The Battle Of Bana And Krishna

Bana, an asura king who had received a boon from Lord Shiva, was confident that no warrior could defeat him on a battlefield. His illusion shattered when he was unable to match Krishna’s powers, even with Shiva by his side. Read on to know why Krishna and Shiva fought on opposite sides for an asura king. 

Bana’s curse

Bana was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. With his thousand arms, he played various musical instruments for Shiva, as he danced the Tandava. Pleased with his devotion, Shiva assured him of his protection in any battle. After gaining Shiva’s favour, Bana became vain and arrogant. One day, he complained to Shiva that even without his thousand arms, there was no warrior equal to him, except the Lord himself. Shiva was livid upon hearing these arrogant words. To put an end to Bana’s pride,  Shiva cursed him. He declared that a warrior equal to him would humiliate Bana in the future. This curse did not shock or upset Bana much to Shiva’s surprise. Instead, the asura king said that he would gladly accept this curse and would be waiting to meet his peer in a battle. 


Script: Kamala Chandrakant; Illustration: Pratap Mulick
Usha’s dream

A few days after this incident, Usha, Bana’s daughter, confided to her close companion, Chitralekha, that a dark-blue-skinned prince wearing yellow garments often visited her in her dreams but disappeared quickly. Intrigued, Usha wanted to find out the identity of this prince and expressed her wish to meet him. Chitralekha was gifted with yogic powers and great artistic skills. To help the princess, she started painting portraits of all the gods, gandharvas and yakshas. When she showed Usha the portraits of Krishna and his son, Pradyumna, the princess said that the man in her dreams closely resembled the two of them. Chitralekha then painted the portrait of Aniruddha, son of Pradyumna and grandson of Krishna. Much to her delight, Usha immediately recognised Aniruddha as the prince from her dreams. Chitralekha promised Usha that she would bring Aniruddha to her as soon as possible. Then with her yogic powers, she conveyed herself to Dwaraka and found Aniruddha sleeping in his chambers. Chitralekha feared that the prince would resist coming with her if he was awake. Instead, she transported the sleeping Aniruddha to Usha’s chambers in Bana’s palace. 

The secret wedding
Script: Kamala Chandrakant; Illustration: Pratap Mulick

Usha was delighted to see Aniruddha and thanked Chitralekha for her help. As soon as Chitralekha left, Aniruddha woke up from his sleep and was shocked to find a beautiful maiden in front of him. Usha greeted Aniruddha with a smile. She explained her dream to the perplexed prince and added that he had been brought to her chambers as her honoured guest due to her love for him. Usha also told him that since he had been brought to her kingdom in secrecy, he was free to leave her if he wanted to return to Dwaraka. However, Aniruddha was impressed by Usha’s beauty and grace. He reciprocated her love and decided to marry her and a secret wedding soon took place. 

After their wedding, Usha and Aniruddha spent their days happily in the princess’ chamber. The guards outside Usha’s chambers became suspicious as they noticed that the princess hardly ever stepped out of her chamber. Upon investigating, they found out about Aniruddha and his secret marriage to Usha and immediately rushed to Bana. The asura king was furious when he heard about his daughter’s secret marriage. Burning with anger, he immediately rushed towards her chamber with a few guards. He ordered his guards to arrest Aniruddha and a fight ensued. The asura guards were no match for the prince and he soon slew them all with a mace. However, before Aniruddha could escape, Bana grabbed hold of him with his thousand arms. He then imprisoned Aniruddha by tying him up with serpents from head to toe. 

Battle of the gods

Meanwhile, back in Dwarka, Aniruddha’s family had become worried over his four-month-long disappearance. To relieve them from their worry, Sage Narada visited Krishna’s palace and told him about the whereabouts of Aniruddha. Krishna immediately set out towards Bana’s kingdom, with Pradyumna, Satyaki and hundreds of warriors, to rescue Aniruddha. Upon finding out that Krishna meant to attack him, Bana too began his preparations for war. When Krishna reached, Bana greeted him with an equally huge army and soon a fierce battle ensued between them. As Shiva had promised his protection to Bana, he too arrived on the battlefield with his son, Kartikeya, to aid the asura. All the celestials, the sages, the gandharvas, yakshas and apsaras came in their chariots to watch the battle between Shiva and Krishna. 

Script: Kamala Chandrakant; Illustration: Pratap Mulick

The battle raged on. Krishna fought with Shiva, while Pradyumna and Satyaki fought with Kartikeya and Bana respectively. Krishna destroyed Shiva’s hordes with ease and Pradyumna defeated Kartikeya after a tough battle. Sensing defeat, Bana left Satyaki to battle directly with Krishna himself. He aimed thousands of arrows at Krishna but Krishna destroyed them with his disc. Krishna then cut off all of Bana’s arms except four, to humble him. Before he could kill the asura, however, Shiva intervened and asked Krishna to spare Bana. Not only did Krishna spare Bana, but he also granted the asura immortality and everlasting youth. Accepting his defeat, Bana released Aniruddha and accepted his marriage to Usha. In the end, Krishna, Pradyumna and Satyaki returned to Dwaraka with the happy couple.

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