Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 5 - Chapter 37

Chapter XXXVII

Destruction of the Yādavas. Śāmba and others deceive and ridicule the Ṛṣis. The former bears an iron pestle: it is broken, and thrown into the sea. The Yādavas go to Prabhāsa by desire of Kṛṣṇa: they quarrel and fight, and all perish. The great serpent Śeṣa issues from the mouth of Rāma. Kṛṣṇa is shot by a hunter, and again becomes one with universal spirit.

IN this manner did Kṛṣṇa, assisted by Baladeva, destroy demons and iniquitous monarchs, for the good of the earth; and along with Phālguna also did he relieve earth of her load, by the death of innumerable hosts.

Having thus lightened the burdens of the earth, and slain many unrighteous princes, he exterminated, by the pretext of an imprecation denounced by Brahmans, his own Yādava race.

Then quitting Dvārakā, and relinquishing his mortal being, the self-born re-entered, with all his emanations, his own sphere of Viṣṇu.

MAITREYA: Tell me how Janārdana effected the destruction of his own race under the plea of Brāhmanic imprecation, and in what manner he relinquished his mortal body.


At the holy place Piṇḍāraka, Viśvāmitra, Kaṇwa, and the great sage Nārada, were observed by some boys of the Yadu tribe:

Giddy with youth, and influenced by predestined results, they dressed and adorned Śumbha, the son of Jāmbavatī, as a damsel, and conducting her to the sages, they addressed them with the usual marks of reverence, and said:

"What child will this female, the wife of Babhru, who is anxious to have a son, give birth to?"

The sages, who were possessed of divine wisdom, were very angry to find themselves thus tricked by the boys, and said:

"She will bring forth a club that shall crush the whole of the Yādava race."

The boys, thus spoken to by the sages, went and related all that had occurred to Ugrasena; and, as foretold, a club was produced from the belly of Śāmba.

Ugrasena had the club, which was of iron, ground to dust, and thrown into the sea; but the particles of dust there became rushes.

There was one part of the iron club which was like the blade of a lance, and which the Andhakas could not break:

this, when thrown into the sea, was swallowed by a fish; the fish was caught, the iron spike was extracted from its belly, and was taken by a hunter named Jarā.

The all-wise and glorious Madhusūdana did not think fit to counteract what had been predetermined by fate.

Then there came to Keśava, when he was private and alone, a messenger from the gods, who addressed him with reverence, and said:

"I am sent to you, O lord, by the deities, and do thou hear what Indra, together with the Viśvas, Maruts, Ādityas, Sādhyas, and Rudras, respectfully represents:

 More than a hundred years have elapsed since thou, in favour to the gods, hast descended upon earth, for the purpose of relieving it of its load.

The demons have been slain, and the burden of earth has been removed: now let the immortals once again behold their monarch in heaven.

A period exceeding a century has passed: now, if it be thy pleasure, return to Swarga: This is the solicitation of the celestials. But should such not be thy will, then remain here as long as it may be desirable to thy dependants."

To this Kṛṣṇa replied:

"All that thou hast said I am well aware of.

The destruction of the Yādavas by me has commenced. The burdens of the earth are not removed until the Yādavas are extirpated. I will accomplish this also in my descent, and quickly; for it shall come to pass in seven nights.

When I have restored the land of Dvārakā to the ocean, and annihilated the race of Yadu, I will proceed to the mansions of the immortals. Apprise the gods, that, having abandoned my human body, and accompanied by Sankarṣaṇa, I will then return to them.

The tyrants that oppressed the earth, Jarāsandha and the rest, have been killed; and a youth, even of the race of Yadu, is, no less than they, an encumbrance.

When therefore I have taken away this great weight upon earth, I will return to protect the sphere of the celestials. Say this to them."

The messenger of the gods, having received this reply, bowed, and took his heavenly course to the king of the gods.

The mighty Kṛṣṇa now beheld signs and portents both in earth and heaven, prognosticating, day and night, the ruin of Dvārakā.

Showing these to the Yādavas, he said:

"See; behold these fearful phenomena: let us hasten to Prabhāsa, to avert these omens."

When he had thus spoken to the eminent Yādava, the illustrious Uddhava saluted and said to him:

"Tell me, O lord, what it is proper that I should do, for it seems to me that thou wilt destroy all this race: the signs that are manifest declare nothing less than the annihilation of the tribe."

Then Kṛṣṇa replied to him:

"Do you go by a celestial route, which my favour shall provide you, to the holy place Badarikāśrama, in the Gandhamādana mountain, the shrine of Nara-Nārāyaṇa; and on that spot, sanctified by them, thou, by meditating on me, shalt obtain perfection through my favour.

When the race of Yadu shall have perished, I shall proceed to heaven; and the ocean shall inundate Dvārakā, when I have quitted it."

Accordingly Uddhava, thus instructed by Keśava, saluted him with veneration, and departed to the shrine of Nara-Nārāyaṇa.

Then the Yādavas ascended their rapid cars, and drove to Prabhāsa, along with Kṛṣṇa, Rāma, and the rest of their chiefs. They bathed there, and, excited by Vāsudeva, the Kukkuras and Andhakas indulged in liquor:

As they drank, the destructive flame of dissension was kindled amongst them by mutual collision, and fed with the fuel of abuse:

Infuriated by the divine influence, they fell upon one another with missile weapons, and when those were expended, they had recourse to the rushes growing nigh. The rushes in their hands became like thunderbolts, and they struck one another with them fatal blows.

Pradyumna, Śāmba, Kritavarman, Sātyaki, Aniruddha, Prithu, Viprithu, Chāruvarman, Chāruka, Akrūra, and many others, struck one another with the rushes, which had assumed the hardness of thunderbolts.

Keśava interposed to prevent them, but they thought that he was taking part with each severally, and continued the conflict.

Kṛṣṇa then enraged took up a handful of rushes to destroy them, and the rushes became a club of iron, and with this he slew many of the murderous Yādavas; whilst others, fighting fiercely, put an end to one another.

The chariot of the holder of the discus, named Jaitra, was quickly carried off by the swift steeds, and swept away by the sea, in the sight of Dāruka the charioteer.

The discus, the club, the bow, the quiver, the shell, and the sword of Keśava, having circumambulated their lord, flew along the path of the sun.

In a short time there was not a single Yādava left alive, except the mighty Kṛṣṇa and Dāruka.

Going towards Rāma, who was sitting at the root of a tree, they beheld a large serpent coming out of his mouth. Having issued from his mouth, the mighty snake proceeded towards the ocean, hymned by saints and by other great serpents.

Bringing an offering of respect, Ocean came to meet him; and then the majestic being, adored by attendant snakes, entered into the waters of the deep.

Beholding the departure of the spirit of Balabhadra, Keśava said to Dāruka:

"All this is to be related by you to Vāsudeva and Ugrasena:

Go and inform them of the departure of Balabhadra, and the destruction of the Yādavas; also that I shall engage in religious meditation, and quit this body.

Apprise Āhuka and all the inhabitants of Dvārakā, that the sea will inundate the town:

be ready therefore in expectation of the coming of Arjuna, and when he quits Dvārakā, no longer abide there, but go whithersoever that descendant of Kuru shall repair.

Do you also go to the son of Kunti, and tell him, that it is my request that he will grant what protection he can to all my family.

Then depart with Arjuna and all the people of Dvārāvatī, and let Vajra be installed sovereign over the tribe of Yadu."

Dāruka, being thus instructed, prostrated himself again and again before Kṛṣṇa, and walked round him repeatedly, and then departed as he had been desired; and having conducted Arjuna to Dvārāvatī, the intelligent servant of Kṛṣṇa established Vajra as king.

The divine Govinda then, having concentrated in himself that supreme spirit which is one with Vāsudeva, was identified with all beings.

Respecting the words of the Brahman, the imprecation of Durvāsas, the illustrious Kṛṣṇa sat engaged in thought, resting his foot upon his knee.

Then came there a hunter, named Jarā, whose arrow was tipped with a blade made of the piece of iron of the club, which had not been reduced to powder;

and beholding from a distance the foot of Kṛṣṇa, he mistook it for part of a deer, and shooting his arrow, lodged it in the sole.

Approaching his mark, he saw the four-armed king, and, falling at his feet, repeatedly besought his forgiveness, exclaiming:

"I have done this deed unwittingly, thinking I was aiming at a deer! Have pity upon me, who am consumed by my crime; for thou art able to consume me!"

Bhāgavat replied: "Fear not thou in the least. Go, hunter, through my favour, to heaven, the abode of the gods."

As soon as he had thus spoken, a celestial car appeared, and the hunter, ascending it, forthwith proceeded to heaven.

Then the illustrious Kṛṣṇa, having united himself with his own pure, spiritual, inexhaustible, inconceivable, unborn, undecaying, imperishable, and universal spirit, which is one with Vāsudeva, abandoned his mortal body and the condition of the threefold qualities.