Most people only know about how Ekalavya, the Nishada prince, was rejected by the Pandavas' teacher Dronacharya and then willingly cut off his own thumb at Dronacharya's request. What's not as well-known, however, is how Ekalavya died. The story I've always heard goes roughly as follows. The Nishadas were loyal to the evil king Jarasandha. So when Bhima killed Jarasansha with Krishna's help, Ekalavya wanted to take revenge on Krishna. So he tried to attack Dwaraka, but Krishna was able to kill him.

Here's how Wikipedia describes it:

He was later killed by Krishna when he was on his campaign to destroy every Yadava in Dwaraka and Kuntibhoj for avenging Jarasandha's demise.

My question is, what scriptures describe this story of Krishna killing Ekalavya after Ekalavya tries to avenge the death of Jarasandha?

The fact that Krishna killed Ekalavya is mentioned multiple times in the Mahabharata. Here 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.

And in this chapter of the Drona Parva of the Mahabharata, Krishna tells Arjuna that he killed Ekalavya for Arjuna's benefit:

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.

But are there any scriptures describing the specific circumstances of Ekalavya's death?

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    @@Keshav -H.H.Wilson in his Vishnu purana translation as part of Book 5, Chapter 4, in the notes section says that in Hari Vamsa purana, Paundrika along with Ekalavya attacks Dvaraka in the absence of Krishna and Krishna returns from kailasa and kills paundrika. So, in all probability Krishna killed Ekalavya too in same fight.
    – user808
    Aug 7, 2015 at 18:36
  • @Krishna I looked in the Harivamsha, and right after the death of Paundraka there's a chapter titled "Ekalavya hounded off", which suggests that he survived that encounter: mahabharata-resources.org/harivamsa/bhavishyaparva/… Unfortunately, I couldn't find an English translation of that chapter (the website only has English translations of some of the chapters), so can you take a look at the Sanskrit and tell me if it says whether Ekalavya lived or died? Aug 7, 2015 at 19:34
  • Ekalavya gets killed in Mahabharata war after death of Dronacharya, he is encouraged to participate in the war by Karna. Lord Krishna vowed not to take weapons into hand.
    – Annonymous
    Aug 8, 2015 at 16:55
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    @Annonymous Ekalavya is mentioned in the Drona Parva in the list of kings who were killed before the war so that they would not join the Kaurava side: sacred-texts.com/hin/m07/m07178.htm "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." Ekalavya is the son of the Nishada king. Aug 12, 2015 at 15:36
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    @ViruMax That link just contains a summary of some play written by a guy named T. P. Kailasam. I want to know what Hindu scripture actually says. Aug 23, 2015 at 21:37

3 Answers 3


The closest scripture describing the death of Ekalavya, is in the previous chapter of Drona Parva quoted in the question. He was supposedly killed using unfair tactics (i.e. contrivances):

Vasudeva said ... O Arjuna, for thy good, with the aid of diverse contrivances I have slain, one after another, Jarasandha and the illustrious ruler of the Chedis and the mighty-armed Nishada of the name of Ekalavya...

How did he look like after being killed & why was he killed, is already present in the Qn.


Arjuna later listed the feats of Krishna in Udyoga Parva and told Sanjaya to send the messaeg to Duryodhana and Sanjaya told Duryodhana the message of Krishna's feats and if Duryodhana desires war, how he will lose the war sincee there is the powerful Krishna and listed the feats of Krishna and one of them is the slaying of Ekalavya in Mahabharata.


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.


Lord Krishna mentions in the Gita that he has already defeated or killed the maharathis fighting on behalf of Kauravas, and it is symbolic killing only to be completed by Arjuna. This statement cannot be interpreted as Lord Krishna took weapons (astras) in his own had. Recall in Bhishma parva, when Arjuna unable to fight with Grandpa Bhishma, Lord Krishna takes his sudarshana chakra to kill Bhishma and Bhishma being an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu recognizes the avatar of Lord Krishna and comes down from his chariot and bows for the final action. Arjuna comes running and pleads to Lord Krishna for his further action violates the oath taken by him. Hence mentioning Lord Krishna killing Ekalavya is violation & understanding of sequences, as detailed by Ved Vyasa in Mahabharat, the most authentic text better than Wiki.

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    Before the war even began, in the Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata, Arjuna lists the killing of Ekalavya as one of the deeds that Krishna has done in the past: sacred-texts.com/hin/m05/m05048.htm "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." It's true that Krishna was not allowed to fight during the war, but he killed Ekalavya before the war. Aug 12, 2015 at 15:42

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