Ten brothers, sons of Devagabbhā and
As it had been foretold at Devagabbhā's birth that one of her sons would
destroy the lineage of Kamsa, each time a son was
born to her, fearing lest he be put to death, she sent him secretly to her
serving-woman, Nandagopā; the latter had
married Andhakavenhu and, by good fortune,
daughters were born to her at the same time as sons to Devagabbhā; these
daughters she sent to Devagabbhā in exchange for the latter's sons.
The ten sons were named Vāsudeva, Baladeva,
Candadeva, Suriyadeva, Aggideva, Varunadeva,
Ajjuna, Pajjuna, Ghatapandita and Ankura. Cowell sees in this story the kernel
of a nature-myth (Jātaka, trans. iv. 51 n. ); cf. with this the Krsna legend in
the Harivamsa; see also Wilson's Visnu Purāna (Hall's Ed.), v. 147f.; and the
article on Krsna in Hopkins' Epic Mythology, pp.214f.
They had also a sister, Añjanadevī. When they
grew up they became highway robbers, seizing even a present sent to their uncle,
King Kamsa. Thus they became notorious as the Andakavenhudāsaputtā. The king,
having learnt of their true descent, devised various plans for their
destruction. Two famous wrestlers, Cānura and Mutthika, were engaged to have a
public wrestling match with them. The brothers accepted the challenge and looted
several shops for clothes, perfumes, etc., to be used for the occasion. Baladeva
killed both the wrestlers. In his death-throes Mutthika uttered a prayer to be
born as a Yakkha; his wish was fulfilled and he was born as such in the
Kālamattiya forest. When the king's men attempted to seize the brothers,
Vāsudeva threw a wheel which cut off the heads of both the king and his brother
the viceroy, Upakamsa.
The populace, terrified, begged the brothers to be their guardians. Thereupon
they assumed the sovereignty of Asitañjana. From
there they set out to conquer the whole of Jambudīpa, starting with Ayojjhā
(whose king, Kālasena, they took prisoner) and
Dvāravatī, which they captured with the help of
They made Dvāravatī their capital and divided their kingdom into ten shares,
forgetting their sister, Añjanadevī. When they discovered their mistake, Ankura
gave her his share and took to trade. Ankura's later history is found in
PvA.111ff. See Ankura.
In course of time the brothers had many sons and daughters, the average human
age at that time being 20,000 years. Later their sons annoyed the sage
Kanhadīpāyana by dressing up a lad as a woman and asking him what child she
would bring forth. "A knot of acacia wood," he answered, "with which will be
destroyed the line of Vasudeva."
They laughed at the sage and kicked him. On the seventh day the lad voided
from his belly a knot of acacia wood which they burnt, casting the ashes into
the river. From those ashes, which stuck near the city gate, an Eraka-plant
sprang up. One day, while disporting themselves in the water, the kings, with
their families and followers, started a sham quarrel and plucked leaves from the
Eraka-plant to use as clubs. The leaves turned into weapons in their hands, and
they were all killed except Vāsudeva, Baladeva, Añjanadevī, and their chaplain,
all of whom fled in a chariot. Thus were the words of the sage fulfilled.
In their flight they reached the Kālamattiya forest in which Mutthika had
been born as a Yakkha. When Mutthika saw Baladeva he assumed the shape of a
wrestler and challenged him to a fight. Baladeva accepted the challenge and "was
gobbled up like a radish-bulb."
Vāsudeva proceeded on his way with the others and at night lay in a bush for
shelter. A huntsman, mistaking him for a pig, speared him; when Vāsudeva heard
that the huntsman's name was Jarā (Old Age) he reconciled himself to death. Thus
they all perished except Añjanadevī (J.iv.79ff), of whose later history nothing
the Kumbha Jātaka (J.v. p.18) it is
suggested that the Andhakavenhus were destroyed as a result of indulging in
drink. This story was evidently well known to tradition as it is so often
referred to. E.g., in the Sankicca Jāt.
(v. 267) and in Vv., p.58.