Jalandhara, in Sanskrit, means one who holds water, was a powerful demon born out of the anger emitted in the form of effulgence from the third eye of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva opened his third eye to destroy Devraj Indra for his arrogance. However, Devraj Indra was saved, and the energy emanating from the third eye was thrown by Lord Shiva into the ocean, due to which Jalandhara was born. That’s why he was also called Shiva Putra.
The energy grew as a boy and was raised by the ocean and later by Shukracharya (the GuruGuru of the demons). He married Vrinda, a pious lady. Vrinda, who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu, was also loyal to her demon husband. The power of Jalandhar was his wife Vrinda, due to whose virtuous religion all the gods and goddesses were unable to defeat Jalandhar even together, and Jalandhara conquered the three worlds – Swarga (heaven), Bhuloka (earth), and Paatal (hell).
Jalandhar became proud of his strength and disregarded Vrinda’s devotion towards him started harassing the women of the gods. According to the legend of Purana, Jalandhar wanted to snatch Goddess Lakshmi from Lord Vishnu, so he attacked Baikuntha (the heavenly adobe of Lord Vishnu). But Lakshmi Ji told Jalandhar that we are both born from water, so we are brothers and sisters. Jalandhar was impressed by the words of Goddess Lakshmi and left Baikuntha, considering Goddess Lakshmi as his sister.
After this, he went to Mount Kailash and started urging Goddess Parvati to become his wife. Due to this, Goddess Parvati got angry, and Mahadev had to fight with Jalandhar. Due to Vrinda’s chastity, every attack of Lord Shiva made on Jalandhar became fruitless. The gods made a plan, and Lord Vishnu, disguised as Jalandhar, reached Vrinda.
Mistaking Lord Vishnu as her husband, Vrinda became close to him. This broke Vrinda’s virtuous religion, and Lord Shiva killed Jalandhar. Apart from this Purana, nowhere is Jalandhar recognized as the son of Shiva. It is mentioned in other places about Jalandhar that Jalandhar was also born along with Goddess Lakshmi during the churning of the ocean.
The Padma Purana, Shiva Purana, and Skanda Purana describe a lot about the birth of the demon Jalandhar. In the Shiva Purana, it is mentioned that once, the Gods, including Devraj Indra, wanted to test Lord Shiva. Devraj Indra reached Mount Kailash with Lord Brihaspati, the GuruGuru of the gods. Lord Shiva came to know on the strength of his spiritual power that these people are coming to test him. So he disguised himself as an Avadhoot (Hermit/Jogi) to test the knowledge of Devraj Indra and Guru Brihaspati and stood in their way. Devraj Indra signaled him to get out of the way. But Lord Shiva dressed as Avadhoot stood in his place. Seeing this, Devraj Indra got angry.
He said, “Hey, you don’t know, who am I? Move away from the way; otherwise, I will break you into pieces with a thunderbolt. Hearing the threat, Avadhoot, dressed Lord Shiva, got angry. He uttered a loud hum, hearing which all the four directions trembled. Lord Shiva became furious at Devraj Indra’s action, and his eyes turned red, which frightened Devraj Indra. The third eye of Lord Shiva opened due to anger, almost killing Devraj Indra. Guru Brihaspati immediately realized that Avadhoot was actually none other than Lord Shiva himself. He signaled to Devraj Indra and said – “What misfortune are you doing, Surendra! You are not recognizing Lord Shiva. This is the real Lord Shiva.”
Devraj Indra realizing his mistake, immediately fell at the feet of Lord Shiva and started apologizing – “Sorry Lord! I did not recognize you. Guru Brihaspati said- Yes, Lord! Forgive Devendra. He didn’t recognize you, unknowingly, so excuse him.”
On the persuasion of Guru Brihaspati, Lord Shiva forgave Devraj Indra. To avoid killing Devraj Indra, Lord Shiva sent the energy of his anger emanating from his third eye towards the sea, and upon meeting the ocean, energy took the form of a boy.
The boy, born out of the effulgence of anger of Lord Shiva, cried a lot due to which all the four directions started trembling. The gods and the demons were all frightened. The wind subsided. The bewildered Devraj Indra, along with other deities, approached Lord Brahma and said to him – “O Lord, A wonderful boy is crying at the Sagar Sangam (Ganga Sagar) so loudly that the gods are in fear. Please remove this crisis.”
Lord Brahma and Devraj Indra reached the ocean confluence with the deities. As soon as Lord Brahma arrived, the ocean came out of his place. He worshiped Lord Brahma along with Indra. Lord Brahma asked the sea – “Who is this child lying on the sand in the water? The whole world is getting troubled after hearing its cry. Sagar (ocean) told Lord Brahma that he did not know where the boy came from.
Saying this, Sagar picked up the child in his lap and gave it to Lord Brahma. As soon as he came in the lap of Lord Brahma, the child stopped crying, and in no time suddenly, the boy’s arms extended forward, and with both of his arms grabbed Lord Brahma’s throat. Seeing this, other gods were shocked. Lord Brahma tried to free his throat, but the hold of the child’s hands became stronger. Then suddenly, the boy let go of his throat and started smiling. Lord Brahma named the child Jalandhara. Then Lord Brahma said that the boy would one day become the emperor of the demons, and he could be killed only by Lord Shiva, and after his death, he would return to the Lord Shiva’s third eye. After naming the child and handing it over to the ocean, all the gods returned to their respective abodes.
One day Acharya Shukra came to the court of Jalandhar. Jalandhar worshiped the feet of Acharya and made him sit on a high seat and asked:
Jalandhara – “Acharya! We have a hero named Rahu here. I want to know why his head has been chopped off.”
Acharya Shukra – “ O Demon king! The head of Rahu was beheaded by Lord Vishnu with his Sudarshan Chakra.
Jalandhara – “But why Acharya! What wrong did Rahu do?
In reply, Shukracharya told him the whole story of the churning of the ocean and said – “His crime was that he had drank nectar by deceit while sitting in the line of the deities.”
Jalandhar – “So what was the crime in this, Acharya! After all, even if the nectar came out, it was only due to the combined effort of the gods and the demons. Then how did the gods alone became entitled to drink that nectar?
Acharya – “There was also the deceit of Lord Vishnu in this, demon king! All the gems that came out of the sea were taken away by Devraj Indra.
Hearing this, Jalandhar got angry and said – “I will not allow this to happen at all. Devraj Indra is not the owner of my father’s gems; I am myself. The gods will have to return the gems of the ocean.”
After that, Shukracharya went back to his Ashram, and Jalandhar called a demon named Ghasmar and sent him to Indrapuri so that he could give a message to Devraj Indra that he should hand over all the gems obtained from the churning of the ocean. Ghasmar reached Indrapuri.
Ghasmar said to Devraj Indra – Devraj! I have appeared with a message from Demon king Jalandhar. The demon king has said that you should immediately return the gems of his father that you had taken during the churning of the ocean. Devraj Indra said in surprise – “Gem! Which gems? Tell the demon king that those gems were the result of the hard work of the gods.
Ghasmar – “But both the gods and the demons did the hard work. Then how did the gems belong to the gods alone? Return the gems directly, or else the result will be very dire.”
Hearing this, Devraj Indra got angry and said – “You have so much courage, you threaten me only in my puri. Hold on, sinner, I will teach you a lesson.”
Saying this, Devraj Indra took out his thunderbolt, but then Acharya Brihaspati stopped him and, while explaining to him, said – “Don’t be angry, Devraj! He is a messenger, and a messenger should not be killed. Let him go.”
Ghasmar went back to Jalandhar and told him the answer given by Devraj Indra. Hearing this, Jalandhar was furious. He immediately sent a message to the demons located in all four directions that they should immediately attack Indrapuri. Simultaneously with his generals Shubh and Nishumbha, he marched on Indralok. Soon the army of demons reached Indra’s Nandan forest, and the soldiers started attacking the deities.
Teams of the Demons began destroying and corrupting Amaravati. The corpses of the heroes of both sides started falling on the ground. Acharya Brihaspati started treating the wounded and dead heroes on behalf of the Gods and Shukracharya on behalf of the Demons, and they came alive again and started fighting again. The war went on, but neither side could get a victory. On this, Jalandhar got angry, and he approached Shukracharya and said, “Gurudev! Only you know the sanjeevanividya (knowledge to revive), then how are these gods coming alive after dying?
Shukracharya – “Demon king! Even Acharya Brihaspati knows how to use Sanjeevani Booti. He has engaged many gods on this task to keep bringing Sanjeevani herb from Dronagiri, Mountain. Guru Brihaspati will not be able to revive the gods if somehow the gods stop bringing the herb from Dronagiri.”
Jalandhar – “But for this way, we will have to move a large part of our army towards Dronagiri mountain, and here the war is going on at a fierce speed.”
Shukracharya – “Then why not drown the Dronagiri mountain itself in the ocean. There will be no bamboo, and no flute will play.
At the instructions from Shukracharya, Jalandhar submerged Mount Dronagiri into the ocean. Due to this, the gods stopped getting Sanjeevani Booti. Panic spread among the gods. Devraj Indra, frightened, approached Acharya Brihaspati and said – “Our heroes are getting many casualties, Acharya! What will happen now? In this way, all the gods will be destroyed.”
Acharya Brihaspati – “Obey my advice Devendra! Stop this war immediately and save your life by running away with your army. Jalandhar is born from the effulgence of Lord Shiva as such, has immense power of Lord Shiva in him. You save your life, later some way will come out to kill Jalandhar.
Following the advice of Acharya Brihaspati, the gods fled from the war and hid in the caves of Mount Meru. The army of demons, including Shumbha-Nishumbha, followed them, but the gods became invisible after reaching the mountain’s caves. Exhausted, the army of demons returned. Jalandhar plundered the whole of Amaravati, and himself sat on the throne of Devraj Indra. Devraj Indra emerged from the caves of Mount Meru and reached Lord Vishnu with his companions. He prayed to Lord Vishnu – “Protect Lord! Jalandhar has destroyed the entire Amaravati. Thousands of gods have been killed.
Lord Vishnu agreed to help but promised Goddess Lakshmi that he would not kill Jalandhar as he was born from the ocean, and Goddess Lakshmi considered him as her brother. A fierce battle ensued between Jalandhar, during which Lord Vishnu was impressed by Jalandhar’s valor in battle. He asked him to stop the war and ask any boon he liked. Jalandhar requested Lord Vishnu to allow Jalandhara to stay in Ksheersagar (sea of milk) along with his sister Goddess Lakshmi. Lord Vishnu granted his wish and started living in the Ksheersagar along with his consort Goddess Lakshmi. Jalandhar started serving Lord Vishnu with great love.
Being undefeated by Gods and Lord Vishnu, Jalandhar became the ruler of all three worlds (heaven, earth, and hell). All the subjects were satisfied by his virtuous rule except the deities.
Rahu, on his return, narrated the whole thing to Jalandhar. Jalandhar attacked Kailash Mountain with his army. A fierce battle was fought between the Gods along with Lord Shiva’s ganas and the demons. When Jalandhar realized that Lord Shiva is dominating the battle, to divert the attention of Lord Shiva’s ganas, he created beautiful Apsaras and Gandharvas with his magical powers. Lord Shiva’s ganas and Gods became enchanted by the beauty of the apsaras and stopped fighting and started watching their dance and music.
In the meantime, Jalandhar went to Mata Parvati disguised as Lord Shiva, but Goddess Parvati recognized him. Enchanted by the beauty of goddess Parvati, Jalandhar looked at her with evil intentions, but Goddess Parvati immobilized him by her power. Goddess Parvati then went to Lord Vishnu and narrated the whole tale. She requested Lord Vishnu to go to Jalandhar’s wife in the guise of Jalandhar and to trick Vrinda like Jalandhar had tried to trick her.
Then the Lord Vishnu, in the form of Jalandhar, went to Vrinda’s palace. Vrinda then embraces Jalandhar, who is actually Lord Vishnu in disguise, which broke her chastity. Vrinda learns that it is Vishnu in disguise and curses him that someday someone will trick his own wife (which becomes true when Sita is kidnapped by Ravana). She also says that he is stone-hearted and curses Lord Vishnu to become stone, and Lord Vishnu immediately turned into stone.
All the gods and Lakshmi Ji requested Vrinda to undo her curse, which Vrinda Ji did, and Lord Vishnu became as before. Then Vrinda committed self-immolation due to loss of chastity. Then a plant emerged from her ashes; Lord Vishnu said – From today onwards its name will be ‘Tulsi,’ and one of my forms will remain in the form of a stone, which will be worshiped along with Tulsi by the name of Shaligram and Tulsi’s marriage with Shaligram is done in the month of Kartik. It is celebrated as Tulsi Vivah on Dev Uthni Gyaras.
Jalandhar is one of the major districts of the state of Punjab, India, having three rivers, Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi. The legend behind the naming of the city is:
It is said that the present city of Jalandhar was Demon King Jalandhar’s capital. Even today, in Jalandhar, the temple of Goddess Vrinda, wife of Demon King Jalandhar, is located in Mohalla Kot Kishanchand.
It is believed that there was an ancient cave here, which went straight to Hardwar. According to the legend related to this temple, Vrinda committed self-immolation hereafter Lord Vishnu broke her chastity, and a Tulsi plant was born on top of its ashes. Tulsi,whom Lord Vishnu considers more dear than Goddess Lakshmi, is the form of Goddess Vrinda.
There is a popular belief about the Vrinda Devi temple that worshiping here with reverence for 40 days fulfills the wishes. Regarding the city of Jalandhar, it is mentioned in the Puranas that there used to be 12 ponds here, and one had to take the help of a boat to enter the city. There was an old pond outside the boundary wall of this place, which touched the Annapurna temple and on one side was bordered by the Brahma Kund. Even today, the stairs of old small bricks remain here.