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Anirudha, holding a sword and a shield, in the Kondamotu Vrishni heroes relief, 4th century CE.
Aniruddha or Aniruddh (Sanskrit: अनिरुद्ध aniruddha), meaning "unrestrained", "without obstacles" or "unstoppable" was the son of Pradyumna and Rukmavati and the grandson of Krishna. He is said to have been very much like his grandfather, to the extent that he may be a jana avatar, the avatar of Vishnu. The four are considered to be Vishnu-tattva or Vishnu's plenary expansions. It has been also used as one of the names of Lord Shiva.
A Daitya princess named Usha, daughter of Bana, fell in love with Aniruddha in her dream as per the artistic description of Chitralekha, a friend of Usha, and had him brought by the magic influence of Chitralekha to her apartments in her father's city of Sonitpura in Assam. However, according to some legends, Shonitpur is also identified with Sarahan in the Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. Going by their legends, Pradyumna was made the king of Shonitpur & subsequently the Bushahr state by Lord Krishna himself. Bana sent guards to seize him, but the valiant youth, taking an iron club, slew his assailants. Bana then brought his magic powers to bear and secured him.
On discovering that Aniruddh had been carried away, Krishna, Balarama, and Pradyumna went to rescue him. Banasura was a great devotee of the god Shiva and had 1000 arms, as a result of which no one had ever been willing to fight him. Blinded by his pride, he asked Shiva to give him a chance to fight with someone as strong as himself. Shiva, therefore, cursed him that he would be defeated in war by Krishna, an Avatar of Vishnu.
After a few months, Krishna came to know where his grandson was and launched an attack on Banasura with a big army. Thus a great battle was fought.
When the army laid siege to his city, Banasura staged a fierce counter-attack. At this point, Shiva joined the battle against Krishna because he had promised protection to Banasura. Krishna himself defeated Shiva with a weapon that put Shiva to sleep. After many of his warriors were defeated, Bana took up arms against Krishna. Krishna fought back with his powerful weapon Sudarshana Chakra and kept on chopping off one arm after another of Bana till he was left with only four arms. After this Shiva came and requested Lord Krishna not to kill Bana. Then Lord Krishna replied,
"Prahlada and his descendent King Bali were devoted to me. I promised Bali that I shall not kill anyone in his family. Therefore i cannot kill Bana. But i have arrived here to humble him. The four arms that are left with will enable him to rule over his kingdom. I have destroyed his army so that weight of the earth is lessened. I assure Bana that he'll not be killed".
In gratitude, King Bana bowed to lotus feet of Krishna.
In Vaishnavism, Aniruddha is associated with the boar, which is his theriomorphic aspect, also known as Varaha. Aniruddha appears as a boar in some of the Caturvyūha statues, where he is an assistant to Vāsudeva, and in the Vaikuntha Chaturmurti when his boar's head protrudes from the side of Vishnu's head.
Aniruddha is also associated with the qualities of ferociousness and sovereignty.
Aniruddha was married to Usha after Krishna forgave Banasura, and together, they had a child - Vajranabha. Pradyumna and Aniruddha probably died in the intoxicate brawl between the Yadavas, which eventually claimed the life of almost every Yadava male. Krishna and Arjuna took away the Yadava wives and the older family members to Surasena, Mathura, the original kingdom of Yadus before Dwaraka, wherein Vajra was crowned as king.
Aniruddha, which means "unstoppable," is also another name of Vishnu.
- Gupta, Vinay K. "Vrishnis in Ancient Literature and Art". Indology's Pulse Arts in Context, Doris Meth Srinivasan Festschrift Volume, Eds. Corinna Wessels Mevissen and Gerd Mevissen with Assistance of Vinay Kumar Gupta: 74–75.
- Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 68.
- Srinivasan, Doris (1979). "Early Vaiṣṇava Imagery: Caturvyūha and Variant Forms". Archives of Asian Art. 32: 39–54. ISSN 0066-6637. JSTOR 20111096.
- For English summary, see page 80 Schmid, Charlotte (1997). Les Vaikuṇṭha gupta de Mathura : Viṣṇu ou Kṛṣṇa?. pp. 60–88.
- "The glorious Aniruddha should be Varaha who rescued the Earth" in Rangarajan, Haripriya (1997). Varāha Images in Madhya Pradesh: An Iconographic Study. Somaiya Publications. p. 38. ISBN 978-81-7039-214-9.
- "Aniruddha (is represented) by his theriomorphic form, the boar" in Srinivasan, Doris (1997). Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes: Origin, Meaning, and Form of Multiplicity in Indian Art. BRILL. p. 254. ISBN 978-90-04-10758-8.
- "Gentleness and strength are associated with Vasudeva, "knowledge with Samkarsana, (Narasimha) female power with Pradyumna (Varaha) and ferociousness and sovereignty with Aniruddha (Kapila)." Kamalakar, G.; Veerender, M. (1993). Vishnu in Art, Thought & Literature. Birla Archeological & Cultural Research Institute. p. 92.
- Dowson: Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology.