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...

The End of the Yadavas

There was a place of pilgrimage known as Pindaraka. Some Yadava youths once met the sages Kanva, Vishvamitra and Narada there. The Yadava youths dressed Shamba up as a woman and brought him to the sages. “Sages,” they asked, “tell us whether this woman will have a son or a daughter.”

The sages saw through the game and were angered at the insult. “This person will give birth to a club,” they said. “And that club will destroy your clan.”

In due course a club came out of Shamba’s body. But learning of the curse, King Ugrasena pulverised the club and had the dust scattered in the ocean. But the dust got changed into sharp reeds that grew on the shores of the ocean.

A small part of the club could not be crushed. This was thrown into the ocean as it was, and a fish swallowed this piece. When the fish was caught, this piece of the club came out of the fish’s stomach and a hunter named Jara acquired the piece.

There was a place of pilgrimage known as Prabhasa and eventually the Yadavas went there. Only one Yadava named Uddhava went off to do tapasya on Mount Gandhamadana. In Prabhasa, the Yadavas began to drink and soon lost all control of their senses. They started to fight and picked up the reeds that were growning on the shores as weapons. Krishna did try to restrain them, but the Yadavas were in no mood to listen. Soon, Krishna and Daruka were the only Yadavas who were left alive.

Krishna and Daruka were wandering around and found Balarama seated under the tree. A huge snake came out of Balarama’s mouth and disappeared into the sea. This meant that Balarama died.

Krishna told Daruka, “Go and tell King Ugrasena all this. Soon I too will die. And soon the sea will swallow up the city of Dvaraka. Go and tell the Yadavas who are left in Dvaraka that they should wait for Arjuna’s arrival and that they should leave the city with Arjuna. And go and tell Arjuna to protect my people as best as he can. Vajra is to be made the king the Yadavas.”

Daruka paid his respects to Krishna and left.

Krishna sat down to meditate. The hunter named Jara arrived there. He had fashioned an arrow-head out of the piece of the club. Seeing Krishna’s feet, he thought that it was part of a deer and let loose an arrow. When he came up to see what happened, he found that his arrow had pierced the body of a man. He begged for forgiveness and Krishna assured him that Jara would go to heaven. In fact, a chariot immediately arrive to take Jara to heaven.

Krishna died. He was a hundred years old.

Arjuna found the dead bodies of Krishna, Balarama and other important Yadavas and performed their shraddha ceremonies. Krishna’s eight major wives died on Krishna’s funeral pyre. Revati did the same on Balarama’s . Urgasena, Rohini, Devaki and Vasudeva also entered a fire. The others left Dvaraka with Arjuna.

As soon as Krishna died, the parijata tree and the assembly hall named Sudharma returned to heaven. The kali era began. And the city of Dvaraka was swallowed up by the sea, with the exception of Krishna’s own dwelling.

Arjuna settled some of the Yadavas in the Punjab. But when he was taking the Yadava women with him, the party was set upon by a band of dacoits. Arjuna tried to repel the dacoits but found that he had lost all his powers. His strength had left him with Krishna’s death.

This is the end of the fifth section of the Vishnu Purana.

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