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"King Sal Visits Kala Yavana", Folio from a Harivamsa (Legend of Hari (Krishna)).jpg
"King Sala Visits Kālayāvana", Folio from a Harivamsa

Kālayāvana (Sanskrit: कालयावन, lit. black Greek/Yona) was a king who invaded Mathura with an army of three million yavanas against Krishna.


Kalayavana Surrounds Mathura Page from a Dispersed Bhagavata Purana Series - Brooklyn Museum

According to the Vishnu Purana and Harivamsa, Kalayavana was a Yavana king. This legend appears to indicate a Greek invasion from across the Himalayas.[citation needed]

The legend goes like this: Jarasandha, Kansa's father-in-law, and the ruler of Magadha attacks Mathura eighteen times but is beaten by Krishna everytime. Jarasandha unable to defeat Krishna on his own made an alliance with Kalyavana. Kalyavana was a powerful Yavana warrior who was up until now undefeated in wars and combat.[2]

Krishna, thinking that by a struggle with two foes at once the people would be exhausted, provided a new city, so strong that even women could protect it, to which he conducted the inhabitants of Mathura.[3] Kalayavana attacked Mathura with an army of 3 million greeks/yavanas. Kalayavana realizing that the yavanas greatly outnumbered all the yadavas decided to challenge Krishna for a duel. Krishna strategically fled the battlefield. Shri Krishna lured Kalayavana into the cave where the great king of Treta yuga, Muchukunda, one of the forefathers of Lord Shri Rama was in a deep slumber of thousands of years after helping devas in an epic war with asuras.[citation needed]

Contemplating an absolutely undisturbed sleep he was given a boon by Lord Indra that anyone who dared to disturb his sleep would get burnt to ashes immediately.[2] Fast forward to Dwapara yuga, in the darkness deep inside the cave, Krishna covered Muchkunda with his shawl. Kalayavan assuming him to be Krishna kicked him, thus disturbing his sleep and burning into ashes. And then Muchukunda was delighted to see Lord Shri Krishna there, who was none other than Lord Vishnu. Sri Krishna advises him to perform Tapas to cleanse the accumulated sins to attain Moksha (liberation). After meeting with lord, Muchukunda sets out of the cave. Muchukunda then goes north to Gandamadana Mountain and from there to Badrikashrama for doing penance and finally achieves liberation, the Moksha.[citation needed]

The hills and the cave where Muchukunda rested is located to Mount Girnar in the state of Gujarat.[citation needed]

After knowing the fate of their king the Yavana armies fled to Yavana kingdom, thus Krishna saved Dwarka from mass-destruction. Even though he had to flee the battlefield once again.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  • Sister Nivedita & Ananda K. Coomaraswamy: Myths and Legends of the Hindus and Bhuddhists, Kolkata, 2001 ISBN 81-7505-197-3
  • Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu mythology
  1. ^ "Story of Krishna and Kalayavana - Part 1". Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b "HARIVAMSHAM (GEETA PRESS)". mahabharata-resources.org.
  3. ^ "THE KRISHNA AVATĀRA". sacred-texts.com.