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One of Krishna's most famous deeds is his killing of the demon Narakasura, which is the inspiration of the holiday Deepavali. Narakasura was tormenting the gods and had even stolen the earrings of Indra's mother Aditi, so Indra sought the help of Krishna. As I discuss in this question, Krishna rode on Garuda, accompanied by his wife Satyabhama, to Narakasura's capital of Pragjyotishpura and defeated him.

But my question is about Narakasura's past. Narakasura is also known as Bhauma, or son of Bhumidevi goddess of the Earth. He was born to Bhumidevi and Vishnu's incarnation Varaha in a place called Kokamukha in modern-day Nepal, as described in this excerpt from the Brahma Purana:

Chaya, the Earth conceived by lord Boar generated asura Naraka known also by the name Bhauma. Lord Vishnu gave him Pragjyotisha, the capital city of Kamarupa.

My question is, how did the son of Vishnu's incarnation Varaha become so evil, to the point where Vishnu's incarnation Krishna had to kill him?

The only potential explanation I've found is the one described in this book:

According to ... the Kalika Purana and other texts, he was the son of Bhumi or Bhudevi (Prithvi) and of the god Vishnu in his Varaha form. The baby was left on the sacrificial ground of King Janaka of Mithila, and brought up by the kings, along with his sons.... He went to Pragjyotisha (Assam) and Naraka conquered the region ... and was made king by Vishnu. Vishnu asked him to worship goddess Kamakhya, and none other. Naraka was a wise and good ruler, but after he came in contact with Bana, king of Shonitapura, he began to pray to Shiva. He neglected the goddess and oppressed his subjects.

For those who don't know, Banasura was the son of Mahabali and king of Shonitapura. As I discuss in this answer, Krishna's grandson Aniruddha fell in love with Bana's daughter Usha, and when Bana found out he kidnapped Aniruddha. So Krishna went to Shonitapura and fought with Bana, with Shiva fighting on Bana's side because Bana was a devotee of Shiva. Finally, the situation was resolved and Aniruddha and Usha got married.

But are there any other scriptures that mention that it was Banasura who corrupted Narakasura? The Kalika Purana is only an Upapurana (minor Purana), so preferably I'd like confirmation of this story from one of the 18 Mahapuranas.

  • Narakasura was not Varaha's Son. He was Hiranyaksha's Son. When Hiranyaksha contacted mother earth to hide her under the ocean Narakasura was born on. As Hiranyaksha was evil Narakasura was naturally born evil and was expected to be more powerful. You can find the entire story here: hindumythologyforgennext.blogspot.com/2012/07/… – Raghavan RV Aug 25 '15 at 19:37
  • @RaghavanRV I think that link is wrong; the Brahma Purana says he was the son of Varaha. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 25 '15 at 19:58
  • Yes apart from that link I could not find anywhere else similar information. Also I found out that he wasn't killed by Bhagawan Sri Krishna but by Satyabama(incarnation of bhoomadevi). Naraka apparently got a boon from Brahma that he should die only at the hands of his mother. So Bhagawan Sri Krishna tricked him into being killed by an incarnation of his mother (Satyabama) – Raghavan RV Aug 25 '15 at 21:12
  • Also as to how he became evil you have yourself stated he came into contact with Banasura. I guess evil companionship is itself good enough to bring down any noble/good person. – Raghavan RV Aug 25 '15 at 21:19
  • @RaghavanRV No, Krishna killed Narakasura himself; see this chapter of the Srimad Bhagavatam: vedabase.com/en/sb/10/59 "Bhauma, frustrated in all his attempts, took up his trident to kill Lord Kṛṣṇa. But even before he could release it, the Lord cut off his head with His razor-sharp cakra as the demon sat atop his elephant." So I think that link is completely wrong. In any case, I still want to know what Hindu scripture says about Narakasura turning evil. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 25 '15 at 21:26

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