Harivamsha Purana

by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1897 | 293,872 words | ISBN-10: 8178542188 | ISBN-13: 9788178542188

This page is entitled “the destruction of the demon pralamba” and represents Chapter 14 of the second book (‘Vishnu Parva’) of the Harivamsa (English translation in Prose). The Harivamsha Purana narrates the lineage and life-story of Krishna (Hari). Although not officially mentioned in the list of Puranas, this book includes topics such as geology, creation theory, time (manvantaras), ancient historical legends and accounts of royal dynasties.

Chapter 14 - The Destruction of the Demon Pralamba

1. Vaishampayana said:—Thereupon leaving off that forest of palm trees the two sons of Vasudeva again came to the Bhandira tree.

2-3. Traversing that prosperous forest land and tending the ever increasing flock of kine those two beautiful subduers of enemies began to strike their arms and sing. Sometimes they collected the trees and called the kine with their calves by names.

4. They had ropes hanging on their shoulders and their breasts were adorned with garlands of auspicious wild flowers. And they looked like two bulls with new-grown horns.

5. Having the hue of gold and powdered collyrium and clad in apparels of the same color with their respective persons, those two boys appeared like white and black clouds accompanied by rain-bow[1] .

6-7. Traversing the forest-ways along with their comrades, making beautiful ear-rings with the tips of Kusha grass or flowers, and putting on wild dresses they sometimes sported on the mount Govardhana, sometimes in the forest and some times in the table-land. They thus engaged in a sport which was celebrated all over the world.

8. Thus following human conduct and engaging in a play introduced by milk-men they, who were worshipful even unto the celestials, began to range in the forest.

9. Thus sporting, they, within a short time, reached the Bhandiraka fig-tree covered with growing branches—the best of the kind.

10. They, who were experts in fighting, began to play there with cradles, nets and stones.

11. Those two heroes, powerful like lions, began to display there, in the company of cow-herd boys, of their own accord and with delight, many a martial feat.

12. While they were thus playing, the foremost of Asuras, by name Pralamba, came there with a view to kill them and began to find out their weak points.

13. Assuming the form of a cow-herd and adorned with wild flowers that Asura began to tempt the two brothers with his play and smiles.

14. Adopting a human form, although not born in the race of men that foremost of Danavas, fearlessly joined their company.

15. Considering him, who came there in the form of a milk-man, as their friend, those cow-herds began to play with that enemy of the immortals.

16. Searching their weak points Pralamba too, who had assumed the guise of a milk-man, cast his dreadful looks at Krishna and Rohini’s son.

17. Then considering Krishna of wonderful prowess as irrepressible he gave him up and made up his mind for destroying Baladeva.

18. O sinless one, at that time the Lord introduced a new of play of leaping in pairs. And all of them engaged in it.

19. Krishna jumped with another milk-boy by name Sridama and Sangkarshana with Pralamba, O sinless one.

20. The other milk-boys, of inferior strength, began to leap with great force in the company of their comrades.

21. Krishna defeated Sridama and Rohini’s son Pralamba and other boys were vanquished by those of Krishna’s party.

22-23. Thereupon carrying on their shoulders the victorious those, who were vanquished, came delightedly and quickly to the root of the Bhandiraka tree and soon reached their appointed quarter. And carrying on his shoulders Baladeva, the foremost of Danavas, Pralamba, began to proceed quickly in an opposite direction like a cloud with the moon.

24. Being unable to carry the weight of the intelligent son of Rohini that huge-bodied (demon) increased (his body) like a cloud attacked by Sakra.

25. Then that foremost of Danavas Pralamba displayed his own body huge as the Bhandiraka fig-tree and effulgent like a mountain of burnt collyrium.

26-27. Then that huge-faced and huge-necked dreadful demon, having eyes like unto the wheels of a car, a head adorned with a sun-like coronet of five layers and resembling Death himself, shone like a cloud attacked by the sun. The earth sank under the weight of his feet.

28-30. As Death carries away men sunk in the waves of the ocean, so the great demon Pralamba, the foremost of heroes, adorned with long garlands and other ornaments and clad in a long raiment, carried away quickly and stealthily Rohini’s son like a cloud surcharged with water. While thus carried away by him Sangkarshana shone there like the moon in the sky carried by dreadful clouds.

31. Beholding himself on the shoulders of the demon the dreadful Sangkarshana began to cherish suspicions in his mind and said to Krishna.

32. "O Krishna, I am being carried away by this Daitya huge like a mountain and clad in a coat of mail who has displayed a great illusion and assumed the form of a man. This wicked-minded Pralamba has grown exceedingly in pride and his power has doubled itself. How shall I vanquish him?" (33)

34. Krishna knew very well the character and strength of Rohini’s son and therefore smilingly and quietly said to him in joyous words:—"

35. O god, you are identical with the universe and art subtler than the subtle. You are merely showing the conduct of a man.

36-37. Do you meditate your own Narayana form at the time of the revolution of the worlds. Do you now know of your own true form and body (which you didst manifest at the time of the) union of the ancient Rishis, powerful on account of their own faculties, of the oceans, Brahma and water.

38. The sky is your head, the water is your form, the earth is your forgiveness, the fire is your mouth, the life of all the worlds is your breath, the air is your abode, and your mind is the creator all.

39. You are of thousand faces, thousand limbs, thousand feet, thousand eyes, thousand lotus-navels and thousand rays, and the slayer of your enemies.

40. The celestials behold what you didst display before. None can find out what had not been said by you before.

41. Whatever is capable of being known in this world you have made them all known. All the celestials do not know what you alone dost know.

42. The deities see your own natural etherial form and worship that artificial form of thine, begotten of your own self (which you didst assume in the golden age).

43. The gods can not see your end and therefore you dost pass by the appellation of Ananta.[2] You are alone subtle and beyond the comprehension of the subtle.

44. O god, you are the pillar of this universe. And stationed in you this world, the source of the origin of all creatures, is upholding all the regions.

45. My body extends over the four oceans[3] and you have instituted the division of the four Varnas.[4] You art the lord of the four Yugas[5] and the eater of the fruits of the four Hotras[6] .

46. Although we both are of one body, we have assumed two different forms for protecting the universe, mobile and immobile. As I am the Lord of the universe so you are.

47. I am the eternal Krishna and you are the ancient Sesha.[7] You are the ever-existent god Sesha of the world. The world is upheld by our body divided in twain.

48. I am identical with you and you are at one with me. Both of us are highly powerful and of one body.

49. What is the use, O God, of waiting like one having no sense? Do you strike forcibly, with your fist, firm as a thunder-bolt, the head of this Danava, the enemy of the celestials".

50-51. Vaishampayana said:—Hearing those words of Krishna and recollecting the ancient history the mighty-armed son of Rohini was filled with his own strength pervading the three worlds and with his well-formed fist resembling a thunder-bolt struck the wicked Pralamba on the head.

52. His head, shorn of its fore part, entered into the body of the Danava and he too, divested of his life, touched the ground with his knees.

53. Thereupon, with his body out-stretched on the ground Pralamba looked like a cloud scattered on the sky.

54. As streams of water, mixed with various minerals, come out of the summit of a mountain so blood came out of his body shorn of head.

55. Having thus slain Pralamba and withdrawn his own strength the powerful son of Rohini embraced Krishna.

56. Thereupon Krishna, along with the gods stationed in the sky and milkmen began to chant the glories of the highly powerful Baladeva with benedictory hymns bespeaking his victory.

57. In the sky was heard an invisible voice of the celestials declaring "This Daitya has been by force killed by a boy of unwearied actions".

58-59. Thus on that Daitya, irrepressible unto the deities, being slain, the celestials, stationed in the sky, gave him the name Baladeva after his action. Therefore all the worlds call him by the name of Baladeva.

Footnotes and references:


The word in the text literally means the bow of Indra. According to the Hindu mythology the rain-bow is supposed to be the bow of Indra who is the presiding deity of rain and showers.


Literally means one having no end. The God has no beginning or end.


According to the Hindu mythology the world is bounded by the four oceans on the four sides. This figuratively refers to the universal form of the God.


There are four principal Varnas or castes, the Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras. The Brahmanas are said to have sprung from the mouth of Brahma and belong to the sacerdotal class. The Kshatriyas, or the military caste, are said to have arisen from His arms. The Vaisyas or the trading class are said to have sprung from His thighs and the Sudra or the servile class from His feet. The earliest reference to the origin of caste is seen in a hymn of the Rig-Veda called Purusha Sukta. There are various other accounts seen in the various Puranas.


Yuga is an age of the world of which there are four namely, Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali.


An article intended as fit for offering with fire. Burnt offering, oblation with fire.


A name of Balaveda. It is also the name of the serpent-king, the thousand-headed snake who was the couch and canopy of Vishnu.

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