Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Kripa included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Kṛpa



Descended from Viṣṇu thus: Brahmā-AtriCandraBudhaPurūravasĀyusNahuṣaYayātiPuruJanamejaya—Prācinvān—PravīraNamasyu—Vītabhaya—Śuṇḍu—BahuvidhaSaṃyāti—Rahovādī—RaudrāśvaMatināra—Santurodha—DuṣyantaBharata—Suhotā—Gala—Garda—Suketu—Bṛhatkṣetra—HastiAjamīḍhaNīlaŚāntiSuśāntiPurujaArka—Bhavyāśva—PāñcālaMudgala. A daughter called Ahalyā was born to Mudgala. Maharṣi Gautama married her. To Gautama was born Śatānanda, to him Satyadhṛti, to him Śaradvān and to Śaradvān was born Kṛpācārya. The Purāṇas refer to the generation preceding Gautama only in the maternal line. It is said in verse 2, Chapter 130 of the Ādi Parva, that Śaradvān was the son of Gautama. According to Agni Purāṇa, Bhāgavata etc. Śaradvān, father of Kṛpa was the son of the great-grand son of Gautama and grandson of Śatānanda. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 278).

Birth of Kṛpa.

Though born in a family of Sages Śaradvān evinced more interest in Dhanurveda. He performed penance in the forest, with bow and arrows deposited by his side. As his penance gathered intensity the Devas got alarmed. To break his penance Indra deputed the Devatā called Jānapadī to the earth and she appeared before Śaradvān and danced, dressed only in one piece of cloth. Emission occurred to him. But, wisdom dawned on him immediately and leaving behind him the bow, arrows and deer skin he quitted the place.

The semen discharged by him fell on the arrow which broke into two giving birth to a male child and a female one.

Kṛpa in the Palace.

One of the attendants of King Śantanu, who had come to the forest to hunt, saw the children and took them to the King. The King felt Kṛpā (pity) for them and brought them up in the palace and as they were thus brought up due to his Kṛpā they came to be called Kṛpa and Kṛpī. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 130).

Kṛpa’s mastery of Dhanurveda.

While living in the forest engaged in penance Śaradvān, with his divine power understood that the two children forsaken by him were growing up in the palace. He went to the palace and told the king details about the children. He also lived there in secret and taught Kṛpa everything contained in the four branches of Dhanurveda and the various usages in archery. Gradually Kṛpa became an ācārya (master) in Dhanurveda. Not only the Pāṇḍavas the Kauravas, the Yādavas and the Vṛṣṇis but also kings, who came from various regions of the country learned archery at the feet of Kṛpa. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 130, Verse 23).

Kṛpa at the trial of skill in archery of the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas.

When the training of the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas in archery was over a test was arranged for them. Spectators crowded to see it. Droṇa, Kṛpa, Somadatta, Bālhīka, Bhīṣma and Vidura and other great ones took their seats in the stadium. Arjuna and Karṇa entered the arena for contest when Kṛpa intervened and said that Arjuna was the youngest son of Kuntī but Karṇa should specify his parentage. At this Karṇa stood stunned, and it was then that Duryodhana declared Karṇa to be the King of Aṅga. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 136).

Activities of Kṛpa upto the great war.

(i) He attended the Rājasūya yajña of Yudhiṣṭhira. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 34, Verse 8).

There he acted as the custodian of money and distributed dakṣiṇās (monetary presents). (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 35, Verse 7).

(ii) It was he who instructed the spies deputed by Duryodhana as to how to detect the Pāṇḍavas during their life incognito. (Virāṭa Parva, Chapter 29). He also detailed to Duryodhana the various aspects of politics.

(iii) Kṛpa once told Duryodhana that he was powerful enough to annihilate the Pāṇḍava army within two months. (Virāṭa Parva, Chapter 193).

Kṛpa in the war.

(i) On the first day of the war he fought with Bṛhatkṣetra. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 45).

(ii) In the fight with Cekitāna he fell down and fainted. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 84, Verse 31).

(iii) He wounded Sātyaki. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 101, Verse 40).

(iv) Fought a duel with Sahadeva. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 110, Verse 12).

(v) He fought with Arjuna and Bhīma. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 113, Verse 114).

(vi) Fought with Dhṛṣṭaketu. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 14, Verse 33).

(vii) Fought with Vārdhakṣemi. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 25, Verse 41).

(viii) His flag floated in the air and could be seen from anywhere in the battlefield. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 105).

(ix) He killed the body-guards of Abhimanyu. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 42, Verse 38).

(x) Fighting with Arjuna he fainted and fell down. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 147 Verse 9).

(xi) During the fight he ridiculed Karṇa. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 158, Verse 13).

(xii) He advised Aśvatthāmā to prevent Duryodhana from confronting Arjuna. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 150, Verse 77).

(xiii) In the battle that ensued he defeated Śikhaṇḍī. (Droṇa Parva Chapter 169, Verse 39).

(xiv) When Droṇa fell down dead he fled from the battle-field. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 193, Verse 12).

(xv) He was defeated by Sātyaki. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 20 Verse 53).

(xvi) He killed Suketu, son of Citraketu. (Karṇa Parva, Chapter 54, Verse 28).

(xvii) Defeated Yudhāmanyu. (Karṇa Parva, Chapter 61, Verse 55).

(xviii) He killed the Kalinda prince. (Karṇa Parva, Chapter 85, Verse 6).

(xix) He advised Karṇa to enter into a compromise with the Pāṇḍavas. (Śalya Parva, Chapter 4).

(xx) He ran away from the battlefield to Dvaipāyana lake (Śalya Parva, Chapter 30, Verse 9).

(xxi) Yudhiṣṭhira came to the lake with an army and Kṛpa ran away from there. (Śalya Parva, Chapter 30, Verse 60).

(xxii) He appointed Aśvatthāmā chief of the army on the suggestion of Duryodhana. (Śalya Parva, Chapter 65, Verse 43).

(xxiii) He fought during the night along with Aśvatthāmā. (Sauptika Parva, Chapter 5, Verse 35).

(xxiv) He killed the soldiers who ran away from the Pāṇḍava camp. (Sauptika Parva, Chapter 8, Verse 106).

(xxv) He set fire to the camp of the Pāṇḍavas. (Sauptika Parva, Chapter 8, Verse 109).

(xxvi) He cried at the pitiable condition of Duryodhana. (Sauptika Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 10).

(xxvii) He went to Hastināpura after telling Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Gāndhārī that both the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas would be ruined. (Strī Parva, Chapter 11, Verse 21).

End of Kṛpa.

The great war ended. Duryodhana and others were killed and, when Dhṛtarāṣṭra left for the forest with Gāndhārī, Kṛpa desired to accompany them. But, Dhṛtarāṣṭra did not permit it. Yudhiṣṭhira, as advised by Dhṛtarāṣṭra, put up Kṛpa with him. (Āśramavāsika Parva, Chapter 16, Verse 5). Before the Pāṇḍavas set out on their great journey Yudhiṣṭhira appointed Kṛpa as the preceptor of Parīkṣit, the son of Arjuna. (Mahāprasthāna Parva, Chapter 1, Verse 4).

During his last days Kṛpa went into the forest for penance and there he breathed his last. (Śānti Parva, Chapter 296, Verse 14).

Synonyms for Kṛpa.

Ācārya, Ācāryasattama, Bharatācārya. Brahmarṣi, Śāradvata, Śāradvataputra, Gautama, Kṛpa.

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