Gatekeepers and Lord Vishnu’s Avatars

The following is a legend which gives the reason for the birth of some famous asuras (demons) and why they got the good fortune of being killed by Lord Vishnu’s various avatars/incarnations.

Once Lord Mahavishnu told his two gatekeepers (dwarapalakas) that he is going to take rest. After a while the holy seven sages (saptarishis) approached Lord Vishnu’s abode to meet him. But, the gatekeepers refused to let the sages meet Lord Vishnu. The sages asked thrice to be allowed to go meet Lord Vishnu but the gatekeepers refused. The sages, who are revered by all the gods, got angered and cursed the gatekeepers saying “may you be born thrice as asuras”. By this time Lord Vishnu came outside and upon seeing the holy sages, invited them inside. The gatekeepers were terrified and fell at Lord Vishnu’s feet to seek shelter from the curse of the holy sages. Lord Vishnu pacified them and said “do not worry, in every birth that you take as an asura, i myself will come and kill you, hence letting you have mokshs(liberation) from the sins you commit as asuras in each birth”. The gatekeepers thanked Lord Vishnu for his compassion and apologised to the holy sages.
Thus the two gatekeepers were born as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu, who were killed by Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Varaha and Lord Narasimha. Then they were born as Raavana and Kumbhakarna, who were killed by Lord Vishnu as Lord Rama. Then they were finally born as Kamsa and Banasura (a close confidante of Kamsa) who were killed by Lord Vishnu as Lord Krishna.
Please do share any information you know related to this legend, in the comments. Om

4 thoughts on “Gatekeepers and Lord Vishnu’s Avatars

  • October 24, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Banasura was not killed by Lord Krishna; on the contrary the asura was blessed with another 1000 years of life. Being a descendant of Bhakta Prahlada, Banasura was under the protection of Lord Vishnu (Prahlada and his descendants) and Lord Shiva out of his own devotion.

  • October 24, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Dear 'Anonymous',

    According to the legend which i mentioned above, it is stated that Banasura was under the protection of Lord Shiva (as you have mentioned) out of his own devotion…but it is then explained that Lord Vishnu engages in battle with the troops of Lord Shiva (shiva gana), and then at last Lord Vishnu succeeds in defeating Lord Shiva's troops and then kills Banasura…As i mentioned, it is a 'legend', and legends vary from region to region…the one which i hav mentioned was told during a 'Bhagvatha Saptaha'[7 day recitation of Bhagvatha with explanation]…it was held in a temple by a reputed scholar of the scriptures (I do not remember the exact name of the person, sorry)…and yes Banasura was a descendant of Prahlada…and so was the King Mahabali, who was vanquished by being pushed into pathala by Lord Vishnu in the Vamana avatar…it was also mentioned by the scholar that during Vamana avatar, Prahlad witnessed from the heavens , Mahabali being immersed into Pathala and then praised Lord Vishnu for blessing his descendant directly…

  • October 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

    The two cursed door-keepers of MahaVishnu, who were 'relieved' of their curse by Lord Krishna, were 'Kamsa & Sishupala'.

    This is what 'Srimadbhagavatham' says about the battle with Banasura (Canto 10 Part 3 Chapter 63) Banasura seeing his troops torn apart, left Satyaki whom he was fighting aside, crossed with his chariot the battlefield and most furiously attacked Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna cuts all but two hands of the asura and Lord Shiva, out of his compassion, intervenes to save the life of his devotee. Lord Krishna says to Lord Shiva, "This son of Virocana (King MahaBali), will be spared by Me, for I gave Prahlada the benediction: 'Your descendants will not be killed by Me'. His arms were severed to subdue his pride and his huge military force was slain because it had become a burden to the earth. your devotee is my devotee too and Banasura has nothing more to fear". King Mahabali was 'pushed' into pathala (but not killed and hence there was no break of the benediction) and that too with the blessing that he wil be the next 'Indra' in the following 'Mannuanthara'.

  • October 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you 'Anonymous' for your comment…personally , i too have read that the second relieved gatekeeper was Shishupala…who was killed by Lord Krishna in the assembly of kings when Shishupala kept insulting Lord Krishna…Lord Krishna had given Shishupala's mother a promise that Krishna would forgive 100 sins of Shishupala…Shishupala was said to be born with four hands and a third eye, and used to howl terribly as a child…upon the birth of shishupala, there was a heavenly message that shishupala would be a normal child when he is placed in his killer's hands…thus shishupala became normal when he was placed in Lord Krishna's lap…that is when Lord Krishna gave the promise upon the request of Shishupala's mother…

    I wrote Banasura instead of Shishupala since it was stated by a scholar of various scriptures…Om


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