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As I discuss in this answer, Krishna departed the Earth after he was shot by a hunter named Jara. Now there's a popular story that this Jara was actually the next birth of Sugriva's brother Vali, whom Rama shot from behind. (Rama shooting Vali was fully morally justified, as I discuss here.) So the story goes that either through a boon of Rama or a curse of Vali (depending on the version), it was decided that Vali would shoot Rama from behind in a future birth.

My question is, does this story have any scriptural basis? It isn't mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana. Is it there in some Purana? The only thing I could find is a local Orissa legend which says that Jara's previous birth was Vali's son Angada, not Vali himself. But the explanation given is the same: Angada is said to have been reborn to avenge his father's death.

Are there any scriptures that describe the previous birth of Jara?

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    Good q :). every source on the internet that I was able to see makes this quote from Sri Krishna 'O Jara you were Vali in your previous birth'. but they dont mentioned any sources haha I dont know from where all of them seem to make this identical quote. I just hope you find it :) – Sai May 28 '15 at 14:52
  • @Sai Thanks! The quote you're referring to seems to be from this book, but it doesn't provide a source for the quote. In any case, the two main places in Hindu scripture describing Jara shooting Krishna are the Mausala Parva of the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavatam. The Mahabharata description, which I quote in my answer here, only says that Krishna "comforted" Jara, but it doesn't mention what Krishna said to him. – Keshav Srinivasan May 28 '15 at 15:13
  • @Sai And in the Srimad Bhagavatam, Krishna just says "My dear Jarā, do not fear. Please get up. What has been done is actually My own desire. With My permission, go now to the abode of the pious, the spiritual world." vedabase.com/en/sb/11/30/39 And he says the same thing in the Vishnu Purana: "Fear not thou in the least. Go, hunter, through my favour, to heaven, the abode of the gods." sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp154.htm – Keshav Srinivasan May 28 '15 at 15:15
  • One unrelated question . It is specifically mentioned Jara as next birth of vali. Also after that incident , he immediately departs to svarga. So he had not taken birth for nearly 4 mahayugas? – tekkk May 30 '15 at 18:01
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    @Vishalprabhulawande No, the Jara that put the baby Jarasandha together was a female demon, she has nothing to do with the hunter Jara. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 31 '16 at 5:03
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Ananda Ramayana.

This alternate version of Ramayana has many unique legends which are not mentioned anywhere in Puranas like Padma Purana, Skanda and Bhagavata Purana. (I took these names because these puranas have narrations of different versions from Valmiki Ramayana).

From Ananda Ramayana Sara Khanda Sarga 8

yadyāpi tvam durācāro nihato asi raṇe mayā
tathāpi bhilla rūpeṇa dvāparānte'nghriṇam mama |66|

bhitvā prabhāse bāṇena pūrva vaireṇa vānara
tato maddhasta maraṇasyāsya kāraṇa gauravāt |67|

mukti gacchāmi tvaṃ vālin śubhāṃ janmāntareṇa hi

I have slain you after seeing your ill conduct. Still, you will become a hunter at the end of Dwapara Yuga and remember your previous enmity and pierce my foot in the place Prabhasa. Then you will get a better lokas being free from the cycle of birth and death.

(Own English translation based on Hindi Translation of Ananda Ramayana by Ramtej Pandey)

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"Do any scriptures say that the hunter Jara was a rebirth of Vali? Are there any scriptures that describe the previous birth of Jara?"

The simple answer is, NO. [As per this meta post].
No authentic scripture discuss the previous birth[s] of Jara. There are only folklores around VAli & Jara. Some even believe VAli got rebirth as Arjuna, by retaining the lineage of Indra.

Our creative imagination relate 2 personalities. It may be right, may be wrong. Example,


Even though, Jara was a too insignificant character compared to extremely courageous VAli, the main source of this legend has to do with: VAli avenging his death from RAma, by getting reborn as Jara and killing RAma's own rebirth Krishna.
But what if, "Krishna" was not the rebirth of "RAma"? In such case, the whole theory of VAli-Jara will collapse on its own.

Previous births of Krishna

In sacred-texts, below previous births of Krishna are described, which are [mostly] prior to RAmAyana:

  1. As a portion of Vishnu: From Adi Parva,

    And he, called Vasudeva, endued with great valour, was among men a portion of him called Narayana (translate Vishnu) --the god of gods--eternal.

  2. As a son of Dharma: From Drona Parva (also the source of point-3),

    He that is called Narayana is older than the oldest ones. For accomplishing some purpose, that creator of the universe took his birth as the son of Dharma. On the mountain of Himavat he underwent the severest ascetic austerities.

  3. As a Rishi NArAyana: From Karna Parva,

    When the two Krishnas (Arjuna & VAsudeva) are excited with wrath, they show regard for nothing. These two bulls among beings are the Creators of all real and unreal things. These two are Nara and Narayana, the two ancient and best of Rishis.

RAma is nowhere mentioned as Krishna's previous birth.

Not to be confused with Gita 10.31, "Among wielders of weapons, I am RAma". Because these [chapter-10] forms are from the supreme Brahman perspective and not Krishna's personal form perspective. Moreover, it can mean Shri RAma, Parashu RAma & even BalarAma as well.

Supportive reference: Like how RAma & Krishna are not related, similarly RAvana & ShishupAla also are not related [as per Jaya-Vijaya theory]. :

  • From Adi Parva:

    that son of Diti, who was known as Hiranyakasipu, was known in this world among men as the powerful Sisupala.

  • From SabhA Parva:

    Bhishma said,--The will under which the ruler of Chedi (Sisupala) summoneth thee to fight though thou art of strength that knoweth no deterioration, is scarcely his own intention. Assuredly, this is the purpose of Krishna himself, the lord of the universe. ... This mighty-armed one is, without doubt, a portion of Hari's energy. And surely, the Lord desireth to take back unto himself that energy of his own.

RAma himself might not had rebirth

If we name the supreme Brahman as "Vishnu", then RAma & Krishna can as well be different portions of "Vishnu", like ParashuRAma. They need not belong to same lineage of births.
RAma is believed to have taken SamAdhi in Sarayu river. This SamAdhi itself would have resulted in the state of no return for RAma's own consciousness [Gita 3.4].
[Similarly VAli also could have got Moksha, after being killed from the hands of RAma.]


Summary: Since RAma & Krishna may not be related by rebirth, there are no sufficient proofs to link VAli & Jara by rebirth. Hence, VAli & Jara were different consciousness.

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    So then by Bhishma's statement that means that Sisupala was also a portion of Vishnu (Hari). – Knowledge Seeker Nov 19 '17 at 4:29
  • Just by seeing the word "birth" you can't conclude that Krishna has previous births. In many places He is referred as Supreme Lord. And you know it very well – Krishna Shweta Nov 26 '18 at 15:35

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