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Lord Krishna is considered one of the 12 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. He is famous for his sporty behaviour, pranks, philosophy, justice, graceful dance, love and warrior skills. He is also known for his leelas which are mostly with the milkmaids of Vraj. Lord Krishna is said to have several names each gained from his different Leelas. One such name that he has been given is 'Ranchod' which is derived from two different words namely 'Ran' which means war and 'chod' which means to leave. Hence the meaning of Ranchod is the one who ran away from the battlefield.
Now you might be thinking why is Lord Krishna known as Ranchod? Well, it's a long story and is associated with Jarasandh, the mighty King of Magadh but fret no more as we are here to tell you about the same.
Jarasandh was the only son of King Brihadratha, the King of Magadh. He was born as two halves from two different mothers but after his birth, the two halves joined to form a complete baby. Jarasandh then grew up to become a mighty king and defeated many other kings and eventually, he became the Emperor.
He then married both daughters to Kansa, the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna. But due to his injustice and evil acts, Kansa was killed by Lord Krishna. As soon as Jarasandh came to know about this, he became furious and decided to behead Lord Krishna along with his elder brother Balram.
Formation Of Dwarka City
In his rage, Jarasandh attacked Mathura, the Kingdom of Ugrasen (the grandfather of Lord Krishna) seventeen times. Each time he made huge destruction and several people suffered. Hundreds of them lost their lives.
Eventually, Mathura became a weak empire with no economy and massive deaths. But Jarasandh was still planning to attack Mathura once again and finish the Yadavas (the clan of Lord Krishna) race forever. Therefore, he made an alliance with several other kings and prepared for a war against Lord Krishna and Yadavas. He had made a plan to attack Mathura from several fronts and thus, destroy the entire Yadava Kingdom.
Upon receiving this news, Lord Krishna became worried and started to think of a way to protect his people. Therefore, he suggested his grandfather and elder brother shift the capital of their Kingdom from Mathura to a new city. For that reason, this will help them in their survival. To this, none of the courtiers or countrymen agreed and said, 'it will be cowardness to flee from the battlefield'. Ugrasen said, "People will call you as a coward and the one who left the battlefield. Won't it be shameful for you?"
Lord Krishna was least bothered about his reputation as he was worried about his people. He said, "The entire universe knows that I have so many names. It won't affect me to have another name. My people's life is much more important than my reputation."
Balram raised a war cry and reminded that brave people fight till their last breathe. But then Lord Krishna told him, "War can never be a solution as Jarasandh and his allies are determined to destroy Mathura. I do not care about my life but I can't see my people dying and becoming homeless."
Lord Krishna had to go through a tough time in convincing his countrymen and his courtiers. But King Ugrasen was doubtful about how a new city can be created in such a short span of time.
It was then Lord Krishna said that he had already requested Lord Vishwakarma to build a new city. To make his people believe, Krishna requested Lord Vishwakarma to appear and convince everyone.
Lord Vishwakarma appeared and showed the blueprint of the new city but King Ugrasen was still not convinced as he doubted that a new city can be established in just a matter of a few days. It was then Lord Vishwakarma told, "Honourable King the city was already constructed and is currently underwater. All I need to do is bring it on the land, only if you allow me." Ugrasen nodded and thus Dwarka, the new capital city of Yadava clan came into existence. Every one abandoned Mathura and went to settle down in Dwarka.
Lord Krishna Being Named 'Ranchod'
Upon his arrival in Mathura, Jarasandh found the abandoned city. In his rage, he called Lord Krishna as 'Ranchod' and destroyed the abandoned Mathura mercilessly. Since that day Lord Krishna is also called Ranchod.
It is interesting, even today Ranchod is a quite famous name in entire Gujarat and you will find many boys named Ranchod by their parents.