The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 780,972 words | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes Krishna and Balarama escape to Dvaraka which is chapter 52 of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the fifty-second chapter of the Tenth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 52 - Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma escape to Dvārakā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

[Full title: Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma escape to Dvārakā—Balarāma’s marriage—Rukmiṇī’s Letter to Kṛṣṇa]

Śrī Śuka continued:

1. In this way, blessed by Kṛṣṇa, Mucukunḍa, the descendant of Ikṣvāku, circumambulated by the right Lord Kṛṣṇa, bowed to him and came out of the cave.

2. He noticed the dimunition of stature and form in men, beasts, creepers and trees and concluding that the Kali Age[1] had set in, he went to the northerly direction.

3. Endowed with faith and penance, free from attachment and cleared of doubts, the wise king concentrated his mind on Kṛṣṇa and entered the mount Gandhamādana[2].

4. He arrived at Badarikāśrama[3], the abode of Nara and Nārāyaṇa. Undergoing conflicting pairs of conditions (such as heat and cold, pleasure and pain) with tranquillity of mind, he propitiated Lord Hari with his austerities.

5. The Lord again returned to the city of Mathurā which was still besieged by the Yavana army. He annihilated the Yavana army and carried of their wealth as spoils to Dvārakā.

6. While the wealth was being transported on the backs of men and oxen under the direction of the Imperishable Lord, Jarāsandha, commanding an army of twenty-three akṣauhiṇīs arrived on the scene.

[After this verse Padaratnāvalī’s text reads:]

6.1. Thereupon king Jarāsandha, fierce like the universal fire at the end of the world, deployed his forces consisting of divisions of chariots, elephants, horsemen and foot-soldiers in crocodile-like formation within the wink of the eye and he surrounded Lord Kṛṣṇa in the midst of that formation.

6.2. Grasping the situation the ferocious Kṛṣṇa hastily uprooted a tree and struck down with it the elephants, chariots and horses in that battle.

6.3. Thus knocked down by Kṛṣṇa with the tree, elephants in the hostile army fell down dead on the ground like mountains struck down by Indra with his Vajra (Thunder-bolt).

6.4. There was left no trace of the chariots along with the occupants of the chariots, of the horses along with their riders, as if they were reduced to powder (in a grinding mill), Oh best among the Kurus.

6.5. Being infuriated, Balarāma knocked down with blows of his fist, intoxicated elephants, on the battle field, just as Indra, the King of gods, does to mountains with his thunderbolt.

6.6. The chariots (of the enemies) which were shattered down with the blows of Balarāma’s fist, could not even be seen on the earth, Oh King, as they were reduced to powder like dry, withered leaves.

6.7. In the meanwhile, Jarāsandha noticed that all the wealth of the Yavana was being carried to Dvārakā and (pursuing it) and massacring the Yāḍavas escorting it), seized it all. He then returned to the scene of the battle to encounter Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, Oh scion of the Kuru race.

7. Observing the violent onrush of inimical forces, Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, the descendants of Madhu* adopted the human way of life and quickly began to run, Oh king.

[Padaratnāvalī’s Text adds here:] {after *}

7.1. Noticing Jarāsandha dashing towards them with his allied princes and their armies and themselves being showered with volleys of arrows like two cubs of elephants (kari-potakau) driven by heavy rainshower, and themselves were without any chariots, weapons, armours and soldiers.

8. Though really dauntless, they left the vast treasure (the spoils from the Yavana army) and simulating terrified cowards, they ran for many yojanas on foot, tender like lotuspetals.

9. Seeing both of them on the run, the powerful king of Magadhas laughed heartily and being ignorant of the deep designs and capacity of those two Lords pursued them with his army of chariots.

[Here Padaratnāvalī’s text adds:]

9.1. Striking back, the two warriors took rest at Karavīrapura at night. When the sun rose, the two heroes ascended the mount Gomanta.

9.2-3. Climbing up mount Gomanta which was inhabited by Siddhas, Cāraṇas, Gandharvas and Vidyādharas, Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa hastily ascended its peak known as Pravarṣaṇa as clouds always shower rains there. They happily lived there subsisting on fruits and roots, Oh king.

9.4. Feeling elated and happy, Jarāsandha also pursued the two Mādhava brothers (Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma) and laid siege to the Gomanta mountain, surrounding it with bis vast army.

9.5-7. He summoned his followers, the allied princes proud and irresistible in ṅght, such as (kings of) Kaliṅga, Kuñjarapati, the ruler of Śurāṣṭra (Kathiawar), Jayadratha the king of Sindhu (lower Sindh), Somadatta of the Kuru family, Śakuni the king of Gandhāra and Rukmi, the (crown) prince of Vidarbha, Sudakṣiṇa of Kāmboja and Virāṭa, the king of Matsyas. He commanded them to go up and nght from the east of Gomanta.

9.8-10. For scaling (and attacking) the mountain Gomanta from its southern side, Jarāsandha ordered the following kings—Drupada, the king of Pāñcālas, Damaghoṣa, the ruler of Cedis, Brahmadatta, king of Śālvas and Ekalavya, the chief of Niṣādas, Bāhlika, the foremost of Kurus and the unconquerable Yudhāmanyu, Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti and Pauṇḍraka, the king of Kāśi.

9.11-13. To Druma, the ruler of Kimpuruṣas, Dantavaktra and his younger brother, the heroic king of Videhas and Bhūriśravas, Bṛhaccāpa, the ruler of Karuṣas and Śatadhvaja of Daśārṇa, Śaibya, the king of Suvīra (or Sauvīra, upper Sindh and Southern Punjab) and the great chariot warrior Darada,—To these King Jarāsandha of immeasurable dignity and splendour, commanded to ascend expeditiously the mount Gomanta from the west.

9.14-15. Despatching as vanguards Suśarmā of Trigarta, the mighty Veṇudārin, the immensely powerful Kulinda, the chiefs of Kekayas, Śiśupāla and the invincible monarch Bhīṣmaka, he himself quickly scaled up the mount from the northern side.

9.16. Having thus climbed mount Gomanta abounding in fruitbearing trees of all seasons, they searched for Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma everywhere below the peak Pravarṣaṇa. Not finding Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, they deforested the mount cutting down all the trees.

10. Being completely exhausted by (the strain of) running fast to such a long distance, they, however, ascended the lofty mountain peak known as Pravarṣaṇa where Indra the god of rain, always sends forth showers.

11. Surmising that they must have concealed themselves somewhere on the mountain and not being able to locate their place of hiding, they (Jarāsandha’s men) set the whole mountain on fire on all sides with the fuel (the trees cut down by them during their search) strewn around.

12. Thereupon, both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma quickly (and with great velocity) leapt from the mountain peak which is eleven yojanas in height and had its sides burning, and descended on the plains below (beyond the army of Jarāsandha).

13. Without being noticed by enemy and his followers, those best sons of Yadu race returned to their capital Dvārakā which is surrounded by the sea as its moat, Oh king.

14. Falsely believing that Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa must have been burnt (in that fire), the king of Magaḍhas withdrew his vast army and returned to his kingdom of Magaḍha.

[After this adds Padaratnāvalī’s Text:]

14.1. Having vanquished Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, the foremost among the Yādavas in the eighteenth expedition, Jarāsandha had brought under his dominion all the directions (all kingdoms on the earthy and feeling proud of it, he lived in his own kingdom, Oh king.

14.2. The noble-souled Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma (the Mādhava brothers) entered the city of Dvārakā and lived happily in the company of their highly joyous relatives and were being praised day and night by bards and songsters like Sūta, Māgadha and Bandins.[4]

15. It has been already narrated to you by me (vide Supra 9.3.27-36), that Kakudmin, the son of Revata, the celebrated king of Anarta gave his daughter Revatī in marriage to Balarāma, as per direction of god Brahmā.

16. Lord Kṛṣṇa also married Rukmiṇī, the princess of Viḍarbha and the daughter of Bhīṣmaka and who was an aṃśa (part-manifestation) of goddess Śrī in a svayaṃvara (‘selfchoice’ type of marriage where the girl elects of her own free will, her husband).

17. Like Garuḍa, the son of Kaśyapa taking away the pitcher of nectar (defeating all the gods), Kṛṣṇa carried her away defeating instantly Śālva and other kings who were partisans and allies of Śiśupāla, the king of Cedis.

King Parīkṣit enquired:

18. It has been heard by us that the Lord married the beautiful looking Rukmiṇī, the princess of Bhīṣmaka as per rākṣasa form of marriage (wherein the girl is abducted per force in the teeth of opposition of relatives.)

19. I desire to hear the story of Lord Kṛṣṇa of boundless power and energy, who defeated Jarāsandha, Śālva and others and carried away the girl, Oh worshipful sage.

20. Oh Brāhmaṇa sage! The stories of Lord Kṛṣṇa are meritorious, sweet, ever-interesting, delightful and they wipe out the sins of the world. What person who knows the importance of listening to them, will be sated at hearing them.[5]

Śrī Śuka narrated:

21. There was a great king called Bhīṣmaka, a powerful monarch of the Vidarbhas. He had five sons and only one charming looking daughter.

22. The eldest son was Rukmi. After him was born Rukmabāhu and then Rukmakeśa, Rukmamālin and the pious Rukmiṇī was their sister.

23. Listening attentively to the glorification of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s beauty, prowess, excellent virtues and affluence as sung by the visitors to her palace, she regarded him as her worthy spouse.

24. Kṛṣṇa also made up his mind to marry her as he knew her to be a suitable wife due to her intelligence, auspicious characteristics, nobility of heart, beauty, high character and other excellences.

25. In spite of all brothers being desirous of giving their sister in marriage to Kṛṣṇa, Rukmi who hated Kṛṣṇa, came in the way of it and proposed Śiśupāla, the king of Cedis.

26. Grasping the situation, the beautiful princess of Vidarbha was deeply agitated at heart. She pondered over the problem and immediately despatched a trusted Brāhmaṇa to Kṛṣṇa with the mission of bringing him.

27. Arriving at Dvārakā, he was ushered into (Kṛṣṇa’s presence) by the door-attendants where he saw the First (the most ancient) Person (in the world) seated on a throne of gold.

28. Seeing him come, Lord Kṛṣṇa who was always friendly to Brāhmaṇas, got down from his throne. Offering a (respectable) seat to the Brāhmaṇa, he worshipped him (as an honourable guest) as gods used to treat him.

29. When he had taken his meals and rested comfortably, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the final asylum of the saintly people, approached him and massaging gently his feet with his hand, he quietly enquired of the Brāhmaṇa.

30. “Oh most prominent one among great Brāhmaṇas! Is your righteous course of conduct traditionally approved by the elders, going on without any difficulty? (I hope) you are (happy with it and) contented in your heart.

31. If a Brāhmaṇa adjusts himself in contentment, with whatever he gets by chance, but does not swerve from his course of righteousness, he is like a wish-yielding cow capable of granting blessings to all the world (or that righteous course of conduct serves as a wish-yielding cow to him)

32. Even Indra, the king of gods, if discontented, has to wander from one world to another restlessly.[6] But a destitute person, if contented, sleeps soundly without a touch of feverish anxiety to his body and mind.

33. I bow down again and again with my head to those Brāhmaṇas who are happy with the realization of their self[7], pious and the best friends and well-wishers of all beings, free from ego, serene and self complacent.

34. Are you all happy (with a feeling of security) under your ruler, Oh Brāhmaṇa? That king is liked by me in whose country the subjects protected by him lead a happy life.

35. Please tell me the place from which you have come here crossing this (unforḍable) sea and the object of seeing me. If it be no undivulgable secret, please tell us everything—what we should do for you?”

36. When such relevant queries were made courteously to the Brāhmaṇa by the Supreme Lord who had sportively assumed a human form, described to him in details (the situation which led princess Rukmiṇī to depute him to Lord Kṛṣṇa).

[Here Bhāgavata Candrikā’s Text adds: (also Padaratnāvalī)]

36.1. I have been deputed to your presence, on best of men, by princess Rukmiṇī. Please listen to her message and let her prayer (and proposal) be implemented immediately tbere-after.

36.2. Placing the letter (written by Rukmiṇī) at his feet, he bowed down to him. The Lord of the world, with beautiful smiling eyes, took it up. The Lord, Dharma incarnate, read it attentively as if he was eagerly desirous to read it.

Rukmiṇī said in her message:

37. Oh the most-beautiful Person in all the worlds! Having listened to your excellent qualities which enter into the heart through (the passage of) ears and remove all the feverishness of the body and the mind, and of your excellent charms ensuring all the cherished blessings to those who possess eyes, my heart sheds all bashfulness and enters in you, Oh Immortal Lord!

38. Oh Kṛṣṇa! Lion among men! What wise, judicious girl of very noble descent will not seek you as a husband at the proper time—you who are the most beautiful one among all men, and one’s own compeer in family, character, personal charm, knowledge, youthfulness, affluence and splendour.

[Padaratnāvalī’s Text adds:]

38.1. You are the glorious consort of goddess Lakṣmī, loved by Your devotees, the Supreme Controller cf the Universe who are resorted to for protection by helpless people and as such also by me. Taking this into account, be pleased to grant the prayer of mine who am a servant of your lotus-like feet. Oh dearest Lord I have submitted myself to your feet.

39. I have, therefore, chosen you as my lord indeed. Oh Lotus-eyed dear lord! I have submitted my self unto you. Please do take me as your wife. Like a jackal polluting by his touch the lion’s share of the prey, may not Śiśupāla, the king of Cedis come hastily and touch the hero’s share (i.e. myself).

40. If the Supreme Lord, the Almighty, has been properly propitiated by me by religious deeds such as digging wells, performing sacrifices, giving donations, observance of religious rules and vows and the worship of gods, Brāhmaṇas and preceptors and such other deeds, may Lord Kṛṣṇa, the elder brother of Gada, come and marry me so that others like the son of Damaghoṣa (Śiśupāla) may not take my hands.

41. Oh Invincible Lord! May you come secretly with an army and generals to Vidarbha at the time of marriage which is to be celebrated very shortly. Defeat the armies of Caidya and Jarāsandha, the king of Magadha, and take me away as the spoil of your prowess according to the Rākṣasa form of marriage.[8]

42. ‘How should I marry you who live in the precincts of the harem without putting your relatives to death?’ If this be the ground for hesitation, I shall suggest you an expedient. On the day preceding the marriage there is (in your family a traditional) procession to our family deity. In that, the bride to be wed goes openly to her deity.

[Padaratnāvalī adds here:]

42.1 Coming over there at that time with the four divisions of army such as chariots, elephants, cavalry and infantry, and having given a sound drubbing to kings of Śālva, Magadha, Cedi and others, may the: Lord of Lakṣmī take me along with my maids of honour from the temple to his own capital and have there a formal marriage celebration (lit. taking of hands).

43. Oh Lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa! In order to remove their personal ignorance, great-souled persons like god Śiva desire to have the dust on your lotus-like feet for covering their person as a bath. If I do not have this favour from you, I shall give up my life by starvation and other severe observance of vows so that at least after a hundred births I shall be favoured with your Grace.

[Padaratnāvalī’s Text]

Śrī Śuka said:

43.1 Pondering over all the contents of the letter as well as the oral message of the princess, Kṛṣṇa, the slayer of demon Madhu, looked at the Brāhmaṇa (to convey his message).

The Brāhmaṇa said:

44. Oh Lord of Yadus! These are the secret words of the message that I have bought for you. Please consider what is worth doing in this (exigency of the situation), and prompt action should be taken immediately after this.

Footnotes and references:


VT: Though the Kali age set in after Kṛṣṇa’s departure from this world, he guessed that the advent of the Kali Age was imminent.


A part of Rudra Himālayas in the Kailāsa range. According to Mbh. and Varāha P. Badarikāśrama is situated on this mountain.—GDAMI p. 6o.


Badrinath in Garhawal in U.P.


End of chapter 55th in Padaratnāvalī’s Text

For ch. 56 in Padaratnāvalī’s Text vide the Appendix.


Here Vrindāvana edition gives the additional chapters 56 and a part or 57. These are translated in the Appendix.


v.l. nāpnoti: Even though he is the lord of gods he does not attain to higher worlds but suffers—Bhāvāratha Dīpikā


Or: With what they get as a result of their destiny or karmas.


This form of marriage is recommended for Kṣatriyas.

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