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.

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    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/… Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 19:37
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    @RaghavanRV I think that link is wrong; the Brahma Purana says he was the son of Varaha. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 19:58
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    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) Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 21:12
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    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. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 21:19
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    @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. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 21:26

3 Answers 3


As per 3rd Canto, Chapter-3 and Verse-6 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) the commentator says that it was due to bad association with Banasura that he became evil and was killed by the Lord himself as Krishna.

सुतं मृधे खं वपुषा ग्रसन्तं
दृष्ट्वा सुनाभोन्मथितं धरित्र्या ।
आमन्त्रितस्तत्तनयाय शेषं
दत्त्वा तदन्त:पुरमाविवेश ॥ ६ ॥

sutaṁ mṛdhe khaṁ vapuṣā grasantaṁ
dṛṣṭvā sunābhonmathitaṁ dharitryā
āmantritas tat-tanayāya śeṣaṁ
dattvā tad-antaḥ-puram āviveśa


Narakāsura, the son of Dharitrī, the earth, tried to grasp the whole sky, and for this he was killed by the Lord in a fight. His mother then prayed to the Lord. This led to the return of the kingdom to the son of Narakāsura, and thus the Lord entered the house of the demon.


It is said in other Purāṇas that Narakāsura was the son of Dharitrī, the earth, by the Lord Himself. But he became a demon due to the bad association of Bāṇa, another demon. An atheist is called a demon, and it is a fact that even a person born of good parents can turn into a demon by bad association. Birth is not always the criterion of goodness; unless and until one is trained in the culture of good association, one cannot become good.

The full story about how Krishna killed Narakāsura is given in the 10th Canto Chapter 59th.


The story is as follows:- Once Narkasur inspired by his desires wanted to marry Devi Kamakhya. Goddess playfully put a condition before h that if he able to build a staircase from the bottom of nilachal hills to the temple within one night before the cock crowd to indicate dawn, then she would surely marry him. Narak accepted and tried al with his might but to do this huge task. He was almost about to accomplish the task before it was dawn. When Kamakhya Devi got this news she made a cock to crow to the impression of dawn to naraka. Duped by the trick even naraka thought that it was afutile job and left it half way through. Later he chased the cock and killed it. Now the place is known as kukurkata situated in Darrang. The incomplete staircase is known as Makhelauja path.

Drunk with the power,as he knew himself to be unrivelled in prowess, he conquered all kingdoms on earth. Then he went to conquere swarglok. Indra could not withstand to the assault of this mighty son of Vishnu and flew to lord Vishnu. Narakasyr became the lord of heaven and earth. Addicted to power he stole the wealth of Aditi, the mother of gods and kidnapped 16000 apsaras. After this, Indra and Devas went to vishnu to ask him to deliver them from Narakasur. Vishnu promised to attend this matter in Krishna incarnation. Further we all know that he was killed by Krishna before the Diwali.

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    Welcome to Hinduism SE. Answers on this site should be cited with references from Holy texts like Vedas, Puranas, Upnishads, etc. There are several folklores that might/might not be true, we cannot check the authenticity of the same. So Hinduism SE goes by the way of references from books/scriptures in oder to make the answer more reliable.
    – Aby
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 8:17

There is a mention of demon Naraka who was killed by Vishnu in the Valmiki Ramayana. Kishkinda kand. Section 42, verse 31.How was he killed again by Krishna. Or are these two different stories.?

  • Two different Narakas. Sugriva mentions Naraka as still ruling in Pragjyotishpura. Commented Jan 26 at 12:50
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    If you have a new question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. Include a link to this question if it helps provide context. - From Review Commented Jan 26 at 14:22

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