In my earlier series on the Varaha Avatar (read Part 1 here) I had alluded to the curse placed on the doorkeepers of Vaikunta, Jaya and Vijaya where they would attain salvation only at the hands of the Supreme Godhead, Lord Vishnu three times over as human beings.
The first instalment of the salvation was when Hiranyaksha was killed by the Varaha avatar (read that series here) and Hiranyakasipu was killed by the Narasimha avatar (read that series here). The second instalment of the salvation was when Ravana and Kumbhakarna were killed by Rama in the great epic, the Ramayana.
This series of posts will narrate the third and final instalment of the salvation where Jaya and Vijaya take birth as Sisupala and Dantavakra and how they attain salvation by being killed by Lord Vishnu in his avatar as Krishna.
At the outset, let me confess that some versions of the story and religious texts state that Kamsa was one of the doorkeepers, but a majority of the versions of the religious texts allude to Sisupala and Dantavakra as the third time that Jaya and Vijaya were born as human beings.
Sisupala was born to the king of Chedi with three eyes and four hands. It is said that as soon as he was born he screamed and cried with sounds similar to the ones that a donkey makes. Beholding these extraordinary omens, the king and queen of Chedi (who happened to be Krishna’s paternal aunt, ie, Vasudeva’s sister) resolved to abandon this abnormal child.
However, a celestial voice addressed the king and the queen, with the court ministers and priests in attendance – This son of yours who has been born thus, will have good fortune and extraordinary strength. You need not fear him or his appearance. He is not destined to die anytime soon. His time has not yet come. The one that will slay him has also been born.
Hearing these words, Sisupala’s mother, rendered anxious due to the affection for her son addressed the invisible voice – I desire to hear who will slay my son.
The voice then said – He shall be slain by the person, upon whose lap when he is placed his third eye and additional arms will drop off.
The king of Chedi then undertook an exhaustive exercise where he placed his son on the lap of all the kings assembled there to witness this abnormal son of his. And though the child was placed on the laps of a thousand kings, the prophesied ‘slayer’ was not revealed.
A few days later, Balarama and Krishna representing the Yadavas arrived at the court of the king of Chedi. After paying due obeisance to their elders, when the brothers took their seats at the court, the queen with great pleasure placed their young cousin Sisupala in Krishna’s lap.
As soon as the child was placed on Krishna’s lap, his third eye and additional arms dropped off. Alarmed at this turn of events and in anticipation of her son’s long life, the queen then asked Krishna for a boon. O Krishna, assurer of afflicted ones and dispeller of fears, grant me a boon that you will forgive my son Sisupala’s offences, for my sake – she said.
Krishna granted her the boon saying – O aunt, do not despair, even when your son will deserve to be slain, I shall grant him pardon for a hundred offences.
<< PART 2 >>