TextsMahabharata, Puranas
Personal information
  • Hridika (father)
SiblingsDevavāha, Gadādhanvan, and Śūra

Kritavarma (Sanskrit: कृतवर्मा, IAST: Kṛtavarmā) is a Vrishni Yadava warrior in Hinduism. He appears as a minor character in the Mahabharata, fighting in the Kurukshetra war for the Kauravas.[1] Kritvarma was the commander of the Narayani sena consisting of gopas.[2] [3][4]

According to F.E. Pargiter, he was the son of Hṛidika, born in the Andhaka clan of the Yadu dynasty.[5]


Syamantaka theft

Main article: Syamantaka

Kritavarma is said to have encouraged, or in some accounts, participated in the theft of the legendary Syamantaka jewel from King Satrajit. Along with his friend Akrura, he is said to have caused Shatadhanva to murder Satrajit, and steal the jewel for himself. Shatadhanva was subsequently slain by Krishna, though he no longer had the jewel, having given it to Akrura and Kritavarma for safekeeping. When a famine broke out in Dvaraka, or in other accounts, due to the discovery of Akrura's possession of the Syamantaka, both Kritavarma and he were summoned to the city to hand over the jewel. In the end, Krishna decided that Akrura should keep the jewel with him.[6]

Kurukshetra war

Main article: Kurukshetra War

Kritavarma chose the Kaurava side in the Kurukshetra War when his assistance was sought by Duryodhana, promising to lend him one akshauhini.[7]

On the first day of the war, he fought a duel with Satyaki. As a maharathi, was placed at the head of the flying-heron formation that had been set up by Bhishma. He engaged in a number of conflicts throughout the war. He was defeated by Bhima in single combat, and wounded in another bout against Satyaki. He fought a duel against Dhristadyumna, and one against Arjuna, Bhima, and Satyaki. He attacked Abhimanyu, killing his horse. After fainting in a bout against Arjuna, he met Yudhumanyu and Uttamaujas in combat. He defeated Shikhandi, Bhima, and Yudhishthira on various occasions. He fled the battlefield after the death of Drona. He participated in Ashwatthama's vendetta against the Pandavas by setting fire to their camp while their warriors slept.[8] After the war, he informed Dhritarashtra regarding the death of his son, Duryodhana, and returned home. He appeared at Yudhishthira's ashvamedha sacrifice.[9]

Yadu massacre

Main article: Mausala Parva

The conflict between Kritavarma and Satyaki in the Mausala Parva is the inciting event for the Yadu massacre, that results in the destruction of the majority of the Yadu race at Prabhasa. Inebriated due to the consumption of wine, Satyaki is stated to have mocked the Kshatriya birth of Kritavarma for the immoral murder of the warriors of the Pandava camp while they slept, believing that he would never be forgiven for this act. In retort, Kritavarma accused Satyaki of unheroic conduct when the latter attacked Bhurisharavas when he had laid down his arms. Satyaki countered by reminding him of his unrighteous role in taking the Syamantaka jewel from Satrajit. Observing Satyabhama's grief, Satyaki promised her vengeance, and immediately beheaded Kritavarma. The clans of the Bhojas and the Andhakas started to fight each other, beginning the Yadu massacre.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Himanshu Agarwal (20 August 2019). Mahabharata Retold Part-2. Notion Press. pp. 49–. ISBN 978-1-64587-785-1.
  2. ^ Shankar, Uday (1979). Untold Tales from the Mahabharata: The Epic Beyond the Obvious. p. all.
  3. ^ Kumar, Nava (1979). The Mahabharata A Spiritual Interpretation. p. 152.
  4. ^ Kotru, Umesh, Ashutosh (2015). Karna The Unsung Hero of the Mahabharata. p. all.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Pargiter, F.E. (1972). Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.105.
  6. ^ (2019-01-28). "Story of Kṛtavarmā". Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  7. ^ Uberoi, Meera (2005). The Mahabharata. Penguin Books India. p. 252. ISBN 978-0-14-303358-5.
  8. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (2000-10-14). Revenge and Reconciliation: Understanding South Asian History. Penguin UK. p. 25. ISBN 978-81-8475-318-9.
  9. ^ Mani, Vettam (2015-01-01). Puranic Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Work with Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 431. ISBN 978-81-208-0597-2.
  10. ^ Valmiki; Vyasa (2018-05-19). Delphi Collected Sanskrit Epics (Illustrated). Delphi Classics. p. 8826. ISBN 978-1-78656-128-2.