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While debating on Quora on how the Bhagavad Gita does not advocate the present day birth-based casteism, a user pointed out that,

From Vishnu Parva, Chapter 84, it seems that Krishna with his Yadavas built a city near Ekalavya's village, without his permission; attracted by its natural resources. This story reminds very much of how the Indian government routinely destroys Adivasi villages for mining extractions.

It'd be great if someone provides proper references to:

  1. The above story from Vishnu Parva (Vishnu Purana? or Vishnu Parva of Harivamsha?)
  2. Reason behind their rivalry
  3. Actual reason behind Ekalavya's assassination
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  • Related: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/8028/647
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 6:44
  • Nope being Sudra was not at all the reason.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 6:50
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    @YDS The citation given is wrong. The added image says Vishnu Parva but not Vishnu Purana. Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 9:47
  • 1
    @Sarvabhouma if it's Vishnu Parva of Harivamsha then also there is no mention of Ekalavya in that chapter..
    – YDS
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 10:21
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    Yes, @YDS The citation given in the image is wrong. I think the reason saying Yadavas trying to destroy Ekalavya's kingdom is also wrong. I had a glance over Ekalavya and Yadava's fight. But being shudra or occupying forest resources was not the reason. Ekalavya became allies with Paundraka and fought with Yadavas. That is the reason he was defeated (unsure about death). Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 10:29

3 Answers 3

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To answer your first question, here's the full story from Viṣṇu Parva of Harivaṃśa. According to this, Kṛṣṇa and Yādavas did occupy an area called Dvāravatī/Dvārakā where Ekalavya already resided and built a city there.

Chapter 84

Vaishampayana said,

After some time, in the assembly of the Yadus, Pundarikaksha spoke excellent words that were full of import.

This land of the Yadavas, around Mathura, has made our kingdom prosper. We have been born here and have been reared in Vraja. Our miseries are over and the enemies have been defeated. On account of the conflict with Jarasandha, there was an enmity among the kings. We possess mounts and an infinite number of foot soldiers. We have wonderful jewels and many friends. But this region around Mathura is small and our enemies can penetrate easily. Our prosperity over our enemies is due to our forces and our friends. We have crores of young ones and large numbers of infantry. Because of this, our residence here is seen to be difficult. O bulls among the Yadavas! Therefore, the idea of living here doesn’t appeal to me. Pardon me, but I will set up another city. There is an intention behind my words and I have spoken with reason. At the right time, for your sake, I always speak agreeable words in the assembly of the Yadus.

Cheerful in their minds, all of them told him,

For the welfare of the people, accomplish whatever it is that you wish.

The Vrishnis held excellent consultations and discussed this.

He cannot be killed by us. The enemy’s army is extremely large. Because of those kings, there has been a great destruction of soldiers. Even in one hundred years, we will not be able to slay all of their soldiers who remain. Therefore, we agree with the decision.

At this, the king and Kalayavana attacked Mathura with a large army. Jarasandha's army was huge and impossible to withstand. They also heard about Kalayavana's arrival.

Keshava, who always speaks the truth, again told the Yadavas,

Today is an auspicious day to leave, along with all those who follow us.

On Keshava's instructions, all the Yadavas emerged. Because of the large number of soldiers and elephants, this looked like the waves in an ocean. With Vasudeva at the forefront, all the wives were assembled. There were armed crazy elephants, chariots and horses. All the drums were sounded. With their riches, kin and relatives, all the Yadavas abandoned Mathura and left. There were chariots decorated with gold, and crazy and supreme elephants. There were speedy horses, lashed with whips by the riders. O bull among the Bharata lineage! Cheerfully, the Vrishnis headed in a western direction, resplendent as they drove along their respective forces. The best among the Yadavas were ornaments in the field of battle.

With Vasudeva leading the way, they were at the forefront of the army. They arrived at a spot that was colourful with creepers, with forests of coconut trees. There were groves of beautiful nagakeshara and ketaki flowers. There were pumnagas and many palm trees. There were some vines of grapes too. The bulls among the Yadus reached a marshy region that belonged to the king of Sindhu. They loved pleasure and this was an enchanting spot. All the Yadavas were delighted, like the gods when they reach heaven. Krishna, the slayer of enemy heroes, thought about constructing a city. He saw that extensive region, adorned by marshes along the ocean. It was good for the mounts and the ground was wet and red. It possessed all the signs required for setting up a prosperous city. Breezes blew from the ocean. There was water from the ocean. This beautiful dominion of the king of Sindhu bore all the auspicious signs required for a city. Not very far away, there was a mountain by the name of Raivataka. It dazzled in every direction and was like Mount Mandara. This was where Ekalavya resided and also the place where Drona lived for a long time. There were many men and all kinds of jewels. An excellent spot was created for the king’s pleasure. This extensive place was named Dvaravati.863 It was like a board for an ashtapada game.

Keshava made up his mind to construct a city there. The Yadavas found the prospect of the soldiers residing there agreeable. While it was still day and the night was red, the bulls among the Yadavas and the commanders of the army made arrangements for camps to be set up. Keshava and the Yadavas were firm in their decision to live there. The lord, the foremost among the Yadus, resolved to build a city at the spot. Gada's elder brother, best among men and supreme among the Yadavas, made up his mind to follow the instructions for construction and set up buildings that were named.

O king! Having obtained the city of Dvaravati, with his relatives, he was delighted, like the large number of gods on reaching heaven, and decided to reside there. Knowing about Kalayavana and the fear that was caused by Jarasandha, Krishna, the slayer of Keshi, went to the city of Dvaravati.


Footnotes

863 Dvaraka. Dvaravati means a place with gates (dvara). The text suggests that the place already existed, but the Yadavas built a new city there.

(Debroy, Bibek. Harivamsha)

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Ekalavya used to always challenge Krishna.

The fact that Krishna killed Ekalavya is mentioned multiple times in the Mahabharata.
https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m05/m05048.htm is how the Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata describes it:

Ekalavya, the king of the Nishadas, always used to challenge this one to battle; but slain by Krishna he lay dead like the Asura Jambha violently thrashed on a hillock.

In this chapter of the Drona Parva of the Mahabharata, Krishna tells Arjuna that he killed Ekalavya for Arjuna's benefit and caused Jarasandha and others also to be slain:

O best of men! for thy good, the Nishada's son also, of prowess incapable of being baffled, was, by an act of guile, deprived of his thumb by Drona, assuming the position of his preceptor. Proud and endued with steady prowess, the Nishada's son, with fingers cased in leathern gloves, looked resplendent like a second Rama. Undeprived of thumb, Ekalavya, O Partha, was incapable of being vanquished in battle by the gods, the Danavas, the Rakshasas, and the Uragas (together). Of firm grasp, accomplished in weapons, and capable of shooting incessantly day and night, he was incapable of being looked at by mere men. For thy good, he was slain by me on the field of battle.

Krishna told that with Karna, if Jarasandha, Shishupala and Ekalavya survived and were not killed, they would adpot the side of Duryohana remembering their hostilities with the Pandavas.

"Vasudeva said, If Jarasandha, and the ruler of the Chedis, and the mighty son of the Nishada king, had not been slain, they would have become terrible. Without doubt, Duryodhana would have chosen those foremost of car-warriors (for embracing his side). They had always been hostile to us, and, accordingly, they would all have adopted the side of the Kauravas.

Krishna told how they were powerful

All of them were heroes and mighty bowmen accomplished in weapons and firm in battle. Like the celestials (in prowess), they would have protected Dhritarashtra's sons.

They would have succeeded in conquering the whole earth.

Indeed, the Suta's son, and Jarasandha, and the ruler of the Chedis, and the son of the Nishada adopting the son of Suyodhana, would have succeeded in conquering the whole earth.

Krishna did not kill Ekalavya not because he was a sudra but because he knew how powerful he was and that if he had survived and not have been killed, then he would adopt to Duryodhana's side and would have succeeded in conquering the whole earth for him.

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Briefly put,

  1. Krishna wanted to build his own strong empire away from his uncle for military security. Mathura was ok for playing milk trade and pranks with girls.

  2. Ekalavya foolishly declared his hostile intention against Krishna.

  3. Drona kept him out by cunning ( thumb cut-ff to offer Guru) in order not to equal or defeat Arjuna, who was strongly supported by Krishna for his potential seen. Drona's mission was to keep Pandavas trained by him fit in battle to win the predictable war because of Dritharashra's turning a blind eye to Duryodhana's misdemeanours that were increasing.

  4. The purpose of Krishna's Avatar is surmount and serious and he was was aware of it unlike at Rama's Avatar time. Eliminating Ekalavya and his clan was rendered easy.

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