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There seems to be some confusion between different accounts of the Banasura fight - some state that Krishna killed him while others mention that he let him live when Shiva interceded on the demon's behalf. There is also the story of Devi Kumari killing Banasura but it comes from different sources.

So my question is - Is there a clear scriptural reference that states both that Krishna did not kill Banasura as well as states that Devi did?

  • Do you have a reference that Krishna killed Banasura? All stories I have heard point to the fact that Krishna defeated the ganas and forgave Banasura. – user1952500 Nov 4 '17 at 7:43
  • Not a scriptural reference but I saw it on one of the online portals. Will post the link if I find it. But my question is whether both the incidents related to Banasur - defeat by Krishna and death by Devi are mentioned in the same scripture. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Nov 6 '17 at 4:53
  • I believe there are plenty of references that Krishna spared Banasura. I don’t know if the story of his death. Unless there is an authentic reference that says Krishna killed him, the two questions can be treated independently. – user1952500 Nov 6 '17 at 5:17
  • Well there are no two questions in my query - I have just one which I stated above. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Nov 6 '17 at 5:44
  • I believe Devi killed Bandasura – Vick Nov 6 '17 at 12:42
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As per Chapter 55, Rudra Samhita (Yuddha Khanda) of Shiva Purana and Chapter 63, Book 10 of Srimad Bhagvatam, Sri Krishna only cut hands of Banasura. But Chapter 12, Part 1 of Agni Purana doesn't mention cutting of arms . Chapter 56, Rudra Samhita (Yuddha Khanda) of Shiva Purana also says Bana acquired position of a Gana in Kailasa.

As per Shiva Purana, Banasura did tapasya to Shiva to get rid of his extra arms which was aquired by Tapasya previously. Lord Shiva says his arms will be cut by a person who is equal in valor to Him (Shiva).

Chapter 55 of Yuddha Khanda says:

ततः सुदर्शनेनाशु कृष्णो बाणभुजान्बहून्।
चिच्छेद भगवाञ्शम्भुशासनात्परवीरहा॥ ३०॥

Then lord Krsna, the destroyer of heroic armies, at the bidding of Siva, suddenly cut off many arms of Banasura, with the Sudarsana cakra.

अवशिष्टा भुजास्तस्य चत्वारोऽतीव सुन्दराः।
गतव्यथो बभूवाशु शङ्करस्य प्रसादतः॥ ३१॥

By the grace of Siva, only four beautiful arms were left out and soon his misery was over.

Chapter 10.63 of Bhagavatam also says the same with slight variation.

दर्पोपशमनायास्य प्रवृक्णा बाहवो मया
सूदितं च बलं भूरि यच्च भारायितं भुवः ॥ १०.६३.४८ ॥

It was to subdue Bāṇāsura’s false pride that I severed his arms. And I slew his mighty army because it had become a burden upon the earth.

Chapter 56 Yuddha Khanda (Rudra Samhita) of Shiva Purana says Shiva bestowed him position of Gana.

इति श्रुत्वा स्वभक्तस्य बाणस्य भगवान्भवः।
सर्वं लभिष्यसीत्युक्त्वा तत्रैवान्तरधीयत॥ ३२॥

Thus listening to the prayer of Banasura, lord Siva said, “You will be benefited enormously.” Thus speaking he disappeared from the scene.

ततः शम्भोः प्रसादेन महाकालत्वमागतः।
रुद्रस्यानुचरो बाणो महाप्रमुदितोऽभवत्॥ ३३॥

Then with the grace of lord Siva, Bana attained the immortality of the eternal times and became one of the gana of Siva, with delight.

But Chapter 11 Rudra Samhita (Kumara Khanda) of Shiva Purana and Gaguli's edition of Chapter 46, Salya Parva of Mahabharata say Kartikeya (Kumara) killed Banasura. But BORI edition of Mahabharata omits this line.

After Killing of Tarakasura, Kumara swamy was on rage and he started killing all daityas on earth with Shakti weapon to reduce burden on earth. Bana, son of Mahabali, in fear hid into Krauncha mountain and Kumara shattered the mountain with his javelin.

Shiva Purana says Krauncha mountain prayed to Kartikeya to relieve him from Banasura while Mahabharata doesn't mention any prayer.

Chapter 11, Rudra Samhita (Kumara Khanda) of Shiva MahaPurana says:

चिक्षेप तां समुद्दिश्य स बाणं शङ्करात्मजः।
महाशब्दो बभूवाथ जज्वलुश्च दिशो नभः।। ९ ।।

Then the son of Siva, shot the Sakti over Banasura creating enormous sound, as a result of which the sky with all the ten directions started burning, creating the thundering sound.

सबलं भस्मसात्कृत्वाऽसुरं तं क्षणमात्रतः।
गुहोपकण्ठं शक्तिः सा जगाम परमा मुने!।॥ १०॥

O Sage, the Sakti shot by Kumāra, reducing Banasura and his army to ashes in a moment, it then returned to Kumara.

ततः कुमार प्रोवाच क्रौञ्चं गिरिवरं प्रभुः।
निर्भयः स्वगृहं गच्छ नष्टः स सबलोऽसुरः॥ ११॥

Kumara then said to the excellent Kraufica, "Now you should go back to your home fearlessly, because the demon has been destroyed with his army.'

Ganguli Edition describes the incident as follows:

Bali's son Vana of great might, getting upon the Kraunca mountain, battled with the celestial host. Possessed of great intelligence, the great generalissimo Skanda rushed against that foe of the gods. From fear of Kartikeya, he took shelter within the Kraunca mountain. Inflamed with rage, the adorable Kartikeya then pierced that mountain with that dart given him by Agni. The mountain was called Kraunca (crane) because of the sound it always produced resembled the cry of a crane. That mountain was variegated with shala trees. The apes and elephants on it were affrighted. The birds that had their abode on it rose up and wheeled around in the welkin. The snakes began to dart down its sides. It resounded also with the cries of leopards and bears in large numbers that ran hither and thither in fear. Other forests on it rang with the cries of hundreds upon hundreds of animals. Sharabhas and lions suddenly ran out. In consequence of all this that mountain, though it was reduced to a very pitiable plight, still assumed a very beautiful aspect. The vidyadharas dwelling on its summits soared into the air. The kinnaras also became very anxious, distracted by the fear caused by the fall of Skanda's dart. The daityas then, by hundreds and thousands, came out of that blazing mountain, all clad in beautiful ornaments and garlands.

The followers of Kumara, prevailing over them in battle, slew them all. The adorable Skanda, inflamed with rage, quickly slew the son of daitya chief (Bali) along with his younger brother, even as Indra had slain Vritra (in days before). The slayer of hostile heroes, Agni's son, pierced with his dart the Kraunca mountain, dividing his own self sometimes into many and sometimes uniting all his portions into one. Repeatedly hurled from his hand, the dart repeatedly came back to him. Even such was the might and glory of the adorable son of Agni. With redoubled heroism, and energy and fame and success, the god pierced the mountain and slew hundreds of daityas. The adorable god, having thus slain the enemies of the celestials, was worshipped and honoured by the latter and obtained great joy.

This is how BORI edition (Chapter 45 in BORI critical edition) of Mahabharata describes this event. Bibek Debroy translates it as follows:

The kinnaras were anxious, because they were struck by the descent of the javelin. Hundreds and thousands of daityas were crushed. They emerged from that blazing mountain, attired in excellent and colourful ornaments and garlands. Kumara’s followers proved to be superior and killed them in the battle. Pavaka’s son (Agni's son i.e Kumara), the destroyer of enemy heroes, shattered Krouncha with the javelin. The great-souled one divided himself into one, and also many forms. In the encounter, he repeatedly hurled the javelin from his hands. Thus, did Pavaka’s son repeatedly show his powers. He shattered Krouncha and killed hundreds of daityas.

  • Interesting so now that Krishna sparing Banasur is established there is a new contender for that position :) – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Nov 10 '17 at 8:40
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    @Dr.VineetAggarwal Yes. I think all accounts of Bana, Krishna and Shiva fight will say Krishna spared Bana. Btw, do you see any connection between Kumara and devi Kumari? I will check Sanskrit verses of Mahabharata of Ganguli also to confirm. – The Destroyer Nov 10 '17 at 8:44
  • Hmm I dont think that's possible since this story is specifically linked to Kanya-Kumari - books.google.co.in/… – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Nov 10 '17 at 8:52
  • @Dr.VineetAggarwal Ok. let me check Devi Bhagavatam. – The Destroyer Nov 10 '17 at 8:59

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