Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 5 - Chapter 27

Chapter XXVII

Pradyumna stolen by Śambara; thrown into the sea, and swallowed by a fish; found by Māyā-devī: he kills Śambara, marries Māyā-devī, and returns with her to Dvārakā. Joy of Rukmiṇī and Kṛṣṇa.


How, Muni, happened it that the hero Pradyumna was carried away by Śambara? And in what manner was the mighty Śambara killed by Pradyumna?


When Pradyumna was but six days old, he was stolen from the lying-in chamber by Śambara, terrible as death; for the demon foreknew that Pradyumna, if he lived, would be his destroyer.

Taking away the boy, Śambara cast him into the ocean, swarming with monsters, into a whirlpool of roaring waves, the haunt of the huge creatures of the deep:

A large fish swallowed the child, but he died not, and was born anew from its belly: for that fish, with others, was caught by the fishermen, and delivered by them to the great Asura Śambara.

His wife Māyā-devī, the mistress of his household, superintended the work of the cooks, and saw, when the fish was cut open, a beautiful child, looking like a new shoot of the blighted tree of love.

Whilst wondering who this should be, and how he could have got into the belly of the fish, Nārada came to satisfy her curiosity, and said to the graceful dame:

"This is the son of him by whom the whole world is created and destroyed, the son of Viṣṇu, who was stolen by Śambara from the lying-in chamber, and tossed by him into the sea, where he was swallowed by the fish.

He is now in thy power; do thou, beautiful woman, tenderly rear this jewel of mankind."

Thus counselled by Nārada, Māyā-devī took charge of the boy, and carefully reared him from childhood, being fascinated by the beauty of his person.

Her affection became still more impassioned when he was decorated with the bloom of adolescence:

The gracefully-moving Māyāvatī then, fixing her heart and eyes upon the high-minded Pradyumna, gave him, whom she regarded as herself, all her magic (and illusive) powers.


Observing these marks of passionate affection, the son of Kṛṣṇa said to the lotus-eyed Māyā-devī: "Why do you indulge in feelings so unbecoming the character of a mother?"

To which she replied:

"Thou art not a son of mine; thou art the son of Viṣṇu, whom Kāla Śambara carried away, and threw into the sea: thou vast swallowed by a fish, but wast rescued by me from its belly. Thy fond mother, O beloved, is still weeping for thee."

When the valiant Pradyumna heard this, he was filled with wrath, and defied Śambara to battle. In the conflict that ensued, the son of Mādhava slew the whole host of Śambara:

Seven times he foiled the delusions of the enchanter, and making himself master of the eighth, turned it against Śambara, and killed him.

By the same faculty he ascended into the air, and proceeded to his father's house, where he alighted, along with Māyāvatī, in the inner apartments.

When the women beheld Pradyumna, they thought it was Kṛṣṇa himself.

Rukmiṇī, her eyes dimmed with tears, spoke tenderly to him, and said:

"Happy is she who has a son like this, in the bloom of youth. Such would be the age of my son Pradyumna, if he was alive.

Who is the fortunate mother adorned by thee? And yet from thy appearance, and from the affection I feel for thee, thou art assuredly the son of Hari."

At this moment Kṛṣṇa, accompanied by Nārada, arrived; and the latter said to the delighted Rukmiṇī:

"This is thine own son, who has come hither after killing Śambara, by whom, when an infant, he was stolen from the lying-in chamber. This is the virtuous Māyāvatī, his wife, and not the wife of Śambara. Hear the reason:

When Manmathā, the deity of love, had perished, the goddess of beauty, desirous to secure his revival, assumed a delusive form, and by her charms fascinated the demon Śambara, and exhibited herself to him in various illusory enjoyments.

This thy son is the descended Kāma; and this is the goddess Ratī, his wife. There is no occasion for any uncertainty: this is thy daughter-in-law."

Then Rukmiṇī was glad, and Keśava also; the whole city resounded with exclamations of joy, and all the people of Dvārakā were surprised at Rukmiṇī’s recovering a son who had so long been lost.