Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Shishupala 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 Śiśupāla

King of Cedi.

Previous birth.

Jaya and Vijaya, gate-keepers at Vaikuṇṭha were born thrice in asura womb as a result of the curse by munis like Sanaka. They were first born as Hiraṇyākṣa and Hiraṇyakaśipu, next as Rāvaṇa and Kumbhakarṇa and the third time as Śiśupāla and Dantavaktra. (See under Jayavijayas).


Śiśupāla was the son of King Damaghoṣa of Cedi by his wife, Śrutaśravas (Bhāgavata, 9th Skandha). He was born with three eyes and four hands, and at the time of birth he brayed like an ass, so the parents decided to abandon the ugly and awkward child. Immediately a Jin (ghost) appeared and told the father that the child would grow up to become very strong and powerful, and that only one person would be able to kill him and that person had already been born on earth. Further questioned by Śiśupāla’s mother, the Jin said that as soon as the son saw the person born to kill him, he would lose his third eye, and that if he was seated on the lap of the person, two out of his four hands would be lost. After having said this the Jin disappeared.

News about this peculiar child spread far and wide and many kings visited him. Damaghoṣa placed the child on the lap of each of them. But, no physical change occurred to him. Then one day Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Balabhadra came to see the child, whose mother Śrutaśravas (she was also the sister of Kṛṣṇa’s father) placed him on Kṛṣṇa’s lap. immediately two hands and the third eye of the child vanished, and with tears in her eyes the mother prayed Kṛṣṇa never to kill Śiśupāla, and Kṛṣṇa promised that he would forgive the crimes of Śiśupāla a hundred times. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 43).

Other information.

(i) Śiśupāla was present at the wedding of Draupadī. In his attempt to draw the bow he fell down on his knees. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 185, Verse 23).

(ii) He was present at the wedding of the daughter of the King of Kaliṅga also. (Śānti Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 6).

(iii) He was the Commander-in-Chief of the armies of Jarāsandha. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 14, Verse 10).

(iv) When Bhīma conquered all the kingdoms Śiśupāla honoured him. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 29, Verse 11).

(v) He too was present at the Rājasūya of Yudhiṣṭhira. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 234, Verse 14).

(vi) At the Rājasūya, Kṛṣṇa heaped insulting words on Siśupāla. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 37).

(vii) Śiśupāla objected to the selection of Kṛṣṇa as president of the Rājasūya and controversy followed it. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 39, Verse 11).

(viii) Śiśupāla insulted Bhīṣma at the Rājasūya. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 41).

(ix) Once in the absence of Kṛṣṇa Śiśupāla attacked Dvārakā. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 45 Verse 7).

(x) He stole the sacrificial horse of Vasudeva. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 9).

(xi) He abducted the wife of Babhru. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 10).

(xii) He abducted the daughter of his uncle, the King of Viśālā. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 11).

(xiii) Following the above he was killed in battle by Kṛṣṇa. (Chapter 45, Verse 25, Sabhā Parva).

(xiv) After death his effulgence got absorbed in Kṛṣṇa. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 26).

(xv) Kṛṣṇa once told Arjuna that he killed Śiśupāla for his (Arjuna's) good. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 181, Verse 21).

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