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Home  |  Mortals   |  Indian Mortals   |  Kamsa : The Evil Uncle

Kamsa : The Evil Uncle

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At a glance

Description
Origin Indian Mythology
Classification Mortals
Family Members Ugrasena (Father), Padmavati (Mother), Devaki (Cousin), Krishna (Nephew), Balarama (Nephew), Jarasandha (Father in Law)
Region India
Associated With Wrestling, Royalty

Kamsa

Introduction

Kamsa, the ruler of Mathura, met his demise at the hands of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. This narrative unfolds within the pages of the Mahabharata, Srimad Bhagavad Purana, and various other Hindu scriptures. He emerged as the son of Ugrasena from Mathura and held the position of being the uncle of Sri Krishna, earning him the moniker “Kans Mama.”

According to the Vishnu Purana, Kamsa’s previous incarnation was that of an asura named Kalanemi, who met his end at the hands of Bhagvan Vishnu. Kamsa stood as the despotic ruler of the Vrishni realm, with its epicenter situated in Mathura. Hindu literature presents diverse perspectives on his nature, depicting him alternately as both a human and an asura. The Puranas classify him as an asura, while the Harivamśa introduces him as an asura reborn within a human form. His dynastic lineage bore the name Bhoja, thus earning him the additional epithet of Bhojapati. Devaki, the mother of the deity Krishna, was his cousin. Ultimately, Krishna fulfilled a prophecy by ending Kamsa’s reign through his demise.

Physical Traits

 He is variously described in Hindu literature as either a human or an asura with a daunting physicality.

Family

According to the Vishnu Purana, Kamsa’s previous incarnation bore the name Kalanemi, an asura who met his demise at the hands of Bhagavan Vishnu. Upon amassing great power, Kamsa imprisoned Ugrasena and assumed rulership over Mathura. In his pursuit of territorial expansion and greater authority, Kamsa wed Asti and Prapti, the daughters of King Jarasandha of Magadha.

Another legend recounts Kamsa’s origins, tracing them to a Gandharva named Dramila, who transgressed the sanctity of Ugrasena’s wife. This narrative implies that Kamsa’s lineage was distinct from King Ugrasena’s, and even his mother held animosity toward him, having cursed him with a fate sealed by a member of Ugrasena’s kin.

A pivotal juncture in Kamsa’s life unfolded during his sister’s wedding. While escorting Devaki, his sister, in a chariot after her marriage, a celestial voice foretold that her eighth son would be his downfall. Driven by this prophecy, Kamsa intended to eliminate Devaki. Yet, Vasudeva, Devaki’s husband, pledged to deliver all their offspring to Kamsa. Subsequently, Kamsa imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva, executing the first six sons. However, the seventh and eighth sons, Balarama and Sri Krishna, evaded his grasp, and together they orchestrated Kamsa’s demise, reinstating Ugrasena as the ruler of Mathura.

Other names

Kamsa was also known as Kans in some parts of India. His royal house was called Bhoja; thus, another of his names was Bhojapati.

Powers and Abilities

Kamsa was not known to have any special powers or abilities. He was the ruler of a large kingdom with a huge interest in wrestling. He had a lot of powerful wrestlers at his disposal along with a lot of powerful warriors and statesmen.

Modern Day Influence

Kamsa has become the epitome for the evil relative in modern India. Also, no retelling of the life of Krishna is complete without mentioning Kamsa as this was a pivotal moment in the growth of Krishna from a simple cowherd to the status he reached in the future.

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Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.