Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840], at

p. 438


Explanation of the reason why Śiśupála in his previous births as Hirańyakaśipu and Rávańa was not identified with Vishńu on being slain by him, and was so identified when killed as Śiśupála. The wives of Vasudeva: his children: Balaráma and Krishńa his sons by Devakí: born apparently of Rohińí and Yasodá. The wives and children of Krishńa. Multitude of the descendants of Yadu.

MAITREYA.--Most eminent of all who cultivate piety, I am curious to hear from you, and you are able to explain to me, how it happened that the same being who when killed by Vishńu as Hirańyakaśipu and Rávańa obtained enjoyments which, though scarcely attainable by the immortals, were but temporary, should have been absorbed into the eternal Hari when slain by him in the person of Śiśupála.

PARÁŚARA.--When the divine author of the creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe accomplished the death of Hirańyakaśipu, he assumed a body composed of the figures of a lion and a man, so that Hirańyakaśipu was not aware that his destroyer was Vishńu: although therefore the quality of purity, derived from exceeding merit, had been attained, yet his mind was perplexed by the predominance of the property of passion; and the consequence of that intermixture was, that he reaped, as the result of his death by the hands of Vishńu, only unlimited power and enjoyment upon earth, as Daśánana, the sovereign of the three spheres; he did not obtain absorption into the supreme spirit, that is without beginning or end, because his mind was not wholly dedicated to that sole object. So also Daśánana being entirely subject to the passion of love, and engrossed completely by the thoughts of Jánakí, could not comprehend that the son of Daśaratha whom he beheld was in reality the divine Achyuta. At the moment of his death he was impressed with the notion that his adversary was a mortal, and therefore the fruit he derived from being slain by Vishńu was confined to his birth in the illustrious family of the kings of Chedi, and the exercise of extensive dominion. In this situation many circumstances brought the names of Vishńu to his notice, and on all these occasions the enmity that had accumulated through successive births influenced his

p. 439

mind; and in speaking constantly with disrespect of Achyuta, he was ever repeating his different appellations. Whether walking, eating, sitting, or sleeping, his animosity was never at rest, and Krishńa was ever present to his thoughts in his ordinary semblance, having eyes as beautiful as the leaf of the lotus, clad in bright yellow raiment, decorated with a garland, with bracelets on his arms and wrists, and a diadem on his head; having four robust arms, bearing the conch, the discus, the mace, and the lotus. Thus uttering his names, even though in malediction, and dwelling upon his image, though in enmity, he beheld Krishńa, when inflicting his death, radiant with resplendent weapons, bright with ineffable splendour in his own essence as the supreme being, and all his passion and hatred ceased, and he was purified front every defect. Being killed by the discus of Vishńu at the instant he thus meditated, all his sins were consumed by his divine adversary, and he was blended with him by whose might he had been slain. I have thus replied to your inquiries. He by whom the divine Vishńu is named or called to recollection, even in enmity, obtains a reward that is difficult of attainment to the demons and the gods: how much greater shall be his recompense who glorifies the deity in fervour and in faith!

Vasudeva, also called Ánakadandubhi, had Rohińí, Pauraví 1, Bhadrá, Madirá, Devakí, and several other wives. His sons by Rohińí were Balabhadra, Sárańa, Śaru, Durmada, and others. Balabhadra espoused Revatí, and had by her Nisat́ha and Ulmuka. The sons of Śarańa were Mársht́i, Mársht́imat, Śíśu, Satyadhriti, and others. Bhadráśwa, Bhadrabáhu, Durgama, Bhúta, and others, were born in the family of Rohińí (of the race of Puru). The sons of Vasudeva by Madirá were Nanda, Upananda, Krítaka, and others. Bhadrá bore him Upanidhi, Gada, and others. By his wife Vaiśálí he had one son named Kauśika. Devakí bore him six sons, Kírttimat, Susheńa, Udáyin, Bhadrasena, Rijudaśa, and Bhadradeha; all of whom Kansa put to death 2.

p. 440

When Devakí was pregnant the seventh time, Yoganidrá (the sleep of devotion), sent by Vishńu, extricated the embryo from its maternal womb at midnight, and transferred it to that of Rohińí; and from having been thus taken away, the child (who was Balaráma) received the name of Sankarshańa. Next, the divine Vishńu himself, the root of the vast universal tree, inscrutable by the understandings of all gods, demons, sages, and men, past, present, or to come, adored by Brahmá and all the deities, he who is without beginning, middle, or end, being moved to relieve the earth of her load, descended into the womb of Devakí, and was born as her son Vásudeva. Yoganidrá, proud to execute his orders, removed the embryo to Yasodá, the wife of Nanda the cowherd. At his birth the earth was relieved from all iniquity; the sun, moon, and planets shone with unclouded splendour; all fear of calamitous portents was dispelled; and universal happiness prevailed. From the moment he appeared, all mankind were led into the righteous path in him.

Whilst this powerful being resided in this world of mortals, he had sixteen thousand and one hundred wives; of these the principal were Rukminí, Satyabhámá, Jámbavatí, Játahaśiní, and four others. By these the universal form, who is without beginning, begot a hundred and eighty thousand sons, of whom thirteen are most renowned, Pradyumna, Chárudeshńa, Sámba, and others. Pradyumna married Kakudwatí, the daughter of Rukmin, and had by her Aniruddha. Aniruddha married Subhadrá, the granddaughter of the same Rukmin, and she bore him a son named Vajra. The son of Vajra was Báhu; and his son was Sucháru 3.

p. 441

In this manner the descendants of Yadu multiplied, and there were many hundreds of thousands of them, so that it would be impossible to repeat their names in hundreds of years. Two verses relating to them are current: "The domestic instructors of the boys in the use of arms amounted to three crores and eighty lacs (or thirty-eight millions). Who shall enumerate the whole of the mighty men of the Yádava race, who were tens of ten thousands and hundreds of hundred thousands in number?" Those powerful Daityas who were killed in the conflicts between them and the gods were born again upon earth as men, as tyrants and oppressors; and, in order to check their violence, the gods also descended to the world of mortals, and became members of the hundred and one branches of the family of Yadu. Vishńu was to them a teacher and a ruler, and all the Yádavas were obedient to his commands.

Whoever listens frequently to this account of the origin of the heroes of the race of Vrishńi, shall be purified from all sin, and obtain the sphere of Vishńu.


439:1 Pauraví is rather a title attached to a second Rohińí, to distinguish her from the first, the mother of Balaráma: she is also said by the Váyu to be the daughter of Báhlíka.

439:2 The enumeration of our text is rather imperfect. The Váyu names the wives of Vasudeva, Pauraví, Rohińí, Madirá, Rudrá, Vaiśákhí, Devakí; and adds two bondmaids, Sugandhí and Vanarají. The p. 440 Bráhma P. and Hari V. name twelve wives, and two slaves; Rohiní, Madirá, Vaiśákhí, Bhadrá, Sunámní, Sahadevá, Śántidevá, Śrídevá, Devarakshitá, Vrikadeví, Upadeví, Devaki; and Śantanu and Báravá. The children of the two slaves, according to the Váyu, were Puńd́ra, who became a king, and Kapila, who retired to the woods. In the Bhágavata we have thirteen wives, Pauraví, Rohińí, Bhadrá, Madirá, Rochaná, Ilá, Devakí, Dhritadeví, Śántidevá, Upadeví, Śrídevá, Devarakshitá, and Sahadevá: the last seven in this and the preceding list are the daughters of Devaka.

440:3 The wives and children of Krishńa are more particularly described in the next book. The Bráhma P. and Hari V. add some details of the descendants of Vasudeva's brothers: thus Devabhága is said to be the father of Uddhava; Anadhrisht́i of Devaśravas, a great scholar or Pańd́it. Devaśravas, another brother of Vasudeva, p. 441 had Śatrughna and another son called Ekalavya, who for some cause being exposed when an infant, was found and brought up by the Nishádas, and was thence termed Nishádin. Vatsavat (Vatsabálaka) and Gańd́úsha being childless, Vasudeva gave his son Kauśika to be adopted by the former, and Krishńa gave Chárudeshńa and three others to the latter. Kanaka (Karundhaka) had two sons, Tantrija and Tantripála. Aváksrinjima (Śrinjaya) had also two, Víra and Aśwahanu. The gracious Śamíka became as the son (although the brother) of Śyáma, and disdaining the joint rule which the princes of the house of Bhoja exercised, made himself paramount. Yudhisht́hira was his friend. The extravagant numbers of the Yádavas merely indicate that they were, as they undoubtedly were, a powerful and numerous tribe, of whom many traces exist in various parts of India.

Next: Chapter XVI