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Jaya-Vijaya guarding the sanctum of the Vishnu temple, Chennakesava Temple.

In Hindu religion, Jaya and Vijaya are the two gatekeepers or Dwarapalakas of the abode of Vishnu, known as Vaikuntha (meaning place of eternal bliss).[1][2] Due to a curse, they were forced to undergo multiple births as mortals who would be subsequently killed by various avatars of Vishnu. They were incarnated as Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha in Satya Yuga, Ravana and Kumbhakarna in Treta Yuga, and finally Shishupala and Dantavakra in Dvapara Yuga.[3]


According to the Brahmanda Purana, Jaya and Vijaya were the sons of Kali a demon, and Kali, in turn, was one of the sons of Varuna and his wife, Stuta (Sanskrit (स्तुत, meaning 'praise'). The brother of Kali (and uncle of Jaya and Vijaya) was Vaidya.[4][5]


Jaya is depicted as a four armed demi-god with the Chakra in his upper left hand, a Shankha in his upper right hand, a mace in his lower left hand and a sword in his lower right hand. Vijaya is depicted in the same method except that He holds a Chakra in his upper right hand, a Shankha in his upper left hand, a mace in his lower right hand and a sword in his lower left hand. They hold three weapons that Vishnu holds namely the Chakra, the Shankha and the mace but have a sword in their fourth hands wheareas Vishnu holds a lotus in his fourth hand.

Curse of the four Kumaras[edit]

Gate keepers, Jaya and Vijaya of Vaikuntha prevent the saints from entering and Jaya-Vijaya were cursed. Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi is rushing to the spot

According to a story from Bhagavata Purana, the Four Kumaras, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanatkumara who are the manasaputras of Brahma (sons born from the mind or thought power of Brahma), visited Vaikuntha, the abode of Vishnu, to see him.[6]

Due to the strength of their tapas, the four Kumaras appear to be mere children, though they are of great age. Jaya and Vijaya, the gatekeepers of the Vaikuntha interrupt the Kumaras at the gate, thinking them to be children. They also tell the Kumaras that Vishnu is resting and that they cannot see him now. The enraged Kumaras replied Jaya and Vijaya that Vishnu is available for his devotees any time, and cursed both the keepers Jaya and Vijaya, that they would have to give up their divinity, be born as mortals on the Earth, and live like normal human beings. Vishnu appeared before them, and the gatekeepers requested Vishnu to lift the curse of the Kumaras. Vishnu said that the curse of the Kumaras cannot be reversed. Instead, He gives Jaya and Vijaya two options. The first option is to take seven births on Earth as a devotees of Vishnu, while the second is to take three births as His staunch enemies. After serving either of these sentences, they can re-attain their stature at Vaikuntha and be with Him permanently. Jaya and Vijaya cannot bear the thought of staying away from Vishnu for seven lives. As His enemies, the Lord would have to incarnate on Earth 3 times to vanquish them. Thus they would meet Him in each of their births. As a result, they choose to be born three times on earth even though it would have to be as enemies of Vishnu.[7]

In their first life during Satya Yuga, they were born as Hiranyaksha (Vijaya) and Hiranyakashipu (Jaya) to Diti (daughter of Daksha Prajapati) and sage Kashyapa. Hiranyaksha was killed by Varaha (boar avatar) and Hiranyakashipu was killed by Narasimha (man-lion avatar). In their second life during the Treta Yuga, they were born as Ravana (Jaya) and Kumbhakarna (Vijaya), and both were killed by Rama. In their third life during Dvapara Yuga, they were born as Shishupala (Jaya) and Dantavakra (Vijaya) and both were killed by Krishna. In their first two births they were brothers, in their final birth they were cousins.[8]

It has been noted by many that the strengths of Jaya and Vijaya gradually declined with each subsequent birth due to yuga effect. In their first birth they are born as Asuras who captured and ruled Prithvi lok individually. In their second birth they are born as Rakshasas ruling another territory. In the third birth they are born as humans further in Shri Krishna's extended family itself. Moreover Vishnu incarnated two avatars to kill Hiranyaksha (Varaha) and Hiranyakashipu (Narasimha) in Satya Yuga. Born as Rama in Treta Yuga, he was able to vanquish both Ravana and Kumbhakarna. In the Krishna avatar during Dvapara Yuga, the killing of Dantavakra and Shishupala is not the main focus, but rather they are killed to reduce the "Bhubhara" (the burden on Bhumi due to too many sinners and non-truthful people).

Door-keepers of Vishnu temples[edit]

Statue of Vijaya at the entrance of the Jagannath Temple, Puri

In the modern era, known in Sanskrit as the Kali Yuga, Jaya and Vijaya are free from their curse, and they can be seen as gatekeepers in Vishnu temples and temples affiliated with Vaishnavism. Statues of Jaya-Vijaya stand in the temple of Venkateswara in Tirumala, the temple of Jagannath in Puri, and the temple of Ranganatha in Srirangam.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bhattacharji, Sukumari (1998). Legends of Devi. Orient Blackswan. p. 16.
  2. ^ Gregor Maehle (2012). Ashtanga Yoga The Intermediate Series: Mythology, Anatomy, and Practice. New World Library. p. 34.
  3. ^ "Story of three births of Jay and Vijay who were gatekeepers of Vaikuntha Lok". ISKCON Desire Tree | IDT. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  4. ^ G.V.Tagare (1958). Brahmanda Purana – English Translation – Part 3 of 5. pp. 794.
  5. ^ www.wisdomlib.org (9 October 2017). "Stuta, Stutā: 5 definitions". www.wisdomlib.org. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Story of three births of Jay and Vijay who were gatekeepers of Vaikuntha Lok". ISKCON Desire Tree | IDT. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  7. ^ "Story of Jaya-Vijaya". TemplePurohit - Your Spiritual Destination | Bhakti, Shraddha Aur Ashirwad. 26 July 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  8. ^ "Vidwesha-bhakti". The Hindu. 16 September 2013. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 1 November 2021.