Destruction of Dwarka (Mahabharata text descriptions)

Shri Prabhakar Phadnis wrote….

“In Mahabharata is there any reference to sea-levels rising? If you are refering to sinking of Dwaraka, the rise of sea level being a slow process, the catastrophic event cannot be attributed to it.”

My Response…

Shri Phadnis has raised two critical questions:

(1) specific references to sea levels rising, in the context of destruction of Dwarka, and

(2) The mechanism of sea level rise (slow and steady vs. sudden and cataclysmic/catastrophic).

I will address the second question in future posts.

Mahabharata text is scant on descriptions for the destruction of Dwarka.

I am told that Harivamha, Bhgavat and Matsya (all Puranas) also provide some descriptions for the destruction of Dwarka. I do not have access to Matsya Purana and thus I request readers to send me specific references (Referces to Skandha, Adhyata, shlok number, actual shlok and english translation, if available), specifically from three Puranas mentioned above + andy other sources readers may be aware of.

Here, I would limit to relevant references from the Mahabharata text. This list is not exhaustive and I request others to add to this list, if they are aware of other verses from the Mahabharata text. I have also provided crude translation of these shlok in English.

Mausal Parva 1:1 (GP)
षटत्रिंशे त्वथ सम्प्राप्ते वर्षे कौरवनन्दन:
ददर्श विपरीतानि निमित्तानि युधिष्ठिर:

(When 36 years had elaspsed, since the occurrence of Mahabharata War, King Yudhishthir began observing various omens)

Mausal Parva 1:13 (GP)
षटत्रिंशेsथ ततो वर्षे वृष्णीनामनयो महान
अन्योन्यं मुसलैस्ते तु निजघ्नु: कालचोदिता:

(36 years after the Mahabharata War, Vrishnis entangled themselves in internal fights and killed by each other)

Mausal Parva 6:23 (GP)
इमां च नगरीं सद्य: प्रतियाते धनंजये
प्राकाराट्टालकोपेतां समुद्र: प्लावयिष्यति

(When Arjuna leaves this place (Dwarka), the sea would inundate the entire Dwarka)

Mausal Parva 7:10-12 (GP)
शक्रप्रस्थमहं नेष्ये वृष्ण्यन्धकजनं स्वयं
इदं तु नगरं सर्वं समुद्र: प्लावयिष्यति

सज्जीकुरुत यानानि रत्नानि विविधानि च
वज्रोsयं भवतां राजा शक्रप्रस्थे भविष्यति

सप्तमे दिवसे चैव रवौ विमल उद्धते
बहिर्वत्स्यामहे सर्वे सज्जीभवत मा चिरं

(Arjuna said to Yadus, ” I will take you to Indraprastha as the sea will inundate this city of Dwarka. Be ready with your chariots and carriers. I will crown Vajra – son of Krishna, as your king, once we reach Indraprastha)

Mausal Parva 7:32 (GP)

Arjuna left on the 7th day.

Mausal Parva 7:41-43 (GP)
निर्याते तु जने तस्मिन सागरो मकरालय:
द्वारकां रत्नसंपूर्णां जलेनाप्लावयत तदा

यद यध्दि पुरुषव्याघ्रो भूमेस्तस्या व्यमुच्चत
तत तत सम्प्लावयामास सलिलेन स सागर:

तदभ्दुतमभिप्रेक्ष्य द्वारकावासिनो जना:
तूर्णात तूर्णतरं जग्मुरहो दैवमिति ब्रुवं

(When residents of Dwarka vacated the place, sea water gushed in and flooded that city (Dwarka) that was filled with riches. As soon as Arjuna vacated specific area of Dwarka, the sea flooded that area with its waters. Residents of Dwarka left the place in a hurry, amazed at this natural calamity.)

Later on, when Pandava brothers along with Draupadi, left Hastinapur on their final journey, they visited the spot on the west coast where Dwarka had submerged under the sea.

Mahaprasthanika Parva 1:45 (GP)
तत: पुन: समावृत्ता: पश्चिमां दिशमेव ते
ददृशुद द्वारकां चापि सागरेण परिप्लुतां


2 thoughts on “Destruction of Dwarka (Mahabharata text descriptions)

  1. Perhaps Dwaraka City was slightly below sea level and protected by dikes. If a dike starts lkeaking and it is not possible to plug the leak, then the outcome will be catastrophic but unacceptable flooding may not happen immediately. Somewhere I have read that Krishna had reclaimed the land for building Dwaraka from the sea.

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