The Linga Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1951 | 265,005 words | ISBN-10: 812080340X | ISBN-13: 9788120803404

This page describes Shrikrishna, his birth and life (somavamsha-anukirtana) which is chapter 69 of the English translation of the Linga Purana, traditionally authored by Vyasa in roughly 11,000 Sanskrit verses. It deals with Shaiva pilosophy, the Linga (symbol of Shiva), Cosmology, Yugas, Manvantaras, Creation theories, mythology, Astronomy, Yoga, Geography, Sacred pilgrimage guides (i.e., Tirthas) and Ethics. The Lingapurana is an important text in Shaivism but also contains stories on Vishnu and Brahma.

Chapter 69 - Śrīkṛṣṇa, his birth and life (somavaṃśa-anukīrtana)

Sūta said:

1-2. Sāttvata endowed with the sattva guṇa begot four sons: Bhajana the brilliant, the divine king Devāvṛdha, Andhaka the highly blessed one and Vṛṣṇi the delighter of all the descendants of Yadu. Hear in detail the families of these four.

3. Ayutāyus, Śatāyus and the powerful Harṣakṛt were born to Sṛñjayī and Bhajana the brilliant.

4. Among the four sons of Sāttvata, king Devāvṛdha performed a great penance desiring, “I shall have a son endowed with good qualities.”

5. It is heard that those who are conversant with the mythology of the race of Anu sing that his son was known as Babhru. He was an excellent king of meritorious renown.

6. Noble men glorify the qualities of Devāvṛdha the great soul. Just as we hear about them from far we see them from near.

7-9. Babhru is the best among men and Devāvṛdha was equal to Devas. Fourteen thousand and sixty-five persons had attained immortality, thanks to Babhru and Devāvṛdha. He performed sacrifices. He was charitably inclined. He was a hero favourably disposed towards brahmins. He was steady in holy rites. He was famous. He had great splendour. Among the Sāttvatas he was a great hero. It was in his family that the Bhojas equal to Devas were born.

10. Gāndhārī and Mādrī were the wives of Vṛṣṇi. Gāndhārī gave birth to Sumitra and Mitranandana.

11. Mādrī obtained from him the son Devamīḍhuṣa at first and then two excellent heroes Anamitra and Śini.

12. Anamitra’s son was Nighna. Nighna had two sons the highly blessed Prasena and Satrājit.

13. The sun was an intimate friend of Satrājit. He gave him the jewel Syamantaka.[1]

14-16. This jewel was the best among all the jewels in the world. Once he went for hunting along with Prasena. He was killed there by a terrible lion as he was helpless. From Śini the youngest son of Vṛṣṇi a son Satyaka was born. He was faithful in words and was richly endowed with truthfulness. His son was the valorous Yuyudhāna, the grandson of Śini.

17. Asaṅga was the son of Yuyudhāna. Kuṇi was his son. The son of Kuṇi was Yugandhara. Thus the descendants of Śini (Śaineyas) have been described.

18. A son was born to Yudhājit the son of Vṛṣṇi and Mādri. He was known as Śvaphalka. He was the benefactor of the three worlds.

19. Wherever the pious king Śvaphalka was present, there was no fear of either ailment or of drought.

20. Śvaphalka took as his wife, Gāndinī the daughter of the king of Kāśī, who gave him his daughter.

21-24. For many years she remained in the womb of her mother without being born. The father spoke to her even as she was within the womb. “Be born, quickly. Welfare unto thee. Why dost thou tarry.” Then the girl Gāndinī stationed within the womb replied to him—“O father, everyday you must give a cow to a brahmin. If you give thus for three years I will come out of the womb of my mother.”

The father said, “So be it” and he fulfilled her desire. Her son from Śvaphalka is said to be Akrūra. He was charitable, heroic, a performer of sacrifices, learned, and fond of guests. During sacrifices he distributed wealth as gift.

25-29. Akrūra married Ratnā the daughter of Śaiva. He begot of her Upamanyu, Māṅgu, Vṛta, Janamejaya, Girirakṣa, Upekṣa, Śatrughna, Arimardana, Dharmabhṛt, Vṛṣṭadharmā, Godhana, Vara, Āvāha and Prativāha. He had also an excellent daughter Sudhārā. Two sons who delighted the family were born of Ugrasenī (daughter of Ugrasena) to Akrūra, They were Devavān and Upadeva equal to Devas.

The renowned Citraka was born as the son of Sumitra.

30-31. The following were the sons of Citraka—Vipṛthu, Pṛthu, Aśvagrīva. Subāhu, Sudhāsūka, Gavekṣaṇa, Ariṣṭanemi, Aśva, Dharma, Adharmabhṛt, Subhūmi and Bahubhūmi. He had two daughters Śraviṣṭhā and Śravaṇā.

32. To Andhaka the daughter of the king of Kāśī bore four sons viz:—Kukura, Bhajamāna, Śuci and Kambalabarhis.

33. Vṛṣṇi was the son of Kukura. Śūra was the son of Vṛṣṇi. The highly powerful Kapotaromā was his son and his son was Vilomaka.

34. He had a scholarly son Nala who was a comrade of Tumburu. He is known by the name Candanānaka Dundubhi.

35. From him was born the son Abhijit. His son was Punarvasu. That king performed a horse sacrifice for obtaining a son,

36. In the course of that sacrifice when Atirātra mantras were being chanted in the middle of the assembly of priests the child Punarvasu was born. Later on he became a scholar, omniscient, charitable and a performer of sacrifices.

37. Twins were born to Abhijit also. They were well known as Āhuka and Āhukī. They were the best among renowned people.

38. Two sons were born to the daughter of the king of Kāśī and Āhuka:—viz. Devaka and Ugrasena. Both of them were equal to the sons of Devas.

39. Childern equal to Devas were born to Devaka. They were Devavān, Upadeva, Sudeva and Devarakṣita.

40-41. They had seven, sisters. The king gave them to Vasudeva. They were Vṛṣadevā, Upadevā, Devarakṣitā, Śrīdevā, Śāntidevā, Sahadevā and Devakī of slender waist and the best among them.

42. Ugrasena had nine sons. Kaṃsa was the eldest among them. Their sons and grandsons were hundreds and thousands.

43. The daughter of Devaka and the wife of Vasudeva was worthy of being honoured and worshipped even by Devas.

44. The other two wives of Ānakadundubhi, (Vasudeva) viz. the blessed Rohiṇī and Pauravī the daughter of Bāhlika were also worthy of being worshipped by Devas.

45. Rohiṇī gave birth to Rāma who wielded the ploughshare as his weapon and had great strength. Due to the fear of Kaṃsa he had resorted to his own tranquil self.

46. After the six innocent children had been killed, and after Balarāma had been born. the intelligent Vasudeva, begot Kṛṣṇa of Devakī.

47. He alone is the supreme soul. He is Viṣṇu the lord of Devas. Balarāma was the lord Śeṣa with silver lustre.

48. Under the pretext of the curse of Bhṛgu, Viṣṇu agreed to take a human body and was born of Devakī as the son. of Vasudeva.

49. At the same time the Yogic slumber Kauśikī originating from the body of Umā became the daughter of Yaśodā at the behest of the lord of Devas.

50. She alone is the Prakṛti bowed to by all Devas. Lord Kṛṣṇa is Puruṣa the bestower of the fruit of virtue and salvation.

51-52. Saving his own son from Kaṃsa, Vasudeva took the daughter of Yaśodā and instead gave her his own fourarmed, wide-eyed son who was marked by the scar Śrīvatsa and who held the conch, discus, iron club and lotus.

53. After giving to Nanda (the husband of Yaśodā) his son Viṣṇu the protector of the worlds who had taken up a physical form out of his own will, he said to Nanda—“May he be protected.”

54-55. It was due to the grace of Śiva the lord of Devas of immense splendour that Viṣṇu assumed the physical body. Along with Rāma he handed over the lord the bestower of boons, the great Īśvara, the preceptor of the universe, who had incarnated for dispelling the burden of the earth, saying “Hereby the Yādavas will attain all auspicious results. This child of Devakī will remove all our distresses.”

56-59. Ānakadundubhi then intimated to Kaṃsa the son of Ugrasena that a daughter endowed with good signs had been born. There had been an aerial announcement—“O Kaṃsa of good holy rites the eighth child of Devakī will no doubt be the cause of your death.” Hence, Kaṃsa attempted to kill the child. But that child (of Nanda) the goddess of eight arms slipped from his hands and crossed to the sky. She said in a voice as majestic as the rumbling sound of the cloud. “Save your own skin. Your death has come.

60. O foolish Kaṃsa, even as you were guarding your own body you have committed sins. Indeed your destroyer is already born.”

61. It is said that due to his fear of Devakī, Kaṃsa killed the eighth child. But the eighth son. of Devakī was really the cause of his death.

62. O leading sages, all attempts of Bhoja to take revenge on. him became futile due to Kṛṣṇa’s power. Moreover he was rendered insentient by the Māyā Kauśikī.

63. Thus Kaṃsa was killed by Kṛṣṇa of unimpeded activity. Many other destroyers of Devas and brahmins too were killed.

64. Kṛṣṇa’s sons Pradyumna and others have already been enumerated. They were many and all of them were experts in battle.

65-69. Kṛṣṇa’s sons were equal to Kṛṣṇa. Among all these sons Cārudeṣṇa and his brothers are of special importance. They were the sons of Rukmiṇī. They were the destroyers of their enemies. Kṛṣṇa had sixteen thousand and one hundred wives. The most beloved and the eldest of them all was Rukmiṇī.

Lord Śiva was worshipped for twelve years by her and Kṛṣṇa of unimpaired activity, for the sake of sons, living only on air (all those years).

By the grace of the trident-bearing lord the following sons were born to Kṛṣṇa viz:—Cārudeṣṇa, Sucāru, Cāruveṣa, Yaśodhara, Cāruśravas, Cāruyaśas, Pradyumna and Sāmba.

70. On seeing those heroic sons of Rukmiṇī as well as Rukmiṇī, Jāmbavatī the wife of Kṛṣṇa once spoke to him thus.

71. O lotus-eyed one, it behoves you, if you are delighted, to give me a son equal to Devas, a son endowed with superior qualities.

72. On hearing the words of Jāmbavatī, Kṛṣṇa the lord of the universe and a real storehouse of penance began to perform penance.

73-75. Kṛṣṇa Nārāyaṇa, the wielder of the conch, discus and iron club, went to the excellent hermitage of the sage Vyāghrapāda. After bowing to the sage, Kṛṣṇa obtained the divine Pāśupata Yoga. At his behest he shaved off the beard, moustache and the hair on the head, applied ghee all over the body and wore the girdle of the Muñja grass. Thus initiated, lord Kṛṣṇa the scorcher of foes performed a great penance.

76. He performed the penance in various poses. He stood with arms raised up and without support, he stood on the tips of his toes. He spent three seasons sustaining himself on fruits, water and air.

77. Satisfied with his penance, lord Śiva granted him boons. He gave Sāmba the son of Jāmbavatī to Kṛṣṇa the noble soul.

78. On getting the son Sāmba from Kṛṣṇa, his wife Jāmbavatī became highly delighted in the same way as Aditi when she obtained Āditya.

79. O leading sages, by the curse[2] of Lord Śiva the thousand hands of Bāṇa were cut off by Kṛṣṇa.

80. Then with Balarāma to assist him he carried out the destruction of Daityas. He sportively killed several wicked kings in the battlefield.

81. He killed the leading Daitya Naraka born of Devas, thanks to a boon granted by the noble brahmin Ūrdhvacakra.[3]

82. The excessively strong one, of unequalled exploit, Kṛṣṇa took up sixteen thousand one hundred girls for his own pleasure.

Under the pretext of a curse from the brahmins he destroyed the family of Vṛṣṇis. After that he, the lord, remained in Prabhāsa.[4]

84-85. More than hundred years elapsed thus even as Kṛṣṇa ruled over Dvārakā[5] removing the distress due to old age. He acceded to the curses of Viśvāmitra, Kaṇva and Nārada,[6] as also the words of Durvāsas (and stayed) in Piṇḍāraka.[7]

86. Kṛṣṇa abandoned the human form under the pretext of the arrow of the hunter Jaraka, and after blessing that hunter he returned to heaven.

87. Due to the curse of Aṣṭāvakra[8] as also due to his own Māyā (power) the wives of lord Kṛṣṇa were abducted by thieves.

88-91. Balarāma abandoned his human form and assuming that of Śeṣa went to his heavenly abode. The auspicious queens of Kṛṣṇa—Rukmiṇī and others—entered fire along with the body of their lord. O brahmins, the gentle lady Revatī too entered the pyre along with her husband Balarāma and followed his path. The extremely powerful Arjuna performed the obsequies of Kṛṣṇa, Rāma and also of other Vṛṣṇis. O men of good holy rites, with bulbous roots, fruits and roots he performed the rites of oblation, for want of wealth.

92-94. Then Arjuna too went to heaven together with his brothers. Thus, the exploits and end of the noble Kṛṣṇa of unimpaired activity, who adopted human form out of his own free will, has been succinctly mentioned to you. O brahmins, he who reads this narrative of the kings of lunar race or listens to it or narrates it to others undoubtedly goes to the world of Viṣṇu.

Footnotes and references:


Syamantaka. See H.M. p. 167.


Rudrasya śāpāt—Sāmba, son of Śrīkṛṣṇa, cut off a thousand arms of Bāṇa. For a slightly different version, see H.M. p.42.


It refers to the legend narrated in Harivaṃśa:—[satyaṃ bata purā vāyurihāsmānvākyamabravīt | sarvabhūtarutajñaśca devarṣirapi nāradaḥ || viṣṇurnārāyaṇo devaḥ śaṅkhacakragadāsibhṛt | sa bhaumaṃ narakaṃ hatvā bhartā ca bhavitā śucā ||]


Prabhāsa—it is a celebrated place of pilgrimage in Saurāsṭṛa the southern part of Kathiawar.


Dvārakā—a city near Okha in Kathiawar.


For detail, Bhāga.—[janayiṣyati vo mandā musalaṃ kulanāśanam]—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.


Piṇḍāraka—a sacred bathing pond, somewhere in the country of the Yādavas, not identifiable.


The curse of Aṣṭāvakra. Cf.—[yasmādvirūparūpaṃ māṃ matvā hāsāvamānanā | bhavatībhiḥ kṛtā tasmādeṣaṃ śāpaṃ dadāmyaham || matprasādena bhartāraṃ labdhvā tu puruṣottamam | macchāpopahatāḥ sarvā dasyuhastaṃ gamiṣyatha ||]—Viṣṇu cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.

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