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Ugrasena – Story of Father of Kamsa

Ugrasena was the father of Kamsa and the ruler of Mathura. His story is mainly found in the Srimad Bhagavad Purana. He is the maternal grandfather of Lord Krishna.

Ugrasena was not the hereditary king of Mathura. He acquired the right to rule Mathura as Vasudeva, father of Sri Krishna, was not interested in kingship.

Ugrasena – Story of Father of Kamsa

When the rule of the solar race over the Mathura region ended, Surasena, king of Yadava clan, occupied the throne of Mathura. His son Vasudeva, father of Lord Krishna, did not wish to become the king. Ugrasena, a chief of an important Yadava clan occupied the throne.

Ugrasena was a noble ruler but unfortunately, he had a son, Kamsa, who was arrogant and oppressive. Kamsa found an evil ally in Jarasandha. He married the daughters of Jarasandha who was ruler of Magadha.

Many a times, Ugrasena attempted to change the cruel and inconsiderate behavior of Kamsa. But all advices of the wise king fell on deaf ears. The advice given by Ugrasena to Kamsa is found in the Krishna Leela dramas enacted in Vrindavan and Mathura. 

Kamsa was not the biological son of Ugrasena

The popular belief is that Kamsa is the son of Queen Padmavati and King Ugrasena of Mathura. But as per Bhagavad Purana and other several other Puranas King Ugrasena did not father Kamsa.

Kamsa was born to Dramila, a Gandharva, and Ugrasena's wife Padmavati.

Padmavati who was in her monthly periods walked in the forest. Dramila saw her and felt attracted to her. He violated her and made her pregnant.

Kamsa soon imprisoned Ugrasena and occupied the throne of Mathura. He married off his sister Devaki to Vasudeva.

But Devaki and Vasudeva was imprisoned when a voice from the sky predicted that the eight son of Devaki would annihilate Kamsa.

The eighth child was born and miraculously transported to Gokul. All efforts to track down and kill the child proved futile.

Later Sri Krishna killed Kamsa. Freed his parents and reinstated Ugrasena as the king of Mathura.

Mathura once again enjoyed the rule of law and justice under Ugrasena.

But Sri Krishna had to shift his capital from Mathura to Dwarka to avoid the constant fight with Jarasandha. Here too Ugrasena ruled over the Yadavas.

Ugrasena Witnesses the End of Yadava Clan

When Dwapara Yuga was coming to an end, Sri Krishna decided to put an end to his avatar. Soon Dharma (righteousness) started disappearing and it was replaced by Adharma.

The Rishis realized what was happening on earth and decided to pay their respect to Sri Krishna. Rishis led by Vishwamitra, Narada and Kanva reached Dwarka. The Yadavas, who were into merrymaking and wanton lifestyle, dressed up Shamba as a pregnant woman and decided to mock the Rishis. They approached the rishis and asked them whether the woman would give birth to a girl or boy.

The Rishis could not tolerate the behavior of the Yadavas and cursed them that he would give birth to an iron pillar which would destroy the Yadava clan.

Shamba soon gave birth to an iron pillar. King Ugrasena asked the iron pillar to be powdered and thrown into the sea.

But the powder reached the shores and turned into iron reeds and which eventually led to the death of the Yadavas.

A piece of the iron pillar was used to make the tip of the arrow which killed Sri Krishna.

Ugrasena too departed from the earth after this incident.