Dantavakra was an evil king who was the last incarnation of Vishnu’s gatekeeper Vijaya. He lived during the Mahabharata era and ruled over Karusha. He developed a great enmity with Lord Krishna. Ultimately, in a foolish attempt to attack Dwarka, he was slain by Krishna.
- Father: Vriddhasharma
- Mother: Shrutadeva
- Brothers: Viduratha, Vasudana, Neela, Brihanta
Dantavakra’s Past Births
This story is in the Bhagavata Purana, Canto 7, Chapter 1
One day, four naked children arrived at the gates of Vishnu’s palace. At that time, two brothers Jaya and Vijaya were Vishnu’s gatekeepers. When they saw the naked children, they began laughing hysterically. “What are you doing here, naked children? Do you know who’s palace this is? This is the palace of the Lord himself. We can’t let you in!” they barked.
But Jaya and Vijaya weren’t aware of the children’s true identity. These four children were none other than the four Kumaras, eternal child ascetics. They were the sons of Lord Brahma himself. Upon hearing Jaya-Vijaya’s comment, the four Kumaras were incensed. They cursed:
You serve Lord Vishnu; yet, you’re arrogant and ignorant. Because of this, you each will be born on Earth three times. In all of your births, you will be born as evil brothers, and will be slain by an avatar of Lord Vishnu!– The Four Kumaras’ Curse on Jaya-Vijaya
Thus, the two brothers were born on Earth three times. In their first birth, they were born as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. In their second birth, they were Ravana and Kumbhakarna. Finally in their last birth, they were born as Shishupala and Dantavakra.
This story is the Bhagavata Purana, Canto 9, Chapter 24
King Surasena of Mathura had five daughters: Pritha (Kunti), Shrutadeva, Shrutakirti, Shrutashrava, and Rajadhidevi. Soon, Shrutadeva married Vriddhasharma, the king of Karusha Kingdom. They had a son named Dantavakra.
This story is in the Mahabharata, Sabha Parva, Chapters 13 and 28
Soon, Vriddhasharma passed away and Dantavakra rightfully inherited the throne. At that time, Jarasandha of Magadha was rising to power. He had gained many allies in the Gangetic region. Dantavakra, Shishupala, and others all joined forces with him. Dantavakra took part in many of Jarasandha’s military campaigns. He developed great enmity with Lord Krishna. Years later, Jarasandha was killed by Bhima. King Yudhishthira then decided to perform the Rajasuya yagna. He sent his brothers to collect tribute from various kingdoms. Sahadeva, the youngest Pandava, attacked the south. He defeated Dantavakra and forced him to pay tribute. Afterwards, he reinstated Dantavakra as the king of Karusha.
Krishna Slays Dantavakra
This story is in the Bhagavata Purana, Canto 10, Chapter 78
After Emperor Jarasandha’s death, many of his allies wanted to take revenge and attacked Krishna. Shishupala was slain during the Rajasuya Yagna. Soon after, Paundraka Vasudeva and King Salva both died attacking Krishna. When Dantavakra heard of his friends’ deaths, he was deeply perturbed. His spite for Krishna increased day by day. Without thinking, Dantavakra set out for Dwarka, eager to attack Krishna. He went alone and didn’t even use a chariot; he walked on foot. The only weapon he had was a steel mace.
Krishna learned that Dantavakra had challenged him. He grabbed a mace and met Dantavakra outside the gates of Dwarka. Seeing Krishna, Dantavakra said, “I am so lucky to face you today. You have killed my friends, and now you want to kill me. But today, I will kill you and take revenge for my friends.
Dantavakra rushed at Krishna and hit his head with his mace. But Krishna did not even stir. Krishna silently raised his Kaumodaki mace. He slammed the mace on his enemy’s chest. Dantavakra’s heart was shattered. He coughed out blood and in moments, he was lying on the ground, dead.
When Dantavakra’s brother Viduratha learned that his brother had died, he went to Dwarka and confronted Krishna. However, Krishna chopped off Viduratha’s head with his Sudarshana Chakra.
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