The Sambhava Parva of Mahabharat mentions that Kamsa was a rebirth of the demon Kalanemi:

"There was also born on earth a mighty Asura known amongst the Danavas by the name of Kalanemi, endued with great strength, of grand achievements, and blessed with a large share of prosperity. He became the mighty son of Ugrasena and was known on earth by the name of Kansa.

From this question it is clear that Kalanemi in his previous birth had been killed by Lord Vishnu during the Tarakamaya War that was fought for the custody of Tara, Brihaspati's wife who had been abducted by Chandra.

Now Kamsa must have been born around the 28th Mahayuga for Krishna to have descended at that time and the aforementioned war probably happened much before. I want to know more details about him such as where did Kalanemi come from originally and did he take another birth in the interim. He also seems to feature in the Ramayan where he is killed by Hanuman but this incident is not there in the Valmiki Ramayan.

So I guess my question is - Are there any details mentioned about the origins and life of Kalanemi in any other scriptures that can help complete his story?

1 Answer 1


The story of Kalanemi after getting killed by Vishnu is mentioned in Garga Samhita. Kalanemi regained life with the help of Shukracarya and then performed severe austerities. He got a boon from Brahma and was then born as Kamsa in his next life.

The story mentioned is:

Shri Bahulashva said: Who was this very powerful demon Kamsa? O great sage, please describe his births and deeds.

Shri Narada said: At the time of churning the ocean a great demon named Kalanemi fought with Lord Vishnu and was violently killed by Him. When with his sanjivini science Shukracarya revived him, in his heart Kalanemi yearned to fight again with Lord Vishnu. On Mount Mandara he performed severe austerities, drinking durva-grass juice and worshiping the god Brahma. When a hundred celestial years had passed all that remained of him was bones in an anthill.

Then Brahma said to him, Ask for a benediction," and Kalanemi spoke a reply.

Kalanemi said: May my death not come from the hands of any or all of the very powerful gods, who have Lord Vishnu as their root.

Shri Brahma said: O demon, the benediction you request is difficult to attain. Still, you have now attained it. My words are not false.

Shri Narada said: In Ugrasena's wife the demon attained another demonic birth. Even in childhood he would regularly fight with great wrestlers.

[1-8, Chapter 6: Description of Kamsa's Strength, Canto 1, Garga Samhita]

  • 2
    Great find mate. Interesting boon though since ultimately Kalnemi DID get killed by a god who had Vishnu as the root! Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 18:10

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