The Vishnu Purana (abridged)

27,616 words

The Vishnu Purana (Viṣṇu Purāṇa) is a religious Hindu text and one of the (most important) eighteen Mahapuranas. It is also known as Puranaratna ("gem of Puranas"). Presented as a dialogue between Parashara and his disciple Maitreya, the major topics discussed include creation, stories of battles fought between asuras and devas, the Avat...


There was a brahmana named Gargya who had been insulted and ridiculed by the Yadavas. This brahmana went to the shores of the southern ocean and began to perform tapasya. His desire was a son who would be the scourge of the Yadavas. As part of the tapasya, he ate only iron dust for food. The tapasya went on for twelve years and at the end of it, Mahadeva was pleased. The brahmana obtained the desired boon.

The son who was born was black of hue. The king of the Yavanas had no son and the brahmana’s son was adopted by the Yavana king. Eventually, this son became the king of the Yavanas and came to be known as Kalayavana.

Kalayavana wanted to know the names of all the powerful on the earth from Narada. He was told the names of the Yadava kings. So he decided to attack the Yadavas. He collected thousands and thousands of chariots, horses, elephants and infantry. Then he came to Mathura to wage war.

Krishna was worried. He realized that the Yadavas would become weakened from their war with Kalayavana. And if Jarasandha’s attack came after that, the Yadavas might even lose at the hands of Jarasandha. On the other hand, if the Yadavas became weak from a war with Jarasandha, they might lose the war with Kalayavana. There was danger from both sides. It was, therefore, necessary to build a strong fort from where the Yadavas could wage a long drawn out war, even in the absence of Krishna. On the shores of the ocean Krishna, therefore, built the city of Dvaraka. There were many gardens and lakes in Dvaraka. But more importantly, it was surrounded by walls and moats on all sides and there were several forts inside the city. All the citizens of Mathura were brought to Dvaraka.

Krishna then appeared before Kalayavana. At the sight of Krishna, Kalayavana began to follow him, desirous of a fight. Krishna had a plan. He went inside the cave where a powerful king known as Muchukunda was sleeping. Kalayavana followed Krishna inside the cave. It was dark inside so that Kayavana could not make out that the person who was sleeping was Muchukunda and not Krishna. So, thinking that it was Krishna, Kalayavana kicked the body. When the king woke up, the anger in him came out as fire through his eyes and this fire burnt up Kalayavana into ashes.

Many years ago, King Muchukunda had taken part in a fight between the devas and the asuras. After killing many asuras Muchukunda was tired. He craved a boon from the gods that he might sleep for a long period of time. The devas granted the boon and also said that whoever woke up Muchukunda would be burnt into ashes by the flames that would come out of the king’s body.

Having burnt up Kalayavana King Muchukunda came out of the cave and found that people were now much shorter than they used to be . He realized that the kali era must have arrived and went off to do tapasya on Mount Gandhamadana.

Kalayavana’s soldiers were defeated by Krishna.

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