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

p. 563


Jarásandha besieges Mathurá; is defeated, but repeatedly renews the attack.

PARÁŚARA.--The mighty Kansa had married the two daughters of Jarásandha, one named Asti, the other Práptí. Jarásandha was king of Magadhá, and a very powerful prince 1; who, when he heard that Krishńa had killed his son-in-law, was much incensed, and, collecting a large force, marched against Mathurá, determined to put the Yádavas and Krishńa to the sword. Accordingly he invested the city with three and twenty numerous divisions of his forces 2. Ráma and Janárddana sallied from the town with a slender, but resolute force, and fought bravely with the armies of Magadhá. The two youthful leaders prudently resolved to have recourse to their ancient weapons, and accordingly the bow of Hari, with two quivers filled with exhaustless arrows, and the mace called Kaumodaki, and the ploughshare of Balabhadra, as well as the club Saunanda, descended at a wish from heaven. Armed with these weapons, they speedily discomfited the king of Magadhá and his hosts, and reentered the city in triumph.

Although the wicked king of Magadhá, Jarásandha, was defeated, yet Krishńa knew that whilst he escaped alive he was not subdued; and in fact he soon returned with a mighty force, and was again forced by Ráma and Krishńa to fly. Eighteen times 3 did the haughty prince of Magadhá renew his attack upon the Yádavas, headed by Krishńa; and was as often defeated and put to the rout by them, with very inferior numbers. That the Yádavas were not overpowered by their foes, was owing to the present might of the portion of the discus-armed Vishńu.

p. 564

[paragraph continues] It was the pastime of the lord of the universe, in his capacity of man, to launch various weapons against his enemies; for what effort of power to annihilate his foes could be necessary to him, whose fiat creates and destroys the world? but as subjecting himself to human customs, he formed alliances with the brave, and engaged in hostilities with the base. He had recourse to the four devices of policy, or negotiation, presents, sowing dissension, and chastisement; and sometimes even betook himself to flight. Thus imitating the conduct of human beings, the lord of the world pursued at will his sports.


563:1 See page 456.

563:2 With twenty-three Akshouhinis, each consisting of 109,300 infantry, 65,610 horse, 22,870 chariots, and as many elephants. The Hari Vanśa enumerates, as the allies or tributaries of Jarásandha, a number of princes from various parts of India, but this is a gratuitous embellishment.

563:3 The Bhágavata and Hari Vanśa say 'seventeen times.' The latter indulges in a prolix description of the first encounter; nothing of which occurs in the Bhágavata, any more than in our text.

Next: Chapter XXIII