laura. "Mythology and Folklore UN-Textbook: Ramayana: Vishwamitra, Rama's Teacher". Mythology and Folklore UN-Textbook. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- "Rama and Lakshmana Slay the mighty tataka". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
- Mittal, J. P. (2006). History Of Ancient India (a New Version) : From 7300 Bb To 4250 Bc. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. ISBN 978-81-269-0615-4.
- Mittal, J. P. (2006). History Of Ancient India (a New Version) : From 7300 Bb To 4250 Bc. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 192. ISBN 978-81-269-0615-4.