How Krishna defeated Jarasandha by commanding the sea


‘Why’s that the path of Dharma is always laborious?’ mused Krishna lying on his grass bed in the remote Gomantaka Hill of Sahyadri Ranges. It was one of the dark new moon nights during dark times of Aryavarta. Krishna was revisiting his life for the past few months wherein the due course he was on a run along with his brother Balarama to escape the wrath of the Emperor Jarasandha, having slain their maternal uncle Kamsa, who happened to be Jarasandha’s son-in-law. How guided by Parshurama, they had found asylum in the unscalable but abundant Gomantaka, which was occupied by the Garuda tribe. Worrisome thoughts passed through his mind since Jarasandha and army reached the foothills of Gomantaka and camped there. He was fully aware that, though Gomantaka had steep, unscalable slopes and literally two men on the hill, could hold back an army for days, Jarasandha would find a way around.

His thoughts were abruptly interrupted by a loud screech from one of the young Garuda.’ What’s the matter?’ Krishna enquired sitting up.

‘They have set fire to the grass on the slope. We will be reduced to ashes!’ exclaimed the Garuda. The slopes of the hill right up to the top were covered with dry grass. Jarasandha and King Damaghosha brainstormed over this fact and decided to set fire to the dry grass from the foothills.

Led by the Garuda, Krishna-Balarama rushed to the edge of the Plateau. A strong breeze was blowing and the approaches to the hill were enveloped in a terrible conflagration. Cries of distress rose amongst the distressed populace of the Garuda Tribe. They started pleading with Krishna for help since they believed that Krishna possessed magical powers. Apparently, they were right!

‘Come with me all men and women with your torches and weapons like clubs, plows etc. We will quench the fire! ’Krishna commanded. Everyone followed him to rear part of the hill facing the sea which was roaring beneath them at high tide, awestruck by the divine transformation he underwent. He led them to two ridges which were actually man-made dams. A little scraping uncovered the walls of unhewn stones. Under Krishna’s instructions, everyone applied himself to breach the wall. With some efforts, breaches were made on both the walls thus allowing the sea to reclaim the land it had lost once.

Krishna did not spend all these months on Gomantaka in Vain. He had surveyed and explored the Hill thoroughly. One of his explorations uncovered these ridges/dams which had opened up the possibility of making Gomantaka still more invulnerable if needed. Ages ago, evidently, Gomantaka was a sea-girt hill. The ancestors of Garuda found it difficult to cross over to the mainland. They had, therefore, built dams of unhewn stones to keep the Sea back on both the sides and as a result, the hill was assimilated into the mainland causing a depression around the hill, which was on fire. Finally, it was being reclaimed by sea quenching the fire. This superhuman resourcefulness of Krishna eventually elevated him to a divine status who could command the sea to quench the fire.

Indian stories are allegorical in nature and this story is no exception. We have covered walls within us, holding back the sea of knowledge/wisdom. We need to uncover and breach them the way Krishna did it.


  1. A war broke out between two parties with Krishna, Balarama, Garudas on one side and Jarasandha with his army on the other side. Krishna orchestrates the war brilliantly, defeating Rukmi and killing a warrior called Gonard while routing the army of the Emperor. A duel broke out between Jarasandha and Balarama in which Balarama had an upper hand. Eventually, Balarama prevailed over him and while he was about to smash Jarasandha’s skull, Krishna arrested his mace in mid-air and said ‘Let us not kill the emperor in a personal fight. His time has not come as of yet.’
  2. I have taken some creative liberty to express Krishna’s musings in the beginning.

Prasad Kulkarni is a Data and Analytics professional. At work, he analyses historical data and ponders over historical events otherwise.

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