Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 4 - Chapter 11

Chapter XI

The Yādava race, or descendants of Yadu. Kārtavīrya obtains a boon from Dattātreya: takes Rāvaṇa prisoner: is killed by Paraśurāma: his descendants.

I WILL first relate to you the family of Yadu, the eldest son of Yayāti, in which the eternal immutable Viṣṇu descended upon earth in a portion of his essence:

of which the glory cannot be described, though forever hymned in order to confer the fruit of all their wishes--whether they desired virtue, wealth, pleasure, or liberation—

upon all created beings, upon men, saints, heavenly quiristers, spirits of evil, nymphs, centaurs, serpents, birds, demons, gods, sages, Brahmans, and ascetics.

Whoever hears the account of the race of Yadu shall be released from all sin; for the supreme spirit that is without form and which is called Viṣṇu, was manifested in this family.

Yadu had four sons, Sahasrajit, Kroṣṭi, Nala, and Raghu.

Śatajit was the son of the elder of these, and he had three sons, Haihaya, Veṇu, and Haya.

The son of Haihaya was Dharmanetra; his son was Kuntī; his son was Sāhanji; his son was Mahishmat; his son was Bhadrasena; his son was Durdama;

his son was Dhanaka, who had four sons, Kritavīrya, Kritāgni, Kritavarman, and Kritaujas. Kritavīrya’s son was Arjuna, the sovereign of the seven Dvīpas, the lord of a thousand arms.

This prince propitiated the sage Dattātreya, the descendant of Atri, who was a portion of Viṣṇu, and solicited and obtained from him these boons—

a thousand arms; never acting unjustly; subjugation of the world by justice, and protecting it equitably; victory over his enemies; and death by the hands of a person renowned in the three regions of the universe.

With these means he ruled over the whole earth with might and justice, and offered ten thousand sacrifices. Of him this verse is still recited:

"The kings of the earth will assuredly never pursue his steps in sacrifice, in munificence, in devotion, in courtesy, and in self-control."

In his reign nothing was lost or injured; and so he governed the whole earth with undiminished health, prosperity, power, and might, for eighty five thousand years.

Whilst sporting in the waters of the Narmadā, and elevated with wine, Rāvaṇa came on his tour of triumph to the city Māhīṣmatī,

and there he who boasted of overthrowing the gods, the Daityas, the Gandharvas and their king, was taken prisoner by Kārtavīrya, and confined like a tame beast in a corner of his capital.

At the expiration of his long reign Kārtavīrya was killed by Paraśurāma, who was an embodied portion of the mighty Nārāyaṇa.

Of the hundred sons of this king, the five principal were Śūra, Śūrasena, Vṛṣaṇa, Madhu, and Jayadhwaja.

 The son of the last was Tālajangha, who had a hundred sons, called after him Tālajanghas: the eldest of these was Vītihotra; another was Bharata, who had two sons, Vṛṣa and Sujātī.

The son of Vṛṣa was Madhu; he had a hundred sons, the chief of whom was Vṛṣṇi, and from him the family obtained the name of Vṛṣṇi.

From the name of their father, Madhu, they were also called Mādhavas; whilst from the denomination of their common ancestor Yadu, the whole were termed Yādavas.