Pradyumna (Sanskrit: प्रद्युम्न) is the eldest son of the Hindu deities Krishna and Rukmini. Pradyumna is considered one of the four vyuha avatars of Vishnu. According to the Bhagavata Purana (Canto 10, Chapter 55), Pradyumna was an incarnation of Kamadeva, the God of love. However Mahabharata mentions that Pradyumna was reincarnation of Sanat Kumara

Narada (left) and Krishna - Rukmini (right) welcome Pradyumna and Mayavati (centre).
AffiliationAvatar of Kamadeva
Personal information
SpouseMayavati, Rukmavati and Prabhavati
Pradyumna, holding a bow and an arrow, in the Kondamotu Vrishni heroes relief, 4th century CE.

The Harivamsa describes intricate relationships between the Vrishni heroes Krishna Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, that would later form a Vaishnava concept of primary quadrupled expansion, or avatar.

Pradyumna is also a name of the Hindu god Vishnu. He is one in 24 Keshava Namas (names), praised in all pujas. It is also the only name in Sanskrit with all the 3 letters joint (referred to as जोडाक्षर). धृष्टद्युम्न, Dhṛṣṭadyumna also is of all joint letters.

Birth and early lifeEdit

Pradyumna Kills Sambara.

Pradyumna was the son of Lord Krishna and the 61st grandson of Adinarayan. His mother was Rukmini, whom Lord Krishna had abducted from Vidarbha on her invitation. Pradyumna was born in Dvaraka. He was the incarnate of the demigod Kamdeva. He had been burnt to ashes formerly by the anger of Lord Shiva.

According to the Bhagavata Purana, within a span of 10 days of Pradyumna's birth, he was abducted by the demon Shambara. He was then cast into the sea by the demon called Shambharasura and swallowed by a fish. Under the protection of Lord Krishna, the child was safe inside the fish. That fish was then caught by some fishermen, as the fish was so big in size, the fishermen decided to gift that fish to the king who was Shambharasura and get rewards for it. They went to the Shambharasura's palace and gifted that fish to Shambharasura. He awarded those fishermen and took that fish. When he called his cook, the cook took that fish to his home for making dinner for the people in king's palace. The wife of that cook was Bhanamati, who didn't have any child, but she eagerly wanted one and she was also a devotee of Lord Vishnu. She was praying to Vishnu for having a child. When the cook arrived home, he called his wife to help him cut the fish in order to cook it. Then an infant was found inside the fish and Bhanamati decided to adopt that baby as she didn't have any child and Bhanamati strongly believed that this was sent by Lord Vishnu as she was praying for a child. Then the cook and his wife took that child which was found inside of fish to the king Shambharasura. Shambharasura himself did name that child as "Pradyumna". But all the Gods wanted Shambharasura to be dead as soon as possible, so they ordered Bhanamati to grow Pradyumna from child to teen in a really short time by using a process called "Rasayankriya". Bhanamati knew how to use and perform this process called "Rasayankriya" because in her prior birth, she was a nymph and had been granted a boon from Lord Vishnu, which could make her be able to perform Rasayankriya. But, as she performed the Rasayankriya on the young children of a sage without his consent, the young children of that sage ended up becoming teenagers within a short period of time. Bhanamati had done this just to ensure that, she had the ability to perform the Rasayankriya. As this was done without the consent of that sage, he was angry at her and in the rage of anger he cursed Bhanamati that she would get her next birth in Asuraloka (The world of demons). This was the reason why Bhanamati was the wife of a cook who used to serve the king of demons called "Shambharasura". Bhanamati performed Rasayankriya on Pradyumna and grew him up from a child to a teenager in a short while, by using Rasayankriya. She also taught him Mayavi vidya (Elusive Science), as Mayavi vidya was necessary to learn, in order to kill the demon Shambharasura. After learning Mayavi vidya from Bhanamati, Pradyumna started killing assistants of Shambharasura one by one. Then he confronted the son of Shambharasura named "Kumbhaketu". In a brawl between them, Pradyumna was hit by a weapon of Kumbhaketu and fainted. But it seemed to Kumbhaketu as if Pradyumna was dead, so he returned to the palace and told his father Shambharasura that he had killed Pradyumna. Then, Shambharasura along with all other members of the palace, celebrated the feat of Kumbhaketu. Here, Bhanamati approached Pradyumna and she was one sad lot, after seeing Pradyumna unconscious. She begged to all the gods mainly three gods called Yaksha, Gandharva, Vishnu. They all agreed to revive the Pradyumna from the unconsciousness, for the welfare of Trilok (Three different worlds, heaven, abysm/inferno/abyss/hell, earth), as the slaying of the demon was designated by the hands of Pradyumna which was the plan of principal deities. When Pradyumna was revived, Naradmuni appeared in front of Pradyumna and helped him by telling a secret of Kumbhaketu. That secret was, Kumbhaketu would be invincible as long as the fire in the oblation/immolation was kept burning, this was because the wife of Kumbhaketu, "Kamini" had granted a boon from Yamdev (God of Death) that as long as the fire in the oblation keeps on burning, no one would be able to kill her husband Kumbhaketu. The next day Pradyumna challenged the Kumbhaketu again, but Pradyumna was having hard time to conquer Kumbhaketu. Then he realized the secret that Naradmuni had told him. Then, Pradyumna played a trick to the Kamini who was the wife of Kumbhaketu. Pradyumna created a Mayavi (Fake) Shambharasura and send him to the room of Kamini, then that Mayavi (fake) Shambharasura told Kamini that Kumbhaketu has been killed by Pradyumna, after hearing this Kamini went nuts and started weeping. She started cursing Yamdev and she herself quenched the burning fire with water as she thought that Yamdev deceived her, and couldn't save her husband Kumbhaketu regardless that she kept the fire in the oblation burning. But, as soon as she quenched the fire, the Yamdev appeared in front of her and told her the real truth and also warned her that no one now would be able to save her husband Kumbhaketu. Kamini the wife of Kumbhaketu now had understood the Maya of Pradyumna and the Mayavi (fake) Shambharasura and she regreted what just she did. But it was of no use as the fire was now quenched, Kumbhaketu was no longer invincible, that allowed Pradyumna to conquer him. Pradyumna killed Kumbhaketu, son of Shambharasura. Now Shambharasura was burning in the rage and he took oath to kill the Pradyumna and take the revenge of death of his son. Bhanamati knew that all the Mayavi vidya that she had taught Pradyumna wouldn't be enough to kill the demon Shambharasura. Because Bhanamati knew that Shambharasura had a weapon granted from the Parvati Goddess. So she and Pradyumna approached Goddess Parvati and requested her to make weapon ineffective when Shambharasura uses those weapons as killing Shambharasura is necessary for the welfare of Trilok (Three different worlds, heaven, abysm/inferno/abyss/hell, earth). The Goddess Parvati agreed to them and told them that in case Shambharasura uses the same weapon that she had granted him it will be ineffective to Pradyumna. The next day in the battle when Pradyumna and Shambharasura go toe to toe against each other, Shambharasura uses the weapon that the Goddess Parvati had granted him, but as promised by Parvati, that weapon shows no signs of any effect on Pradyumna. After watching this Shambharasura goes crazy and imprecates curses to the Goddess. Shambharasura starts to have fight with Pradyumna with all his might and Maya. When Pradyumna was about to kill the Shambharasura, Shambharasura plays a trick on him, Shambharasura creates a Mayavi (fake) Bhanamati and makes her look like as if she's subdued by his soldiers and asking Pradyumna for help. Pradyumna panics as he sees it, now Bhanamati was subdued, and any wrong steps by Pradyumna would take his mother's life at any moment. He regrets that he didn't know how to save his mother who taught him Mayavi vidya in the first place. Pradyumna puts a deal to Shambharasura and says , "if you want to kill me, then here you go take my life, but leave my mother at all costs". Shambharasura creates a funeral stage for Pradyumna and subdues him, ties him with ropes using his Maya and puts Pradyumna on the funeral and leaves him to burn to ashes, but as soon as Pradyumna lies on the funeral bed, tied with ropes he sees his mother Bhanamati up in the skies, telling him to recognize the real and fight for his Dharma. Pradyumna now realizes that this was maya of Shambharasura and he instantly stands up and using his almighty powers breaks all the ropes he was tied with and starts to fight with Shambharasura again. They have a really brutal fight, but within some time, Pradyumna struggles to defeat the demon Shambharasura. Then suddenly Indra (King of heaven) appears in front of him and tells him, "defeating Shambharasura isn't as easy as it seems to be. Cause the demon Shambharasura has the capability to even defeat the Gods and you don't have any weapon or Astra (a weapon that manifests on chanting a specific Mantra) to defeat Shambharasura." Indra tells him to use the powerful weapon called "Vaishnav Astra" and Indra hands that weapon to Pradyumna. Indra also tells Pradyumna that he is also doing this for his self-interest as Shambharasura was also looking to grab the throne of heaven and Indra didn't want to lose his throne. Now with the "Vaishnav Astra" in the hands, Pradyumna didn't waste a second and points the Astra towards the demon Shambharasura and shoots, the weapon (Astra) goes ripping off the neck of the demon Shambharasura taking apart his head and thus putting an end to his life.[1][2]


Pradyumna's first wife was Mayavati, the incarnation of Kama's wife Rati. At first Pradyumna objected, but he was convinced when she told him that she was destined to marry him.[3] He also married the Rukmavati, the daughter of his maternal uncle, Rukmi. It is said that Rukmavati found his valor, handsomeness and charm beyond words and insisted on marrying him at her swayamvara. With her, he fathered, Krishna's grandson and favourite, also considered a vyuha avatar of Vishnu, Aniruddha. Prabhavati was an asura princess, she fell in love with Pradyumna and he eloped with her.[4]

Role in DvarkaEdit

Balarama is embraced Yudhisthira with Akrura and Pradyumna and went to Pilgrimage.

Soon after Pradyumna became a constant companion of his father Krishna and was well liked by the people of Dvaraka. Pradyumna was a mighty Maharathi warrior. He possessed the extremely rare Vaishnavastra which is one of the most powerful weapon in the universe. Also he was one of the very few people to know the secret of the Chakravyuha. According to Mahabharata, Pradyumna trained Abhimanyu and Upapandavas in warfare, when the Pandavas were in exile. But Pradyumna did not participate in the Kurukshetra War as he went on a pilgrimage with his uncle Balarama and other Yadavas.[5] But he was an active participant In Ashwamedha Yagna which was later conducted by Yudishthira.

Defending DwarkaEdit

Pradyumna defended Dwarka against Shalva, the king of Salwa Kingdom, along with his father, uncle and brothers. In the Harivamsa, Pradyumna alone repelled the attack of Jarasandha.


Pradyumna was later killed in an intoxicated brawl, along with all the other members of the Yadava dynasty. His grandson Vajra was the only survivor of the Yadu dynasty after this incident.[6]


The Makara, as the one found on a pillar capital at the site of the Heliodorus pillar, is associated with Pradyumna.[7][8][9][10] 2nd century BCE.[11] Gwalior Museum.[12][8]

One of the epithets of Pradyuma in literature, such as in Harivamsa 99, is "Makaradhvaja", meaning "he whose banner or standard is the crocodile".[13] A pillar capital with the effigy of a Makara crocodile found at Besnagar near the Heliodorus pillar dedicated to Vasudeva, is also attributed to Pradyumna.[13] In Mahabharata too, the Makara is associated with Krishna's son and Kamadeva, the God of Love, suggesting they are identical.[13]


As per the Bhagavata Purana, Canto 10, Chapter 61, Aniruddha was the son of Pradyumna and Rukmavati.[14] He was later abducted by Usha (daughter of Bana Daitya and granddaughter of Mahabali), who wished to marry him.[15] Usha's father, Banasura, however imprisoned Aniruddha, creating a battle between Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva. In the battle, Pradyumna defeated Shiva's son Kartikeya, who fled on his peacock. At the end of the war, Banasura lost and Aniruddha and Usha were married.[16] (See Canto 10, Chapter 62-63 of the Bhagavata Purana)

Aniruddha is said to have been very much like his grandfather Krishna, to the extent that some consider him to be a jana avatar, avatar of Vishnu. Aniruddha's son was Vajra. Vajra was known to be an invincible warrior and was the only survivor of the Yadu Dynasty after the Yadus' battle. According to some sources, Vajra then had 16 idols of Krishna and other gods carved from a rare, imperishable stone called Braja and built temples to house these idols in and around Mathura so as to feel the presence of Lord Krishna. It is said that Pradyumna and Arjuna were equivalent in their skills.


The Hindu version of the history of Pradyumna is mentioned in Bhagavata Purana (Canto 10, Chapters 55; Canto 11, Chapter 30).

The Jain version of the story of Pradyumna is mentioned in the Pradyumna-charitra (poem in 18 canons) of Rajchandra, written in 1878 AD.[17]

Vyūhas Image Attributes Symbol[21][22] Direction Face Concept
Vāsudeva   Chakra Wheel
Gadā Mace
Shanka Conch
Garuda Eagle   East Saumya
(Placid/ benevolent)
  Bala Strength
Samkarsana   Lāṅgala Plough
Musala Pestle
Wine glass
Tala Fan palm   South Simha Lion   Jṅāna Knowledge
Pradyumna   Cāpa Bow
Bāṇa Arrow
Makara Crocodile   West Raudra Kapila   Aiśvaryā Sovereignty
Aniruddha   Carma Shield
Khaḍga Sword
Ṛṣya (ऋष्य) White-footed antelope North Varaha Boar   Śakti Power


  1. ^ Ph.D, Lavanya Vemsani (13 June 2016). Krishna in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Hindu Lord of Many Names: An Encyclopedia of the Hindu Lord of Many Names. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-61069-211-3.
  2. ^ "Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10 - Chapter 55".
  3. ^ Benton, Catherine (1 June 2006). God of Desire: Tales of Kamadeva in Sanskrit Story Literature. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-6566-0.
  4. ^ Ph.D, Lavanya Vemsani (13 June 2016). Krishna in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Hindu Lord of Many Names: An Encyclopedia of the Hindu Lord of Many Names. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-61069-211-3.
  5. ^ Saraswati, Swami Vidyanand. Droupadi Ka Chirharan Aur Shrikrishan (in Hindi). Kitabghar Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-88118-64-9.
  6. ^ "Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 11 - Chapter 30".
  7. ^ Indian History. Allied Publishers. 1988. p. A-222. ISBN 978-81-8424-568-4.
  8. ^ a b Ayyar, Sulochana (1987). Costumes and Ornaments as Depicted in the Sculptures of Gwalior Museum. Mittal Publications. p. 13. ISBN 978-81-7099-002-4.
  9. ^ Gupta, Vinay K. "Vrishnis in Ancient Literature and Art". Indology's Pulse Arts in Context, Doris Meth Srinivasan Festschrift Volume, Eds. Corinna Wessels Mevissen and Gerd Mevissen with Assistance of Vinay Kumar Gupta: 81.
  10. ^ Austin, Christopher R. (2019). Pradyumna: Lover, Magician, and Scion of the Avatara. Oxford University Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-19-005412-0.
  11. ^ VIENNOT, Odette (1958). "Le Makara dans la Décoration des Monuments de l'Inde Ancienne : Positions et Fonctions". Arts Asiatiques. 5 (3): 184. JSTOR 43484068.
  12. ^ Visible in the back of the image entitled "Lion capital – Udayagiri – 5th century": "Gujari Mahal State Archaeological Museum – Gwalior". Kevin Standage. 15 April 2019.
  13. ^ a b c Austin, Christopher R. (2019). Pradyumna: Lover, Magician, and Son of the Avatara. Oxford University Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-19-005411-3.
  14. ^ "Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10 - Chapter 61".
  15. ^ "Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10 - Chapter 62".
  16. ^ "Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10 - Chapter 63".
  17. ^ Krishnamachariar 1989, p. 294.
  18. ^ Atherton, Cynthia Packert (1997). The Sculpture of Early Medieval Rajasthan. BRILL. p. 78. ISBN 978-90-04-10789-2.
  19. ^ A Comprehensive History of India: pt. 1-2. A.D. 300-985. Orient Longmans. 1982. p. 866.
  20. ^ Parlier-Renault, Edith (2007). Temples de l'Inde méridionale: VIe-VIIIe siècles. La mise en scène des mythes. Presses Paris Sorbonne. pp. 38–42. ISBN 978-2-84050-464-1.
  21. ^ "A shrine of Aniruddha, the fourth of the 'vyuhas', which had within its precincts a 'rsyadhvaja', i. e. a column bearing on its top the figure of a 'rsya' or a white antelope which was his characteristic 'lanchana'." in Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art. Indian Society of Oriental Art. 1937. p. 16.
  22. ^ Gupta, Vinay K. "Vrishnis in Ancient Literature and Art". Indology's Pulse Arts in Context, Doris Meth Srinivasan Festschrift Volume, Eds. Corinna Wessels Mevissen and Gerd Mevissen with Assistance of Vinay Kumar Gupta: 80–81.


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