I was going through the Vishnu Puran and came across the following description in Book V, Chapter IV:

KANSA, much troubled in mind, summoned all his principal Asuras, Pralamba, Keśin, and the rest, and said to them, "O valiant chiefs, Pralamba, Keśin, Dhenuka, Pútaná, Arisht́a, and all the rest of you, hear my words. The vile and contemptible denizens of heaven are assiduously plotting against my life, for they dread my prowess: but, heroes, I hold them of no account. What can the impotent Indra, or the ascetic Hara, perform? or what can Hari accomplish, except the murder of his foes by fraud? What have we to fear from the Ádityas, the Vasus, the Agnis, or any others of the immortals, who have all been vanquished by my resistless arms? Have I not seen the king of the gods, when he had ventured into the conflict, quickly retreat from the field, receiving my shafts upon his back, not bravely upon his breast? When in resentment he withheld the fertilizing showers from my kingdom, did not my arrows compel the clouds to part with their waters, as much as were required? Are not all the monarchs of the earth in terror of my prowess, and subject to my orders, save only Jarásandha my sire?

I want to know if there are more details given about this encounter between Kamsa and the Devas in any other scripture especially with Indra?

1 Answer 1


The Garga Samhita describes the battle between Kamsa and the Devas in its First Canto, Chapter 7.

According to this narration, after Kamsa had acquired the friendship of all the asuras such as Narakasura, Bana, Baka, Agha, Keshi, Pralamba, et al, he led them on a conquest of Svargaloka.

Text 27

canura-mushtikarishta- shala-toshala-keshibhih pralambena bakenapi dvividena samavritah trinavartagha-kutaish ca bhauma-banakhya-shambaraih vyoma-dhenuka-vatsaish ca rurudhe so 'maravatim

Aided by Canura, Mushtika, Arishta, Shala, Toshala, Keshi, Pralamba, Baka, Dvivida, Trinavarta, Agha, Kuta, Narakasura, Bana, Shambara, Vyoma, Dhenuka, and Vatsa, he besieged the city of Aamaravati.

Text 29

kamsadin agatan drittva shakro devadhipah svarat sarvair deva-ganaih sardham yoddhum kruddho viniryayau

Seeing the demons headed by Kamsa had come, Indra, the sovereign king of the demigods became angry and, accompanied by a great host of demigods, went to fight with them.

The battle is described in great detail, followed by the surrender and fleeing of the devas, in concurrence with the Vishnu Purana quotation of Kamsa.

Text 52

grihitva vaishnavam capam sajjam kritvatha daitya-rat devan vidravayam asa banaughaish ca dhanuh-svanaih

Taking the bow of Lord Vishnu and stringing it, with a flood of arrows accompanied by the twanging sound of the bow, the demon-king Kamsa made the demigods flee.

Text 53

tatah suras tena nihanyamana vidudruvur dina-dhiyo disham te kecid rane mukta-shikha babhuvur bhitah sma ittham yudhi vadinas te

As Kamsa was attacking and killing them, the dispirited demigods fled in all directions. Some, their helmets lost, screamed in terror.

Text 54

kecit tatha pranjalayo 'ti-dina-vat sannyasta-shastra yudhi mukta-kacchakah sthatum rane kamsa-nri-deva-sammukhe gatepsitah kecid ativa-vihvalah

Some, dropping their weapons and armor, humbly surrendered with folded hands. Others, very troubled, had lost all desire to stand before King Kamsa.

Though not explicitly named, one can understand that Indra being the chief of the devas too would have similarly fled the battle along with the rest of the army, and this would tally with the fact that the devas themselves accompany Bhudevi to Shvetadvipa to request Bhagavan's protection, since they too would have been subject to the torture of the asuras, here led by Kamsa.

This fact is further confirmed in the Bhagavata Purana, in the Tenth Canto, Chapter Four, which is the equivalent of the Vishnu Purana Chapter (5.4) quoted in the question. Here the various asuras recount the above battle of Kamsa with the devas, and describe nearly the same account.

Text 32: The demigods always fear the sound of your bowstring. They are constantly in anxiety, afraid of fighting. Therefore, what can they do by their endeavors to harm you?

Text 33: While being pierced by your arrows, which you discharged on all sides, some of them, who were injured by the multitude of arrows but who desired to live, fled the battlefield, intent on escaping.

Text 34: Defeated and bereft of all weapons, some of the demigods gave up fighting and praised you with folded hands, and some of them, appearing before you with loosened garments and hair, said, “O lord, we are very much afraid of you.”

Text 35: When the demigods are bereft of their chariots, when they forget how to use weapons, when they are fearful or attached to something other than fighting, or when their bows are broken and they have thus lost the ability to fight, Your Majesty does not kill them.

Thus, the battle between Kamsa and the devas is described primarily in the above two texts in support of the description of Vishnu Purana, and may have been one of the final triggers for the advent of Lord Krsna's Avatara.

  • 1
    Thant's great thanks for sharing both the references! Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 9:16

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