SISUPALA, Shishupal and Rukmini, Shishupal Brother

Sisupala was the third rebirth of Jaya for his failure to carry out his duty (dharma) as a doorkeeper (dwarapalaka) of Lord Vishnu at Vaikuntha. He was cursed because of that failure, and he played a role in three incarnations of Vishnu. His twin brother Vijaya shared in the original deed and caused an equal amount of trouble.
The first two rebirths of Jaya were as Hiranyakashipu and Ravana. Finally, as Sisupala he received the grace of Krishna. Sisupala was a kshatriya, born to King Damaghosha and Queen Cedi. He was a little unusual as a baby, having three eyes and four hands, and braying like an ass. When the parents attempted to abandon him, a disembodied voice predicted that his third eye and extra hands would fall off as soon as he sat in the lap of the person who would kill him. The king kept putting him in every great warrior’s lap, until in the lap of his uncle Krishna it happened as predicted. Sisupala grew into an enemy wor­thy of a divine opponent, since Krishna had carried away Rukmini, his intended bride. Finally, Krishna did kill him at Yudhishthira’s great horse sacrifice at the end of the Mahabharata war. Because he had spent so many lifetimes focused single-mindedly in his hatred on Vishnu, Sisupala was absorbed into the grace of the Supreme. Thus, the cycle of rebirths was finally ended, and the grace of Vishnu was finally granted.

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