There is a mythological story associated with the God Siva which gave him the title Tripurantaka. according to the story, Three indestructible mythical cities were built in the sky by demons and provided a safe haven for them. With this safe shelter to protect them they went about harassing the good folks of the worlds. Siva comes to the rescue of the gods and sages, by destroying the cities with on single arrow, at a particular moment when all three cities come into a linear alignment. It is notable that Siva destroys them in an almost effortless manner with a smile on his face. Also it is mentioned that he did so without taking any help from the gods.
There are plenty of retelling of this story, as well as famous sculptures of Shiva as Tripurantaka made and worshiped. Some say this story represents how Siva rescues one from suffering, some talk about the three demons and the cities as Pride, Anger and Delusion.While these maintain and divine and mystical character to the story, the true purport of it is not popular.
This is indeed a deep philosophical tale, associated with the individual and nothing to do with demons and gods. Every single person exists in one of three states at any given time. The three states are,
- Sleeping (Dreaming)
- Deep Sleep
When we are awake, we experience the world as it is, it contains the duality of pleasure and pain. Not everything goes our way. During dreams, we exist in an unreal world, experiencing duality at a fantasy level, with certain things that are not possible in our waking state. Upon waking up however, both the pleasure and pain from the dream are falsified. During deep sleep without a dream, we simply sleep, we do not experience anything. Since there is no experience of any kind, we are totally devoid of any suffering or pain, but there will be no pleasure as well. These are the three states of existence.
All three of them are not ideal, since each has either both pleasure and pain, or none at all. Realizing the truth about the Self as the only reality, and all three states as part of the illusion, and accepting the Waking state as the only state where there can be a conscious experience, one goes about life rejecting the duality offered by it. This Fourth state is the state of Joy.
This realization is the destruction of Tripuram (three cities which is equivalent to the three states). For this to happen it does take a great alignment of sorts, and it does happen without effort or help from the gods.