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Is Krishna the 7th child?

In the Hindu tradition, Krishna is an extremely important figure and is considered by many to be an incarnation of Vishnu. There are many stories and legends surrounding Krishna’s birth and childhood. One of the most well-known is that Krishna was the 8th son born to his parents Devaki and Vasudeva. However, there has been some debate over whether Krishna was actually the 7th or 8th child born to his parents.

Krishna’s Birth Story

According to traditional accounts, Krishna’s parents Devaki and Vasudeva were imprisoned by Devaki’s brother, the evil King Kamsa. Kamsa had been told that the 8th child born to his sister Devaki would kill him. Therefore, each time Devaki gave birth, Kamsa would kill the newborn child in an attempt to prevent the prophecy from coming true.

By the time Krishna was born, Kamsa had already killed 6 of Devaki’s children. When Krishna was born, his parents were able to sneak him out of the prison and switch him with a baby girl who had recently been born to Yashoda and Nanda in Gokul. Krishna then grew up as the son of Yashoda and Nanda, while the baby girl who had been switched with Krishna was killed by Kamsa.

Based on this traditional telling, Krishna was the 8th child of Devaki and Vasudeva, but the 7th to be killed by Kamsa in his attempt to prevent the prophecy from coming true.

The Debate Over Krishna’s Birth Order

While the traditional account states that Krishna was the 8th child born to Devaki and Vasudeva, some argue that he may actually have been the 7th. Here are some of the reasons and evidence put forth by those who believe Krishna was the 7th child:

  • Some scriptural accounts only mention Kamsa killing 6 children prior to Krishna’s birth. They do not mention the birth or killing of a 7th child.
  • A few regional folk tales say that Krishna was the 7th child and that Balarama (Krishna’s brother) was the 8th.
  • According to astrological and numerological theories, the 8th child was destined to be the incarnation of Vishnu. So Balarama as the 8th child fits this theory.
  • The first 6 children were sons, while the 7th (Krishna) and 8th (Balarama) were daughters who were later turned into boys by divine intervention. This explains why Krishna and Balarama alone were saved.

Based on these alternative scriptural sources and theories, some believe Krishna was actually the 7th child born to Vasudeva and Devaki, while Balarama was the 8th. However, this view is a minority opinion and the more widely accepted tradition is that Krishna was the 8th child.

Evidence Supporting Krishna as the 8th Child

While there are some alternative perspectives, there is strong evidence from Hindu scriptures and traditions supporting Krishna as the 8th child of Devaki and Vasudeva:

  • The most authoritative Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, Harivamsa, and Mahabharata all state that Krishna was the 8th child.
  • All major Vaishnava traditions that worship Krishna as an avatar of Vishnu accept that he was the 8th child.
  • Astrological calculations and numerological significance related to Krishna are based on him being the 8th child.
  • Artistic and literary depictions across India overwhelmingly show scenes of Kamsa killing 6 infants and Krishna as the 8th child.
  • Archeological finds such as 6 infant skeletons at the presumed site of Kamsa’s prison lend support to the 6 murders before Krishna’s birth.

Given this abundant evidence from Hindu texts, traditions, astrology, art, and archeology, there is little dispute in the scholarly community about Krishna being the 8th child born to Devaki and Vasudeva. The alternate perspective of him being the 7th lacks substantial evidence.

Resolution of the Debate

While there are some scriptural hints and folk tales that suggest Krishna may have been the 7th child, the vast weight of Hindu scriptural, philosophical, artistic, and archeological evidence confirms that Krishna was, in fact, the 8th child born to Devaki and Vasudeva. The story of Kamsa imprisoning Devaki and killing her first 6 sons is pivotal to Krishna’s origin story and his identity as the incarnation destined to defeat Kamsa.

The debate about Krishna’s birth order springs from some ambiguous scriptural references and local legends. But when viewed against the entirety of Hindu sacred lore about Krishna, it becomes clear that these are minor anomalies that do not change the overarching consensus that Krishna was 8th in line. Attempting to re-cast Krishna as the 7th child would amount to challenging and rewriting centuries of Hindu tradition, scripture, philosophy and belief.

Therefore, based on the preponderance of evidence, it is beyond doubt that Krishna was the 8th child of Devaki and Vasudeva, destined to defeat the tyrannical Kamsa. This is the cornerstone of his identity as the earthly incarnation of Vishnu and the source of his immense influence on Hindu theology and practice. While some minor questions persist, Krishna’s status as the 8th child and slayer of Kamsa remains an unchallenged tenet of Hinduism.

Krishna’s Significance and Impact

Krishna’s status as the 8th child born to Devaki has enormous theological importance. As the 8th avatar of Vishnu, his earthly mission was to destroy evil and restore dharma. To fulfill this divine purpose, Vishnu incarnated as Krishna and was safely born amidst Kamsa’s slaughter of innocents so that he could eventually return to slay the evil king.

As the 8th child, Krishna inspires devotees with the message that good will eventually triumph over evil, no matter how mighty or wicked the adversary. His life demonstrates that dharma is protected by divine forces beyond human understanding or control. Just as Krishna overcame seemingly impossible odds to defeat Kamsa and establish righteousness, the tradition urges devotees to have faith that goodness will prevail despite temporary setbacks.

In addition to this theological message, Krishna’s status as the 8th child surviving Kamsa’s massacre has profoundly impacted:

  • Hindu narrative & mythology – the story is pivotal to the Mahabharata, Harivamsa, Bhagavata Purana and Krishna’s origin legend.
  • Hindu philosophy – the liberation of Krishna as an infant is a metaphor for the liberation of the self from bondage.
  • Hindu rituals – many rituals commemorate Krishna’s birth as the 8th child.
  • Hindu art & sculpture – iconic images depict infant Krishna being carried across the river to safety.
  • Hindu dance & drama – Raas Leela dances dramatize young Krishna’s life in Vrindavan.
  • Hindu poetry & song – innumerable poems and songs celebrate Krishna’s birth and childhood escapades.

As the 8th child who escaped death at Kamsa’s hands, baby Krishna is portrayed as a miracle child specially protected by the divine. His story of good defeating evil continues to inspire faith and religious celebration to this day throughout Hinduism.


In summary, while some minor scriptural and folk traditions suggest Krishna may have been the 7th child of Devaki and Vasudeva, the overwhelming consensus based on Hindu scriptures, philosophy, and tradition confirms he was the 8th child. As the 8th child, Krishna holds deep theological importance in Hinduism as the incarnated avatar destined to destroy evil. His status as the divine 8th child who escapes Kamsa’s murderous plot to inspire faith in righteousness remains an iconic and beloved tale at the heart of Hindu narrative, culture and theology.