Who was Shishupal?
Shishupal was the son of King Damaghosha of Chedi kingdom. His mother Shrutashrava was Lord Krishna’s paternal aunt, thus they were cousins.
The story of his three incarnation goes like this. According to Bhagavata Purana, once Jaya and Vijaya, Lord Vishnu’s attendants at Vaikuntha (Vishnu ji’s abode), refused the entry of four Kumaras. These four Kumaras were Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara – the manasputras (sons born from the thought power) of Brahma. As a result, they cursed Jaya and Vijaya that they would be born on earth three times, each time as an enemy of Lord Vishnu and would be killed by one of His incarnations. In their first life, they were Hiranyakashyapa and Hirnaksha, Ravana and Kumbhakarna in second and Kansa and Shishupal in the third.
His birth, deformity and cure
During his birth, Shishupal was born with three eyes and four arms. There was a prophecy which said that his deformity would be cured when a certain person would put him on his lap but he would also be killed by the same person. His parents took him to many sages and kings to get him rid of his deformity, but all in vain.
Once Lord Krishna visited his aunt Shrutshrava and put baby Shishupal on his lap. His deformity get cured instantly. Then Shrutshrava requested Lord Krishna to forgive Shishupal hundred times before killing him to which Lord Krishna agreed.
Disliking for Lord Krishna
Shishupal was a friend of Kansa and Jarasandha. Lord Krishna killed Kansa and also helped Bhima in killing Jarasandha. These incidents resulted in his dislike for Lord Krishna. Shishupal was also the friend of Rukma. Rukma’s sister Rukmani wanted to marry Lord Krishna but Rukma fixed her marriage with Shishupal. So on her wedding day, she eloped with Lord Krishna and married him. This particular incident increased Shishupal’s hatred for Lord Krishna.
Lord Krishna Killing Shishupal at Rajasuya Yagna
During Rajasuya Yagna organised by Yudhishthara, it was decided to worship Lord Krishna on Nakul’s suggestion. Bhishm Pitamah also supported this. Shishupal objected to this and started insulting and abusing Lord Krishna. Pandavas, Matasya, Kekaya and Srichayvarsha kings got up from their seats to kill Shishupal but were deterred by Lord Krishna. Shishupal kept on calling him names and Lord Krishna listened everything silently. Even when he crossed the limit of 100, Lord Krishna warned him to either keep quiet or leave the place immediately. Shishupal did not budge and continued humiliating Lord Krishna. Finally, Lord Krishna chopped off Shishupal’s head with his Sudarshan Chakra. A light emerged from his corpse and absorbed into Lord Krishna.