(Last Updated on : 30/03/2010)
In the Puranas it is mentioned that Shishupala or Sisupala was the son of Damaghosha, king of Chedi, by Srutadeva. Srutadeva was the sister of Vasudeva and therefore Shishupala was the cousin of Krishna. However Shishupala was Krishna's enemy, because Krishna had eloped with Rukmini, who was intended to be his wife. Later Shishupala was slain by Krishna at the great sacrifice of Yudhishthira in punishment of reproachful abuse.
Shishupala in his previous birth was born as the unrighteous but valiant monarch of the Daityas, Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu was killed by the divine guardian of the creation in the man-lion Avatara.
Hiranyakasipu was born as Shishupala. In this character he renewed with great inveteracy than ever his hostile hatred towards Pundariksha (Vishnu), and was in consequence slain by him. But from the circumstance of his thoughts being constantly engrossed by the Supreme Being, Shishupala was united with him after death, for the lord bestows a heavenly and exalted station even upon those whom he slays in his displeasure.
The epic Mahabharata states that Shishupala was born with three eyes and four arms. His parents thought to cast him out of the house but were warned by a Voice not to do so, as his time has not come. It was forecasted that all those extra arms and extra eye would disappear when a certain person will take the child Shishupala into his lap, and that he would eventually die in the hands of that same person. Lord Krishna placed the child on his knees and the extra eye and arms disappeared. In the epic Mahabharata it is referred that Shishupala's mother Srutadeva was given a vow by Krishna, her nephew, that he would pardon his cousin Shishupala a hundred times before he decides to kill him. When Yudishthira decided to make the Rajuya Yajna, at that time Shishupala insulted Krishna by saying that Krishna was a cowherd and insignificant to be honoured as an emperor. Shishupala was also infuriated with Krishna when Krishna eloped with his would be beautiful bride Rukmini. Rukmini was to marry Shishupala who happened to be a great friend of Rukmini's brother Rukmi. Later Krishna kills Shishupala.
The death of Shishupala is described in the poem 'Shishupala Vadha'.