Tārakāsur (Sanskrit: तारकासुर) or Tāraka (Sanskrit: तारक) was a powerful asura and the son of Vajranaka in Hindu belief. Tarakasur repeatedly defeated the gods until heaven was on the verge of collapse. Yet he had a clever boon that he could be defeated only by the son of Shiva, who was a complete yogi, given to severe austerities, far from any thoughts of marriage. Eventually, Kamadeva, the god of love, was sent in advance and created an untimely spring around Shiva and broke his dhyana with arrow of lust. On awakening, Shiva's fiery gaze burnt Kamdeva to ashes, and the disembodied spirit of love was disseminated across the universe. However, Parvati who was re-incarnation of Sati, Shiva's first wife and also incarnation of Aadi Shakti who was once a part of Shiva, in their Ardhanarishvara form. Eventually their son Kartikeya was born. Kartikeya killed Tarakasur and his brothers Simhamukhan and Surapadman at Thiruchendur - Tamil Nadu, who eventually became the mounts of Durga and Kartikeya.
This story is the basis for the epic Kumarasambhava (lit., birth of Kartikeya) by Kalidasa (c. 4th century AD). The theme of the vaporised love spirit roaming free in the universe was adopted by the Vaishnavas (c. 16th century) who believe it was reincarnated in Vasudeva. This is also the theme of the poem madanbhasmer par (মদনভস্মের পর) by Rabindranath Tagore.