According to the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Jarasandha was a powerful king of Magadha. He was a descendant of a king Brihadratha, the creator of the Barhadratha dynasty of Magadha. According to Vayu Purana, the descendants of Brihadratha (Jarasandha's father) ruled Magadha for 2600 years followed by the Haryanka dynasty. He is ninth pratinarayana according to the Jain text Harivamsa Purana.

A painting from the Mahabharata Balabhadra fighting Jarasandha.jpg
Jarasandha fighting with Balarama, shown multiple times in the picture
ChildrenSahadeva and Jayatsen (sons)
Asti and Prapti (daughters, wives of Kamsa)
DynastyBrihadratha dynasty


The word Jarasandha has been explained as a combination of two Sanskrit words: Jara (जरा) and sandha (सन्ध), "joining". a demoness Jara picked the two halves of Jarasandha together after finding them near a tree. When the two halves came together, a boy was formed and cried loudly. Jara carried the son and returned it to the King. In return for saving Brihadratha's son, he was named Jarasandha after her. The meaning of Jarasandha is "the one who is joined by Jara".[1][2]

Birth and early lifeEdit

Birth of Jarasandha
Jara merges two parts of Jarasandha

Jarasandha's father, the king Brihadratha, was married to the twin daughters of the king of Kashi. Brihadratha loved both his wives equally but had no sons. The sage Chandakaushika visited his kingdom and gave fruit to the king as a boon. The king divided the fruit equally between both of his wives. Soon, both wives became pregnant and gave birth to two halves of a human body.[3] These two lifeless halves were very horrifying to view, so Brihadratha ordered them to be thrown in the forest. A demoness named Jara found the two halves and picked up one with her right hand, one with her left, holding each piece in her palm. When she brought both of her palms together, the two pieces joined, becoming a living child. The child cried loudly, which caused Jara to panic. Not having the heart to eat a living child, Jara took the baby to the king and explained to him all that had happened. The father was overjoyed to see his son.[4]

Chandakaushika arrived at the court and saved the child. He prophesied to Brihadratha that his son would be specially gifted and would be a great devotee of the god Shiva.[citation needed]

Conflicts with Balarama and KrishnaEdit

Battle between Balarama and Jarasandha. Illustration from a Bhagavata Purana series.

Kansa, the ruler of Mathura, acquired Jarasandha's attention. Impressed with his bravery, Jarasandha made Kansa his son-in-law by marrying off his two daughters. This makes Jarasandha a relative of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna killed Kansa as announced by a divine prophecy. Jarasandh got infuriated as his daughters were widowed. Thereafter, Jarasandha vowed to kill Krishna.[5] Jarasandha attacked Mathura with an army of 23 Akshohinis. His allies were Shishupala (Chedi), Bhagadatta (son of Narakasura of Pragjyotisha), Rukmi (Vidarbha), Vinda-Anuvinda (Avanti), Paundraka (Pundra), Dantavakra (Karusha), and others. But Krishna and Balarama easily destroyed the whole army, except for Jarasandha and his allies. A humiliated Jarasandha attacked Mathura 17 times but was repeatedly defeated.[6]

During the 18th attack, the Yavana king Kalayavana also attacked Mathura with a very huge army. With his yogic powers, Krishna summoned Vishwakarma and asked him to build an impregnable fortress on an island near the sea, which was done in no time and named Dwaraka. Krishna somehow dealt with Kalayavana and his army. When he and Balarama saw Jarasandha's army, they pretended to be afraid and started running away, with Jarasandha in hot pursuit. Reaching Mount Prasravana, the duo ascended the hill. Jarasandha set fire to the whole hill, but Krishna and Balarama escaped unscathed and went to Dwaraka.[7]

Later life and deathEdit

Bhima fights with Jarasandha

In the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata, Jarasandha fought with Karna after the Swayamvar of daughter (Bhanumati) of Chitrangada. After a tough fight, Karna defeated him. To please Karna, Jarasandha gifted him the land of Malini to rule.[8][9][10]

He was also a major hurdle before emperor Yudhishthira when the latter decided to perform the Rajasuya yajna. As Jarasandha was a powerful warrior, it was extremely necessary for Pandavas to eliminate him. Lord Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna disguised as Brahmins traveled to Magadha and met Jarasandha. After a formal meeting, Jarasandha enquired about their intentions. Krishna, Bhima, and Arjuna revealed their actual identification. Lord Krishna then challenged Jarasandha for a duel and gave him the freedom to choose any one belligerent. Jarasandha selected Bhima for a duel. Both Bhima and Jarasandha were accomplished wrestlers. The duel continued for several days and neither of them was willing to give up. Bhima overpowered Jarasandha after a long duel and almost took Jarasandha to death but Bhima was unable to kill Jarasandha. When Bhima looked at Krishna for guidance, Krishna picked a twig and dissected it into two halves, and threw the parts in opposite directions. Bhima complied with his instructions and dissected the body of Jarasandha. He threw the dissected parts in opposite directions. Jarasandha was killed as two halves of the body could not conjoin.[11]

Bhima slays Jarasandh in wrestling fight.

Jarasandha's son Sahadeva (not to be confused with youngest Pandava), was placed on the throne of Magadha and he agreed to be a vassal to the Pandavas. He was killed in the Kurukshetra war by Shakuni along with his cousin, Jayadeva.



  1. ^ "Jarasandha was a very powerful king of Magadha, and the history of his birth and activities is also very interesting - Vaniquotes". vaniquotes.org. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Mahabharat Episode 28: Jarasandha – Born Divided". sadhguru.org. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  3. ^ Gokhale, Namita (21 January 2013). The Puffin Mahabharata. Penguin UK. ISBN 978-93-5118-415-7.
  4. ^ Chandrakant, Kamala (1977). Krishna and Jarasandha. India Book House Ltd. pp. 3–5. ISBN 81-7508-080-9.
  5. ^ Banker, Ashok K. (20 August 2012). Rage Of Jarasandha. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-93-5029-590-8.
  6. ^ Gitananda, Swami. Srimad Bhagavata: The Book of Divine Love. Advaita Ashrama (A publication branch of Ramakrishna Math, Belur Math). ISBN 978-81-7505-837-8.
  7. ^ Gitananda, Swami. Srimad Bhagavata: The Book of Divine Love. Advaita Ashrama (A publication branch of Ramakrishna Math, Belur Math). ISBN 978-81-7505-837-8.
  8. ^ Mani, Vettam (1975). Puranic encyclopaedia : a comprehensive dictionary with special reference to the epic and Puranic literature. Robarts - University of Toronto. Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass. p. 346.
  9. ^ Mani, Vettam (1 January 2015). Puranic Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Work with Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0597-2.
  10. ^ Yadav, Karna (15 November 2017). Jaya Samhita: Book One: The Cause. Educreation Publishing.
  11. ^ Hudson, D. Dennis (25 September 2008). The Body of God: An Emperor's Palace for Krishna in Eighth-Century Kanchipuram. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-970902-1.


  • Gibbs, Laura. Ph.D. Jarasandha Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics.
  • Dowson, John (1820–1881). A classical dictionary of Hindu mythology and religion, geography, history, and literature. London: Trübner, 1879 [Reprint, London: Routledge, 1979]. ISBN 0-415-24521-4
  • Original Mahabharata by Shri Ved Vyasa
  • Gita press, Gorakhpur edition of Mahābhārata
  • Ramanand Sagar's "SHRI KRISHNA" serial
  • MRITYUNJAY-the story of Karna.

External linksEdit