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Krishna and Balarama meet their parents (Painting by Raja Ravi Varma)
TextsBhagavata Purana, Mahabharata
Personal information
ParentsDevaka/Devapa (father)
SiblingsDhrtadeva, Santideva, Upadeva, Srideva, Devaraksita, and Sahadeva (Sisters)

Devavana, Upadeva, Sudeva, Devavardhana (Brothers)

Subala (Half Sister,Wife of Vidura)
ChildrenBalarama and Krishna

Subhadra (step-daughter)

Sadgarbha (First six children)


Devaki (Sanskrit: देवकी, IAST: Devakī) is a character in Hindu literature, most noted for being the mother of the god Krishna.[1][2] She is one of the seven daughters of Devapa or Devaka, a king of the Yadu dynasty, and has four brothers.[3] She is one of the wives of Vasudeva.[4] Her cousin is Kamsa,[5][6] the king of Mathura, a cruel tyrant who had been told by Narada that he had been an asura killed by Vishnu in his previous life (Kalanemi), exacerbating his wickedness.[7] According to popular tradition, Devaki is considered to be an incarnation of Aditi, a mother goddess who was the daughter of Daksha and the wife of Kashyapa.[8]


Vasudeva and Devaki traveling in a carriage

During the nuptials of Vasudeva and Devaki following the former's wedding with his bride's six older sisters, Vishnu picked a lock of hair from his mount Shesha as well as his own, proclaiming that they would take be born as Devaki's seventh and eighth children, respectively.[9] After the marriage ceremony, Kamsa volunteered to escort the newly-weds to Mathura and drove their chariot. A celestial voice, an aśarīrī, prophesied that the eighth child of Devaki would become Kamsa's death, and deliver the land from his wickedness. Angered, Kamsa rose to kill Devaki, but was stopped by Vasudeva, who promised to give each child to Kamsa, whom he would subsequently kill.[10][11][12]


Birth and escape of Krishna.

Devaki and Vasudeva were imprisoned by Kamsa due to the paranoia that had taken root in the tyrant's mind.[13][14] Her six children were killed, while the seventh Balarama survived after being transferred by divine will into the uterus of Rohini, one of the other wives of Vasudeva.[15][16]

Devaki's six dead sons were named Kírttimat, Sushena, Udayin, Bhadrasena, Rijudasa, and Bhadradeha.[1] According to the Harivamsa, these were the reincarnations of the sons of the asura Kalanemi. They had performed intense austerities to worship the creator deity Brahma, unbeknownst to their own grandfather, Hiranyakashipu. The latter, furious at their actions, cursed them to be born on earth and be slain by Kamsa, who himself was a form of their father.[17]

Devaki soon mothered Balarama through the surrogacy of Rohini.[18][19]

When Devaki delivered Krishna, he revealed his divine form to his parents, and ordered Vasudeva to take him to Gokulam, placing all the prison guards under a spell of slumber, so that Kamsa would not realise that his prophesied killer had been born. Vasudeva swapped Krishna with Yogamaya, the daughter who had been born to Nanda and Yashoda on the very same day, and returned to the cell.[20]

When Kamsa stormed into the chamber after the spell had worn out, he deduced that Devaki had given birth to a girl. Devaki protested against the killing of the daughter of Nanda and Yashoda, but Kamsa hurled her against a rock, recognising that the gender of his prophesied slayer had not been specified. Yashoda's daughter transformed into an eight-armed goddess, and stated, "Fool, your destroyer has already been born elsewhere." She subsequently vanished into the heavens.[18]

Devaki and Vasudeva's imprisonment came to an end after Kamsa's death.[21]

Salvation to the Sadgarbhas[edit]

Devaki, upon hearing how Krishna restored his Guru Sandipani's son, wished to see her own children.[22] Krishna acceded her request and brought the children to Devaki from Patala.[22][23] She nursed them with her milk and they attained heaven.[23]


After the passing of Vasudeva after the Yadu massacre, Devaki cremated herself on Vasudeva's pyre, performing sati, along with his other wives, Rohini, Bhadra, and Madira.[24]


A painting of Devaki with Krishna

In the state of Goa, Devaki Krishna Sansthan temple is a unique temple, perhaps is the only temple in India where Krishna is worshiped alongside mother Devaki. The main deity Devakikrishna and affiliate deities of Bhumika Devi, Laxmi Ravalnath, Mallinath, Katyayani, Chodaneshwar and Dhada Shankar were originally located at Choodamani island (Chorão island of today). To avoid persecution during the Goa Inquisition they were taken to Mayem in Bicholim and from there shifted to the present location at Mashel. The garbhagriha (inner sanctum) of the temple has an idol of Devaki and Krishna. The idol of Devaki is in standing posture holding baby Krishna with her left hand.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Devaki bore eight children, but the first six were killed by her cousin Kamsa upon their birth. Balarama was conceived by Devaki, but he was transferred into the womb of Rohini by the goddess Yogamaya.


  1. ^ a b "XV". The Vishnu Purana: Book IV. p. 438.
  2. ^ "123". The Mahabharata: Book VI. p. 311.
  3. ^ Mani, Vettam (1 January 2015). Puranic Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Work with Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 210. ISBN 978-81-208-0597-2.
  4. ^ "XIV". The Vishnu Purana: Book IV. p. 435.
  5. ^ Chapple, Christopher Key (19 March 2009). The Bhagavad Gita: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition. SUNY Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-4384-2841-3.
  6. ^ Herman, A. L. (4 May 2018). A Brief Introduction To Hinduism: Religion, Philosophy, And Ways Of Liberation. Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-429-98238-5.
  7. ^ Knapp, Stephen (2005). The Heart of kshatriya Hinduism: The Eastern Path to Freedom, Empowerment And Illumination. iUniverse. ISBN 978-0-595-35075-9.
  8. ^ Mani, Vettam (1 January 2015). Puranic Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Work with Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 210. ISBN 978-81-208-0597-2.
  9. ^ Monaghan, Patricia (1 April 2014). Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines. New World Library. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-60868-218-8.
  10. ^ "1". Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10.
  11. ^ "1". Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10.
  12. ^ "1". Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10.
  13. ^ "harivaMsha in the mahAbharata - viShNuparva: Chapter 1 - Advent of Narada and Kamsa's Response". Archived from the original on 25 April 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  14. ^ "1". Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10.
  15. ^ "2". Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10.
  16. ^ "I". The Vishnu Purana: Book V. pp. 490–491.
  17. ^ Debroy, Bibek (9 September 2016). Harivamsha. Penguin UK. ISBN 978-93-86057-91-4.
  18. ^ a b "III". The Vishnu Purana: Book V. p. 502.
  19. ^ "3". Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10.
  20. ^ "Yogamaya enters into the womb of Yashoda and Hari into Devaki [Chapter II]". 30 August 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  21. ^ "44". Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 10.
  22. ^ a b "85". SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM: CANTO 10.
  23. ^ a b "85". SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM: CANTO 10.
  24. ^ The Mahabharata, Book 16: Mausala Parva: Section 7.
  25. ^ "Devkikrishna Temple, Marcel". Govt of Goa. Retrieved 3 August 2019.