Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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KANSA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] A tyrannical king of Mathura, son of Ugrasena and cousin of Devaki, the mother of Krishna; so he was the cousin, not the uncle, of Krishna, as he is often called. He married two daughters of Jarasandha, king of Magadha. He deposed his father.

It was foretold that a son born of Devaki should kill him, so he endeavored to destroy all her children. But Balarama, her seventh son, was smuggled away to Gokula, and was brought up by Rohini. When Krishna the eighth was born his parents fled with him. The tyrant then gave orders for a general massacre of all vigorous male infants. Kansa became the great persecutor of Krishna, but was eventually killed by him.

Kansa is also called Kalankura, 'crane.'

He is looked upon as an Asura, and is in some way identified with the Asura Kalanemi.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM