Akrura (Akrūra) was a chief of king Kamsa, an ancient people of India, and a descendant of the Vrishni kula (clan). He is worshipped as Shri Akrurji Maharaj by the present-day Varshney community and is also known as Babrhu. The life of Akrura is depicted in the ancient Indian texts known as the Puranas.
Akrura (whose name derives from the Sanskrit akrur, meaning "who is not cruel") was one of twelve sons born to Śvaphalka and Gāndinī.[nb 1] Śvaphalka was a son of Prsni and Gāndinīa was a daughter of the king of Kashi. Though sections of the relevant Puranas are missing, and remaining ones are unclear,[nb 2] there is a general recognition that a direct line of descent exists from Yadu through Krostu, Satvata, Vrishni, Yudhājit and then to Prsni, Śvaphalka and Akrura. In Vrishni, Akrura shared the same great-great-grandfather as Krishna.
Akrura married Sutanu, who was the daughter of Ahuka, and with her had two sons, Devaka and Updevaka.[nb 3] He reigned at Dvārakā and Pargiter believes that this was the family's chiefdom as far back as Vrishni.
Kamsa ruled over the area as king, being based in the capital at Mathura. Prophesied to be killed by The Lord Krishna, he ordered Akrura to go and invite the cowherd to Mathura. He ,thus, had a desire to see Krishna and Baladeva, his brother, killed. Kamsa was earlier witness to "akaash vani", a celestial announcement from the sky, suggesting that he would meet his end from the eighth of the Devaki's sons - Krishna. To achieve this end he ordered Akrura to bring them from Ambadi, where they were staying, on the pretext of an invitation to view a ceremony known as "worshipping the bow".
Akrura in Hindu scripturesEdit
Śvaphalka, of the Vrsni dynasty, married Nandini, daughter of the king of Kasi, and Akrura was born to them. Akrura was an uncle of Krishna but is respected more as a worshipper of Krishna. He is mentioned in Hindu scriptures in the following ways.
- He rose to fame as a commander of the Yadava army. (Chapter 220 of Adi Parva, Mahabharat).
- Akrura was also present for the Swayamvara (wedding) of Draupadi. (Sloka 18, Chapter 185 of Adi Parva, Mahabharat).
- At the time that Arjuna eloped with Subhadra, a grand festival was being held in the Raivataka mountain, which Akrura partook in (Sloka 10, Chapter 218, Adi Parva, Mahabharat).
- Akrura accompanied Krishna to the marriage of Subhadra (Sloka 29, Chapter 220, Adi Parva, Mahabharat).
- Akrura came to Upaplavya to attend the marriage of Abhimanyu. (Sloka 22, chapter 72, Virata Parva, Mahabharat).
- Akrura and Ahuka always quarrelled with each other. Both accused the other of siding with the camp of Krishna (Sloka 9 to 11, Chapter 81, Santi Parva, Mahabharat).
- Kamsa, who was planning to kill Balarama and Krishna, conducted a festival called Capapuja (worship of the bow). Akura was sent by Kamsa to bring Balarama and Krishna to the festival. Akrura saw through the plot, informed Krishna about it and advised him to kill Kamsa (Dasama Skandha, Bhagvata).
- Akrura fought against Jarasandha, alongside Krishna (Dashama Skandha, Bhagvata).
- On another occasion Krishna, Balarama and Uddhava sent Akura to Hastinapura to gather news about Kunti and the Pandavas. Akura met Vasudev's sister Kunti and the king of Hastinapura, Dhritarashtra, and talked to them, after which he returned to Dvaraka (Dashama Skandha, Bhagvata).
- Akrura married Sutanu, daughter of Ahuka, and had two sons named Devaka and Upadevaka (Navama Skandha, Bhagvata).
Shri Akrura Maharaj TemplesEdit
Akrura Ghat is one of the bathing ghats at Vrindavan, Mathura district. This is the place where Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama are believed to have revealed their forms of Lord Vishnu and Sesha Naga to Akrura. The text Adi Varaha Purana illustrates Akrura Ghat as the king of all holy places.
One of the major attractions is an ancient Gopi Nath temple dedicated to Krishna and Balarama. Akrura is depicted standing in between the two. It is believed that one can eradicate all his sins by bathing here during a full moon.
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- Gāndinī is also known as Nandini.
- One example of the difficulties regarding clarity is that Vrishni had two sons who shared the same name.
- Devaka is also known as Devavat, and Updevaka as Upadeva.
- Garg, pp. 305-306.
- Pargiter, p. 107, 280.
- Pargiter, p. 104.
- Pargiter, pp. 102-109.
- Pargiter, p. 280.
- Swami, p. 782.
- Garg, Gaṅgā Rām (1992). Encyclopaedia of the Hindu world, Volume 2. Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 978-81-7022-375-7.
- Pargiter, F. E. (1922). Ancient Indian Historical Tradition. Oxford University Press.
- Parmeshwaranand, Swami (2001). Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Puranas, Volume 3. Sarup & Sons. ISBN 978-81-7625-226-3.