Story of Banasura
Stories from Mahabharata
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Banasura, a mighty demon once ruled over a large kingdom. So strong and fierce was his influence that all the kings and even some of the gods shuddered in front of his might. An ardent devotee of lord Shiva, Banasura once worshipped Shiva with great devotion. The god was so pleased with him that he promised to grant Banasura a boon. Banasura, in turn asked Shiva to come and guard the gates of his city.
Shiva was furious but he had to give in to Banasura's wish, as he had already given his word to him. Bana was not only pleased with his achievement, but with Shiva at his service, he became all the more arrogant. One day Banasura told Lord Shiva that he wanted to fight with somebody who was as strong and as mighty as him. "Yes, yes," replied Shiva. "You will certainly get the chance to fight. Whenever you see your flag-staff broken and the flag fallen down then you will know that the chance for a fight is coming." But Shiva also warned him, that he would be a great warrior who will curb Banasura's pride.
Banasura had a beautiful daughter named Usha, who had received many proposals for marriage but Bana had refused to get him married to anyone of them. Usha had a very clever and talented friend, Chitralekha, who was the daughter of Bana's minister. One night Usha dreamt of a handsome prince. She fell in love with him instantly. But on not finding the prince on waking up, she started crying for him and said that she would die without him. Chitralekha thought deeply over the matter. She knew that her friend had only been dreaming, but decided to help her on seeing Usha's pathetic condition.
She wrote down the names of all the gods, kings and princes whom Usha might have seen in her dream and started drawing portraits of each one of them. She drew Indira, Brahma and many other devas. But Usha refused them all. It was only when she drew the picture of Krishna's grandson Anirudha that Usha smiled and said that he was the prince who had come in her dreams.
At midnight, Chitralekha, then set out on her mission to search for the prince. With her magical powers she carried the sleeping Anirudha, out of Krishna's palace and brought him to Bana's city. The next morning, when Anirudha woke up in Usha's palace, he was surprised but at the same time enamored by the princess' beauty and expressed the desire to marry her. Usha immediately agreed to it, but when they went for Bana's consent, he not only refused but also put Anirudha in the prison.
Narada, meanwhile went and told Krishna about the whole event. When Krishna came to know about it, he knew that the only way to free his grandson was by waging a war against Banasura. So, Krishna gathered a large army and declared war on him by breaking his flagstaff.
Seeing the flagstaff broken Bana was overjoyed, as he knew the time for a fight had come. A terrible fight then ensued between the two till they met in a one to one battle. Krishna proved to be much more powerful and as he was about to kill Bana, Shiva came forward and requested Krishna to spare his live. Krishna accepted the request only on the condition that Bana would mend his ways and apologise to Shiva for his wrong doings. Bana realising his mistake apologized to both Shiva and Krishna. Krishna then graciously accepted Usha as his grand daughter-in-law and married Anirudha to her.
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